Monita Mendiratta, MD Pediatric Pulmonary DrMDK.con
Read the full transcript »
Host: A very common question to a pediatrician is my baby gets up in the middle of the night and is crying and the mother thinks the kid either has I think whole nightmares or night terrors, first of all, what's the difference? Monita Mediratta: So the difference between a nightmare and a night terror actually is simply the stage of sleep in which the event is occurring. A night terror typically occurs in a deep stage of sleep called slow-wave sleep and it is a stage of sleep where the child is not actually dreaming and typically what happens is, the reason it happens is that there may be an immaturity of the child's central nervous system and so the brain isn't quite matured enough to deal with the transition of one stage of sleep to another. So typically as the child transitions from the deep-wave sleep into the dreaming phase of sleep the child's brain can have the sudden confused arousal where the child wakes up and your child may scream, the heart rate may be racing, the child may be breathing very fast and so the difference between a nightmare and a night terror typically too is that again the child is not dreaming so they won't be able to recall a dream or anything that frightened them. They actually may not respond to at all during a night terror because they are still asleep. Host: Can I actually perceive that night terror is actually realism? Monita Mediratta: The night terror is actually a confusional arousal, that's how we refer to it. The child is still in a form -- a stage of sleep. Host: Do they ever came that they are seeing is real? Monita Mediratta: They don't actually have a recollection of anything because they have been dreaming. Night terrors typically occur during the first few hours of sleep whereas nightmares occur towards the end of the night or the early morning hours when you are in what we call rapid eye movement sleep or REM stage sleep. Night terrors occur during non-REM sleep and so the child actually doesn't wake up saying that oh, I saw a monster in my sleep or oh something frightened me. The child is still within a stage of sleep and it can lapse from seconds to minutes to sometime even several minutes to an hour, and the best way to do if the child is not in danger of harming themselves because they can be quite dramatic and quite threatening for the parents as well. The child can thrash around in the bed. So the child is not at risk of injuring him or herself then the best thing to do is to just ride it out and eventually the child will fall back into a comfortable stage of sleep and the night terror will resolve on its own. Whereas if you actually go to shake the child and comfort the child and wake the child up the child may be more destructive in their sleep pattern for the night and may take much longer to fall back to sleep. Host: If the kid does wake up and you try to console the kid a little bit and explain what happened, is that true? Monita Mediratta: The child actually won't have any recollection of the event as far as the child can -- Host: I say the kid is not awoke, whatever the kid recalls and recall what should the parents to do for a job that went through an episode like this. Monita Mediratta: The best thing to do is to just console the child, but again the child won't have any recollection. The child may be absolutely fine when he or she awakens. Host: When is it considered something abnormal and that has been too longer. Monita Mediratta: Typically night terrors occur between the ages of 3 and 12 and there are children above 12 and children below 3 that happen, there are children as young as 18 months that can have night terrors. But they are really not abnormal. The best thing to do is to educate yourself about night terrors to know that there really is no medication or therapy for them per se, but there are ways that you can may be prevent them because there are things that can exacerbate or make them occur more awesome. Host: Give the examples of the night --? Monita M
Copyright © 2005 - 2015 Healthline Networks, Inc. All rights reserved for Healthline.