Night terrors are a sleep problem that can affect both children and adults. The person suffering such an attack will wake up in a daze, with an increase in heart rate and a feeling of terror. Such sleep panic attacks are rarely a serious threat to health. If they do occur regularly, the disturbance in the sleep pattern can cause problems in health and social behavior.
Night terrors are more common in children than in adults and normally occur within the first hour of sleep. The person going through such an attack may scream, moan or yell when having such an attack and continue to remain sleeping. Rousing a person from such a night terrors attack can be difficult, and even when woken up, the child or adult will rarely remember what happened to them during this period. They will wake up feeling afraid, might find breathing difficult, but rarely anything beyond that. Children below the age of six are vulnerable to such sleep panic attacks, and will outgrow them as they grow up. Most such attacks occur during the non-REM sleep and it is also possible that they are accompanied by occurrences of sleep walking. If a child is troubled before going to sleep, there are higher chances of such night terror attacks.
Doctors have established that night terrors are a symptom of some anxiety issues that children can go through. They can also come from sleeping patterns that are not proper or can also be a result of a poor diet. Such children need to be counseled to finds any issues that are troubling them. It is also necessary to set up a change in eating habits and establish a proper pattern for sleeping. Any stressful conditions need to be inquired into and reduced. This may sometimes involve talking with other people like parents of the child's playmates, school teachers and other minders.
Night terrors can be unsettling for children and parents alike. Children rarely remember them the next day, but for a parent wakened suddenly by a screaming child, the worry can last for a long time. Most children will dream almost every night, but night terrors will have the child sitting up in bed, trashing around and sweating. Children remain unresponsive when woken up from such night terrors, and this can cause lot of parents to be worried and remain sleepless in turn. The child suffering such attacks will rarely remember the incident the next day.
Some night terror attacks occur at regular times after a child sleeps and these can be quite easily avoided, by waking up the child before the expected event. This helps to reprogram the brain to get used to a different sleep pattern that can avoid the occurrence of such attacks. While severe cases may need medication, most such night terrors can be tackled with just the reassuring presence of the parent or parents and a gentle assurance that all is well and in control. Parents need to remain calm and not panic. Ensure that the child does not get hurt during such episodes and is gently awakened and put to sleep again.