Pediatricians can help with nightmares.  There are many things that can cause a child to experience nightmares. Most of the time it happens when children are very tired or under stress. Keeping a regular bedtime schedule can help prevent many of these problems. If your child’s sleep problems persist or get worse, see your child’s doctor.

Nightmares explained by pediatricians

Nightmares are terrifying dreams that usually occur in the second half of the night when dreams are most intense. Children may wake up crying or scared and may have difficulty falling back to sleep.

What can parents do

  • Go immediately to see your child
  • Assure him that you are by his side and that you are not going to let anything happen to him.
  • Try to convince him to tell you what happened in the dream. Remind him that dreams are not real.
  • Let him leave the light on if it makes him feel better.
  • Once your child is ready, encourage him to go back to sleep.
  • Check that there is nothing that is scaring the child, such as shadows, and if this is the case, make sure to get rid of them.

Night terror

Night terrors happen most often in toddlers and pre-schoolers and occur during the deepest sleep cycle. The deepest sleep occurs early in the night, often before the parents go to sleep. During a night terror, your child may:

  • Cry uncontrollably
  • Sweating, shaking, or breathing rapidly
  • Having a terrified, confused look or glassy eyes
  • Yelling, voting, kicking, or staring
  • Not recognizing you or realizing that you are there
  • Try to push you, especially if you try to hug him

Although night terrors can last up to 45 minutes, most are much shorter. Most children go back to sleep after a night terror because they haven’t actually woken up. Contrary to the case of nightmares, a child will not remember a night terror.

What Parents Can Do

  • Keep calm. Night terrors are sometimes more frightening for parents than for children.
  • Do not try to wake the child.
  • Make sure the child cannot be hurt. If she tries to get out of bed, try to stop her gently.

Keeping a dream journal

If you are concerned about your child’s sleeping habits, check with your doctor. Keep a dream journal to help track your child’s problem, including the following:

  • Where the child sleeps
  • How many hours do you sleep at night?
  • What you need to fall asleep (for example, a favorite toy or a blanket)
  • How long does it take you to fall asleep?
  • How often do you wake up at night?
  • What do you do to comfort or make him feel better when he wakes up during the night?
  • The time and duration of naps during the day
  • Any changes or stress at home

Write this down for 1-2 weeks and bring it to your doctor’s office to discuss it during the appointment. Remember that sleeping problems are very common and with time and the help of your child’s doctor, you and your child will be able to overcome them.

Contact Pediatricians in Gastonia NC

Episodes of Nightmares and night terrors could be emotionally stressful for both the child and the parents. The best way to reduce this is to understand the causes of your child’s nightmare or night terrors. By keeping a dream journal, you will be able to understand the causes of episodes of nightmare and night terrors in your child. This article contains tips on what to do when your child has an episode.

You may need to consult your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s behaviors during episodes of nightmare and night terrors.

Feel free to reach out to pediatricians at Gastonia Pediatrics Association. Our experts are more than happy to help provide guidance, and medical assistance when needed, to help you understand the reasons for your child’s episodes of nightmares and night terrors, and also help you cope with them.

Contact  Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.