01 Nov Help prevent nightmares and night terrors
What is the difference between a nightmare and a night terror?
A nightmare occurs during REM sleep, whereas a night terror usually happens somewhere between being asleep and awake. When your child has a nightmare, it is likely they will wake up and you will be able to calm them down. However, with a night terror, it is impossible to wake the child and it is simply a matter of holding them so they cannot hurt themselves. A night terror is often much more disturbing for the parent than the child. Unlike a nightmare, the next day the child will have no recollection of a night terror.
Do your children suffer from recurring nightmares or night terrors? If you are tired of feeling helpless, here are a few things that you can do to minimise the chance of your child having nightmare:
These will also help minimise night terrors if your child is prone to them
Add a little light
Complete darkness isn’t necessary for children to fall into a good sleep. Get them a cute light, or leave the blinds open a fraction.
Whether you believe in them or not, making or buying a beautiful dreamcatcher to hang up in your child’s room will make a difference for them. Explain to them what the dreamcatcher does (catches bad dreams so they don’t stay in your mind and brings in good, happy dreams). This will no doubt comfort them as they have this in the back of their mind as they go to bed.
Choose a toy
Having a sleeping partner can be a huge comfort for kids. The process of choosing which toy gets to sleep in bed each night is also a great thing to add to your bedtime routine.
Make a playlist of familiar soothing songs to put on in the background during your bedtime routine.
Set a comforting routine
Nothing comforts a child more than a solid routine. A routine gets rid of any uneasiness or anxiety that they might have about bedtime. A relaxing bath, recap of their day, a happy story and soft music usually works a treat!
If your child suffers from recurring nightmares, try all these tips and there is a very high chance that their nightmares will reduce or even disappear. However, if your child is prone to night terrors and they are extremely frequent, consider consulting your paediatrician or a sleep specialist.
Let us know if you have any other tips that have worked for your little ones in the past.