My daughter is 23 and as far as I know, she never experienced night terror.  Like most children, she had her share of bad dreams now and then, but nothing that caused us concern.  A Facebook friend, Anna brought night terror to my attention because she is asking if others have experienced this and what can be done about it.  It isn't talked about much, can we help her?

Obviously, by the name alone, night terror in children is very different from the common nightmare. Usually when your child has a nightmare, you can wake them up and calm them down, it may take awhile, but you have control over the situation.  But, with night terror the episodes are more frequent and can include intense crying.  They show that they are experiencing fear while they are sleeping and you have a hard time waking them up.  Their heart rate and breathing may be increased and they may be sweating.  So very scary to watch your child dealing with that.  It's most common with children ages 3-12.

In Anna's Facebook post she says, "Last night she was trashing around her bed and crying and yelling "oh my god" .... it's was a little scary 😳 so I went in to check on her and she was creepily sitting in the corner of her bed staring at me in the door way and she had ripped the whole bed apart, it was all in the floor!!!! I took her into our room and tried talking to ...her but it was like I wasn't talking she just looked at me and continued to whine 😕 "

Research shows it may appear that they are awake. They could be confused and disoriented. They may not talk to you or even acknowledge that you're with them. Such a very hard thing for a parent to experience! Thankfully, the episode may only last a few minutes, but sometimes they can be as much as 30 minutes.

While the percentage of children that experience this is small, those parents that do have to deal with it need support and may have questions.  I'm just wondering if there is someone else dealing with this and can enlighten us, share their story or possibly have some answers for parents like Anna that are concerned and looking for help.


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