You've probably heard of night terrors. So, how do you know if a child is having a bad dream or if it's a night terror? The latter may need some medical advice. Researchers at the Ohio Sleep Institute say one difference is a child with a nightmare wakes up and either calls or runs to mom and dad. But usually with a night terror, parents run to the side of a screaming child.
"And it can be very scary. Typically, the parents, it's very disconcerting for them because they're not able to console the child," says Dr. Markus Schmidt of the Ohio Sleep
Dr. Schmidt says stage four sleep, the deepest sleep, is when night terrors occur. Usually, one or two hours after bedtime and lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. He says typically they come between the ages of three and five and the child will often wake the next morning with no memory of the event.
The concern is if the night terror takes them out of bed or even out of the house. The doctors at the Ohio Sleep Institute say they've seen dangerous cases where kids have stepped out of second floor windows during a night terror.
So, if you think your child's dreams fit the category of a night terror, talk to you pediatrician. The Ohio Sleep Institute says occasionally, children need medication, but usually, the problem can be controlled by some lifestyle change or behavior modification.