Nocturnal Activity: Living with Night Terrors

There are many things that keep me up at night (reading, writing, twitter, the cat) but none more so than Bam Bam.

Until recently it was predominantly due to night terrors.

We have lived through night terrors before but the Wilful One grew out of them quickly. Bam Bam’s have gone on for a much longer period of time. In general, his episodes have been longer and more violent. The onset of asthma also added a scary new dimension when he was unwell.

Most nights between 9.30pm-11.30pm the beginning of an episode would be signified by a high-pitched wail and a thump as he kicked the wall. He would cry and toss around for 5-15minutes (on a few occasions much longer) before either stopping suddenly and going back to sleep or waking with a coughing fit.

At times his thrashing around was quite scary, like something out of Paranormal Activity. It was a shock to us as the Wilful One only ever sat bolt upright in bed and cried.

There are lots of great resources on the net about night terrors and sleep disorders which helped us a lot. Experts claim it can be more distressing for the child if u try to wake them, as they normally have no recollection of what occurs. However, occasionally we had no option as he was in very real danger of hurting himself and sometimes us.

Sometimes a cold drink of water snapped him out of it and he immediately went back to sleep. Other times any physical contact at all made it worse.

Causes and triggers for night terrors are thought to include over tiredness, stress and illness, all of which is very consistent with our experience. I would also be inclined to add sugar overload to the list of suspects, although my guys do not eat many lollies or sugary drinks unless at a party so at times when I’m blaming the sugar it could be due to being over tired/over stimulated.

Night terrors have also been linked to other genetic sleeping disorders like teeth grinding, sleep walking, sleep paralysis and chronic snoring. All of which The Man suffers from to varying degrees. With a strong likelihood that the boys will follow in his sleepy footsteps, it’s rather lucky I’m a light sleeper.  Well lucky for them, perhaps not so much for me!

Fortunately, Bam Bam seems to have grown out of his night terrors in the last month *touch wood*.  He has graduated to waking and demanding various things – water, this teddy, that pillow, stay, go or a very adamant “No more plee-ping now!” which is very cute but rather frustrating at 1am.

I fear he’s gone from having night terrors to being a night terror!

Have your children suffered night terrors? I’d love to hear about your experience. 

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