Help kids sleep more peacefully.
“Nightmares and night terrors in children: How to identify the problem, and help kids sleep more peacefully.”
Night terrors in children — also known as “sleep terrors” — are sometimes confused with nightmares. Both cause distress and disrupt sleep, and though terrors are less common than nightmares, they are hardly unusual…especially among toddlers.
What’s the difference between nightmares and night terrors, and what can be done about these conditions? Here is an evidence-based overview of each problem, with some tips for coping.
1. Nightmares in children
Nightmares are frightening dreams associated with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Kids switch back and forth between REM and non-REM sleep during the night, but spend ever-longer stretches of time in REM during the last few sleep cycles. For this reason, nightmares are more likely to occur during the early morning hours.
How can you tell if your child has frequent nightmares? That’s not always easy to tell, especially if your child is too young to articulate his or her anxieties, or has trouble remembering the content of dreams.
But overall, nightmares are very common. Most studies estimate that at least 70% of young children have nightmares at least sometimes, and the incidence of nightmares peaks in later childhood — around the age of ten years (Gauchat et al 2014). Moreover, it’s not unusual for kids to think about their bad dreams during the day. In one study, children between the ages of 7 and 9 ranked “scary dreams” as one of their top three sources of intense worry (Muris et al 2000).
So it’s likely your child will experience nightmares at some point. And when kids have particularly disturbing or frequent nightmares, it can affect both their sleep and their daytime functioning.
READ more online at: https://parentingscience.com/night-terrors-in-children/