Resource Center What Are Night Terrors?

Your Child’s First Night Terror

You’ll always remember the first time you wake up to find your child having a nightmare. It’s not like other nights when they wake up and come into your room, crying over a scary nightmare. Instead, they seem to be in the midst of the dream, not quite awake yet moving around as if they were. They may be crying, screaming or walking around your house. Your other kids might wake up to witness what’s happening, scared at the sight of their sibling in what looks like pain. Your family may spend up to an hour trying to console your child with little success. What is happening?  

Night Terrors, a Different Beast from Nightmares 

This episode is a night terror, which is completely different from a nightmare. Night terrors tend to happen earlier in the night, and do not involve the paralysis of the body that happens during REM sleep. That’s why your child may be moving around or appearing awake. 

 

Does your child’s night terror look anything like this?  

Night Terrors Will Not Hurt Your Child 

These episodes are obviously frightening to witness, but they won’t be harmful to your child. Kids very rarely remember night terrors in the morning, so you may not even want to mention it over breakfast. Letting them know it happened may just cause anxiety about the night of sleep to come.  

Your Child Isn’t the Only Child with Night Terrors 

It is estimated that sleep disorders like sleepwalking and night terrors affect 20-30% of young children. Night terrors also tend to run in familiesso there may be similar experiences between siblings or between parents and their children. And, since night terrors are often underreported or mistaken for nightmares, the condition might be even more common than we think.  

Here’s What Won’t Stop Night Terrors 

- Attempts to comfort or hug your child  
- Turning on the light  
- Talking it through with your child  

Your child isn’t awake during these episodes, and may not even recognize you. Make sure you and your family members understand that your child is asleep and you should not be hurt by their inability to respond to you.  

Here’s What Will Stop Night Terrors 

Many doctors will tell parents just to wait out the night terrors, because they tend to phase out as a child gets older. But that can take years, which could mean many lost nights of sleep for the whole family. Historically, the most effective way to stop night terrors has been scheduled awakenings. These involve parents going into a child’s room a couple hours after bedtime and gently causing them to stir. This interrupts the sleep pattern that leads to night terrors. To do this, parents have to set an alarm and wake up themselves at night to wake their child. That’s a lot of work!  

The Lully Sleep Guardian 2 

We created the Sleep Guardian to take that burden off of parents’ shoulders. The new Sleep Guardian 2 vibrates automatically at the perfect time to stop a night terror. This simple device has been scientifically proven to stop 8 out of 10 night terrors. See how it can dramatically change your life.  

Lully Was Founded to Help Families with Night Terrors Sleep Better 

Our co-founder and CMO, Dr. Andy Rink, grew up watching his sister suffer from night terrors. He saw firsthand how they caused his whole family to lose hours of sleep. That’s why, when he entered the Stanford Biodesign program, he decided to dedicate his study to solving the problem of night terrors for families just like his.   

Read More on Night Terrors 

If you’re worried about your child experiencing night terrors, learning the basics is a great first step to understanding the condition. And there’s still more you can do—from checking out treatment options and sleep tips, to how to deal with a night terror when it happens.

 

You May Also Like:

“Does My Child Have Night Terrors?” and Other FAQ from Parents

Night Terror Treatment 101

Night Terror Symptoms: How to Identify the Signs



Meet the Sleep Guardian

The first, scientifically-proven, non-medicated treatment for night terrors.

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