Let’s talk about Night Terrors!
This little guy looks pretty content this morning… happily guzzling his bottle as he watches some early morning ABC Kids. In fact, he has been his happy normal self this morning.I wish we could say the same about our little Jesse during the night.
On a couple of occasions through both nights, Jesse has ‘woken up’ and started screaming, and kicking and thrashing about in a trance-like state that we just couldn’t seem to snap him out of. And the reason I put ‘woken up’ like that, is because according to the literature we’ve read, he actually isn’t awake.
Night terrors are most easily explained as being caught in between wakefulness and sleep. Essentially, the brain disconnects from the body when we sleep, but when someone is having a night terror, it essentially means that there is an incomplete disconnect. This is why Jesse looks awake and his eyes are wide open, but really, they are mostly asleep and completely oblivious to their surroundings.
And unfortunately for parents of kids who suffer from night terrors, there isn’t a hell of a lot we can do!
The best course of action is to let them ride it out themselves. Night terrors can last anywhere between 5 – 20 minutes. Which does mean if your child is showing symptoms for as long as 20 minutes, it can be quite upsetting for the parents. But, unfortunately for parents, trying to sooth your child, or touch them, or wake them, or talk to them can often make the terrors worse.
While we didn’t realise Jesse was suffering from night terrors two nights ago, after some research and taking to a doctor, we were better prepared last night in case we had a repeat. But, despite being prepared for another episode (which did eventually come at about 11pm), we still felt helpless and upset that Jesse was thrashing around and on the verge of hyperventilating, yet we couldn’t do anything to help.
I guess the best thing (if there is any upside to night terrors) is that children who get them don’t remember what has happened the next day. Which is why Jesse has woken up in his happy, chipper self.
I sometimes wish that we parents had the ability to not remember what happened either.
We officially think night terrors SUCK!!! And with some of the literature we’ve read saying most kids outgrow night terrors by the age of 12, we can only hope that Jesse doesn’t have them for that long.
If you would like some more information on night terrors, we found this article very helpful: Month 21 Worry: Why does my toddler wake up screaming?