Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.
Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.
Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Carola says

    My five year old daugther started with night terrors last year. After experiencing several of them, my husband and I realized it always happens when she needs to pee. She always wakes up crying (with a terrified look) calling for me, so we take her to the bathroom and then stay with her singing softly and hugging her until she falls asleep.

    • Emily DeJeu says

      @Carola – I’m sure that witnessing your daughter’s night terrors had to be a bit alarming! I’m sorry to hear that she experienced them, but glad to hear you and your husband were able to find a trigger. Keeping my fingers crossed that she’s free and clear of them now! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Jill — could be. Do you think there’s anything real behind her complaints of seeing spots? It may be worth a visit to an eye doctor, just to make sure all is fine there. Honestly, though, this is probably nothing. Could very well be a confusional event, in which she’s semi-awake but not fully awake.

    Keep us posted on what happens, Jill! And thanks for commenting. 🙂

  3. Jill says

    My 4 year old daughter wakes up in the middle if the night all the time and gets in bed with me. The past few months on occasions she tells me she has clovers in her eyes and is scared. She climbs in bed and tells her she is fine go back to bed. She then falls asleep in a few minutes. Last night she was up saying the same thing. It took me an hour to get her to go to sleep. She kept saying it over and over and said she was seeing spots, covering her eyes, holding her arms out to keep them away and looking constantly around the room. She seemed like she was truly awake and really scared. I held her and told her nothing was there but she insisted there was. Do you think this was a night terror?

  4. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Delphine — thanks so much for sharing your story! Insights like this are so helpful to moms and dads who are suffering through night terrors with their toddlers and preschoolers.

    Thanks for sharing, Delphine! 🙂

  5. Delphine says

    If your child is experiencing repeat terrors, you may want to see a specialist! My oldest (now 7) began experiencing night terrors when he gave up his pacifier at age 3. The terrors were AWFUL! My normally docile and calm boy would scream, punch, and sometimes even run around his room multiple times a night. Once he even broke his collarbone when he thrashed so hard he fell out of bed. He could never go without a pull-up because he also wet the bed several times a night, even if I got him up to use the bathroom. He always took his naps and always went to bed by 7:00 p.m., but it had little effect on his terrors. It was a HUGE strain on our family! I consulted with the pediatrician, who said it was a phase especially for boys, but I had a hunch it was more than that. For two years I waited for him to outgrow the phase, but nothing changed. I finally followed my mother’s intuition and took him to a specialist, he was ultimately diagnosed with sleep apnea. The remedy was to remove the tonsils, adnoids, and shave out some tissue in his sinuses. Within two weeks (after the swelling went down), the terrors were gone. He has not wet the bed since, and he only has the occasional “screaming in the night” if he is overtired.

  6. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Alicia — this sounds awful 🙁 So sorry you and your guy had to suffer through this, but glad to hear that it’s getting better now! Hope you’re right, and that it’s over for good.

    Thanks for commenting, Alicia! 🙂

    @ Angela — awesome tip! Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve said it before, but the tips and tricks that come from our community of parents are just invaluable to our readers. Thanks again for chiming in and sharing this bit of wisdom!!

  7. Angela says

    My son has always been prone to night terrors. When he was younger (toddler/pre-school), we noticed that when he didn’t get a nap, he would always have one that night. As he grew older, we knew that if he had had a very hard, tiring day, he would have night terrors that night. I’m fairly certain these were terrors, as he would scream, cry, run, and thrash around. He wouldn’t recognize anything and mistake common objects out of fear.

    My husband and I found a trick to gently wake our son out of these episodes. We would put on a cartoon on television, something not violent or too action packed at a low volume. Once he noticed the show, he would slowly wake until he was just watching the program. Then we would tell him it was time to go to bed.

    Our son is now 12 years old. He no longer has night terrors on a regular basis, but sometimes one crops up when he is running a fever. We still use the same TV technique to gently wake him.

  8. Alicia says

    I believe my son was having night terrors between age 1 and 4. At one point in time it was so bad he had it every other night, always at 1-2am for 2 months in a row. He was very verbal and violent, kicking and screaming while eyes were closed for 15-30 minutes, until he woke himself by choking up after screaming with a dry throat. It was mainly due to his eczema and rhinitis I think that disrupted his sleep pattern. Just only recently, he seems to have gotten better (knock on wood!) Could be him growing out of it I hope or us working tirelessly to fix his ENT problems. I just hope it doesn’t ever come back!

  9. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Taci — this definitely sounds a confusional event, especially given the fact that it usually happens an hour or two after your daughter falls asleep. No fun at all, is it? But hopefully, as you say, it’s behind you.

    Thanks for weighing in and sharing your experience, Taci! 🙂

  10. Taci says

    My daughter is now 19 months and has generally been an ok sleeper. However somewhere between 8 and 12 months, she would wake up an hour or two after she went to sleep screaming with what I thought were nightmares. I’d go pick her up and try to calm her down, but she would just scream and cry, apparently panic stricken, for several minutes. Then she’d seem to wake up and realize she was with me. Then I’d nurse her for a few minutes before putting her back to bed where she’d fall right back to sleep. It worried me some, but not overly so since I had just assumed it was nightmares (first time mom here 😉 ). It didn’t happen every night and seemed to happen mostly if she had a long or busy day. She hasn’t had an episode in several months now. Hopefully that’s behind us!