There is a big difference between nightmares and night terrors, contrary to popular belief. Either of them can cause a lot of stress to child and parent alike.
It is common for children to have night terrors which is a sleep disorder that causes high levels of terror and causes the child to become unable to wake up fully.
What are Night Terrors?
It can be a bit creepy, with your child's eyes wide open in terror as they are desperately trying to get away from something while they are actually still asleep.
Strangely, when this type of sleep disorder is occurring the person is not actually in a dream state and there is no dream-like object that caused it to occur. Dreaming of an object is what occurs when one has a nightmare.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding this type of condition but can be best described as having terror during a deep state of sleep for no apparent reason. An episode can last from minutes to as long as an hour and when your child wakes up he/she may not remember a thing.
When you take your child to the doctor they will want to know about the symptoms and how frequently they are occurring. It will also be important to not how they are affecting your kid. Most doctors will give a complete physical to make sure that there is no specific cause for the night terrors. In some cases, further testing may be necessary.
What you can do for Night Terrors
Although night terrors are most common in children, they can afflict adults as well and the advice given here is suitable for both adults and children suffering from night terrors.
It is not typical for the doctor to prescribe any medications for a child or an adult with night terrors. There are drugs, such as diazepam, that can help to reduce the symptoms but they have serious side effects and are usually not given to kids.
Using herbal remedies can help to make your child feel better and allow everyone to get a good nights sleep. Passiflora incarnata and Chamomile can be used to help your child both relax and remain calm. They are both very safe and gentle on the body. If you are unusure about anything then talk to an herbalist in your area.
There are several things that you can do at home to help make night terrors less stressful to your child or yourself. The most important things you can do is try to get rid of any kind of stressful triggers that might lead to an episode. You will also want to make sure that yourself or your child is not harmed during a night terror attack and help to soothe them until they fall back asleep.