Children’s Sleep Problems: Nightmares and Night Terrors

Last time we discussed wetting the bed this time we are tackling nightmares and night terrors.

At some point your child may have a nightmares or night terrors, they will grow out of them but it can be a scary time for them.  Nightmares and night terrors are different:


Nightmares are bad dreams and often occur in children aged 3-8 years old. They occur in the lighter stages of sleep and will often wake your child up. The can normally recall the bad dream.

Nightmares are often caused by seeing something scary like a film or a story. If your child has recurrent nightmares you may need to seek help and should make an appointment with your GP

Night Terrors

When a child has night terrors they may scream or shout and jump about in a panic. They will not be awake and you should not attempt to wake them. They occur in the early stages of sleep.

Night terrors can be triggered by many things such as tiredness or fever. It is more common in children whose family have a history of night terrors or sleep walking.

Naomi Richards, author of The Parent’s Toolkit. advises:

As a parent keep calm. Reassure your child that they are ok and guide them back into bed if they are still asleep. If they are awake after having a nightmare – give them a cuddle and reassure them that they have had a bad dream and that it was only a dream. You are going to look after them. Again get them back into bed thinking of something nice so they are relaxed and drop off again



Posted in Children waking in the night, Children's Sleep Problems

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