Published: 08/23/2010 - Updated: 10/17/2018
Night terrors and nightmares are sleep disorders for which the difference between the two disorders is that terrors are more severe and dramatic than nightmares. However, either one is characterized by the presence of a restless sleep associated with fear, emotions that are so sharp and sudden while you are dreaming.
You can detect when someone suffers from a nightmare or night terror when:
- There are anxious or desperate laments or complaints while you are dreaming.
- There is turmoil in breathing and heartbeat.
- There are uncontrolled body movements and violent.
- There is talking or even crying. Often the cry is what leads a person to wake up.
Children tend to have those dreams, but many adults are also affected by them.
The stages of sleep and nightmares
The dream goes through various stages: Each of these phases is associated with a particular brain activity. During the stage known as REM (rapid eye movement) is when we dream. Night terrors usually occur two to three hours after the child fall asleep, when the transition occurs from the most superficial to the deep sleep stage.
Why do nightmares and night terrors appear?
Night terrors are associated with an immature nervous system, especially in children. In adults, due to an altered nervous system, people who often have a lot of stress, anxiety or thermos or drink a lot of medication. Nightmares, on the other hand, tend to be normal while we sleep, they often uncover emotions that we might have very contained or stored, even on a non-consent way. A way to vent these emotions is through sleep. When there are feelings of anxiety, or fear, then the dream may be a leak, leading to hover out behaviors by sleep.
My child has nightmares or night terrors
Many parents have had to comfort their children after a bad dream, and sometimes consolation was not enough. During a night terror, what is less common than nightmares, the child may suddenly join and to scream or lament, very anxious or frightened, and although most of the time fear passes and the child tends to go back to sleep peacefully, sometimes can be difficult to soothe the nerves. Unlike nightmares, children usually do not remember a night terror because they were asleep while it happened.
In fact, a nightmare is not something serious. This type of sleep may be cured by helping the child, above all, to be active during the day to help vent emotions. Night terrors usually disappear when the nervous system matures.
What to do to comfort my child?
The best way to react if your son has a night terror is to accompany him and wait patiently for him to be sleep again, if you can give your hand or a hug. It is almost certain that soon he will calm down. If you hear screaming or complaining, it's best not to wake it can be somewhat abrupt, he can wake up disoriented and even more nervous than before.
Prevent watching TV, especially violent or aggressive programs. Try to dine easily digested foods, avoid heavy dinners, the child should eat light food and two hours before bedtime. Give an infusion of mint tea to help relax and avoid sugary foods that alter the nervous system. Read a story with images and put nice soft music especially for children at bedtime. Avoid discussions or situations that disturb the child.
Meditation to relax the children (or adult) before bedtime
- With a soft background music, ask them to close their eyes and imagine a small sphere of light in the color they want.
- Now, ask the them to place their hands at the level of their heart and feel its heat, tell them that warmth feels very good, which is a very nice warm light, and visualize their heart cradled this little sphere.
- After a few minutes, ask them to imagine that this little sphere grows in their heart and becomes large, and gradually covering their head, chest, back, arms, stomach, legs and feet.
- Tell them to imagine how this light covers them completely, until they are flooded with light.
Do not worry if you've never done a meditation to your child. There is always a first time and this meditation is truly effective.