He'd been self settling well, snoozing away nicely and then waking up at midnight every night for a week. And when he woke it wasn't quiet! No, it was a major decibel attack on the eardrums. His parents were naturally, very concerned.
I knew straight away what it was ... the dreaded night terror. Night terrors are very different from nightmares. They happen at an early stage of development and the baby or child is not actually awake, no matter that they look as if they are! The child is in deep sleep and even though their eyes may be open they are not awake. They occur in deep sleep and may last a few minutes and up to half an hour. They may be inconsolable, hysterical and agitated.
It's really important not to wake them, reassure them and sit by the cot. Try not to take them out as you risk waking them and then they will have a memory of what they were having a night terror about!
So why does it happen? They are a normal stage of sleep development and may run in families. They are not a sign that anything is wrong with your child. So try and stay calm, they will pass.
Here are some links to further information on night terrors:
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