Night Terror or Nightmare? – Alicia Birdsong, owner of Hush Little Birdie – Detroit, MI

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For parents that have little ones experiencing disturbing middle of the night wake ups, this is for you!  Read on to learn more about night terrors and nightmares, to help in differentiating which one your child may be experiencing.

Facts about Night Terrors:

  • They tend to start occurring at around 3 years of age and end around 8 years of age. They can start occurring as young as 15 months.
  • Night terrors are more prevalent in boys than girls, and run in the family.
  • Children that experience night terrors have no recollection of the incident because they are in fact asleep when the night terror occurs.
  • Night terrors tend to occur within the first few hours of the night.
  • Common symptoms are as follows: waking with a bloodcurdling scream, eyes wide open, thrashing around, appear upset/scared, elevated heart rate, and sweating.
  • When a child is having a night terror, they will likely not be able to be calmed down by mom/dad, or other caregiver.

It’s Most Likely a Nightmare when:

  • Your child is able to recall in the morning that they woke up in the middle of the night scared and upset.
  • Your child is able to be easily calmed down upon waking in the middle of the night.
  • If your child is under 3 years of age, and doesn’t fit the criteria for a night terror.