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Baby Frightened Or Screaming At Night: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

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Night terrors in babies is basically a type of sleep disorder which occurs during the third or the fourth stages of the Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. In this condition, babies wake-up in between their sleeps in an abrupt manner and are seen totally confused and frightened. The inconvenience faced by the babies is demonstrated by them in the form of agitation, screams, feeling of anxiety and a general lack of interest in different things. Night terrors in young children may result in them not answering your questions and getting a bit violent.

Night Terrors In Babies: General Information

According to doctors, night terrors are mostly observed among the children in the age group as young as one year upto six or seven years. The cases of night terrors after the age of seven years are quite less and mostly, this disorder is more common in boys. Lack of sleep is believed to trigger the problem of night terrors in toddlers.

At this point, one should note that night terrors in babies and nightmares are two different concepts. Nightmares are experienced mostly during the rapid movement of eyes or in dreams. The first thing you should do when your child experiences night terrors is that you should help him to go back to sleep peacefully as sufficient sleep is very essential for children. Keep assuring the child that he is perfectly fine and protect him from getting hurt by keeping him away from objects that can hurt him. It is very essential to educate or teach other family members and servants who are with the child to deal with emergencies and tough situations. Make sure that if your baby is younger than a year, he gets around thirteen to fourteen hours of sleep. You can note the time of the night terror in babies and wake him up a few minutes before its occurrence for a few days, to improve the child's condition.

Some More Tips for Dealing With Night Terrors In Babies

Here are some more tips which will help you deal with night terrors in babies:

  • Have a noise free and silent place for your baby to sleep
  • Turn off dark lights which may irritate the baby
  • Have a proper and consistent sleep schedule for the baby
  • Fix the daily routine of waking up, sleeping and eating, and follow it
  • Chamomile tisane sip before sleeping may help your baby
  • Have a tissue which is sprinkled with orange oils and Chamomile under the child's pillow
  • Cuddle your child if he experiences night terrors till he sleeps
  • Give medications which are prescribed by the doctor
  • Visit the doctor occasionally for proper medical care

Causes of Night Terrors In Babies

As said earlier, unwanted interruption in the baby's sleep during the third and fourth stages of sleep, results into night terrors in babies. Excessive stress, a painful or traumatic incident, stressful events in daily life, fatigue, less sleep, seeing violent films, bad environment at home, grief due to small or serious reasons, fever and other illnesses, are some causes of night terrors in children. Side effects of certain medicines, physical or verbal abuse, persistent sleep deprivation, drug consumption, family history of sleep disorders are some other reasons for night terrors in babies and children according to several medical studies.

Symptoms of Night Terrors In Babies

The following are the symptoms of night terrors in babies, which should not be ignored for ensuring good child health:

  • Wide open eyes and panic due to fear
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion, screaming and sweating
  • Fast breathing
  • Inability to talk and express feelings for some time
  • Inability to explain the trauma experienced

Treatments of Night Terrors In Children

The following treatments are effective in treating night terrors in babies:

  • Relaxation techniques and medications are best treatments for night terrors in babies
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Antidepressants like imipramine (Tofranil) may be prescribed by doctors
  • A drug called chlordiazepoxide may be prescribed for getting relief from tensions and nervous feeling

In many cases, night terrors in babies are overcome with the passage of time. Your doctor will give the treatment after carefully examining your child's case for its fast recovery. Providing your child with a lot of love and affection is very important while dealing with such health related issues.


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