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My Child Have Nightmares


Feeling call our son at night, with a desperate cry yells, "Mom! Papa! ". Between asleep and awake we approached his bed: "What happened, darling?". We embrace: "A giant monster horrible and he wanted to eat me!"

Like adults, children do not sleep in the same way during the night. There are moments of deep sleep and more sleep surface. During the first part of the night was experiencing a deep sleep, while in the second half increases REM sleep (Rapid Eyes Movement). The latter is characterized by the body is deeply relaxed, but the brain is of great activity. This is the stage where dreams occur. It is believed that through them, the brain tested situations, and assimilates the experiences of the day. Thanks to this new learning is consolidated and overcome distressing situations.

What are nightmares?

Nightmares are dreams that are unpleasant and always remember upon awakening. The child wakes up terrified, recalling a terrifying dream. Nightmares occur in the REM phase, so dominated the second half of the night.

Given that REM sleep the brain tries to assimilate, learn and test what has been experienced during the day, the nightmare might respond to something that the child lived and is "difficult to swallow." If nightmares occur frequently, is an indicator that there is an underlying anxiety state, and are encouraged to consult with a professional.

Nightmares often disappear as the child grows, it acquires new tools to assimilate and understand reality.

How to prevent nightmares?

• Avoid situations that may frighten the child before going to sleep: movies, stories, etc..

• Consider situations of anxiety to those faced by children during the day, and if possible, reduce its incidence. For example, if started going to the garden or the club early, if you spend many hours a day away from their parents, if you spend many hours in school, if you have trouble controlling sphincters, etc..

• Talk with your child about what happened in the day, and if the child is reluctant to talk or does not have well developed speech, try to invite him to draw things that lived in the day.

• Be aware that colds, fever, teething, etc.., Can trigger nightmares. Consult your pediatrician.

• Some temporary solutions can reduce anxiety, for example, leave the bedroom door open, leave a light on in the house at night, sleep in the room with a sibling, and so on.

What to do when nightmares occur?

• Reassure the child that can not downplay what happened.

• Stay at his side with an attitude of safety. The company is the best way to reduce fear.
• If you are a frequent nightmares consult a professional.

What are night terrors?

Unlike nightmares, night terrors occur in the first half of the night, due to a disruption in deep sleep. It is a difficulty in moving from a phase of deep sleep to a lighter sleep stage. There are times that the phase of non-REM sleep tends to be deeper than usual, because the child usually has little or poorly rested, and has difficulty sleeping and ease transition to a phase of REM sleep (more superficial).

This disorder often manifests itself between 2 and 5 years, but usually improve with age.

The child wakes up in a few hours after lying down. You can cry and mourn so desperate. His breathing is troubled, her pulse. You may have sudden and violent movements. It does not recognize anyone. After about 10 or 20 minutes back to sleep or wakes up completely. I never remember what happened.

What to do about night terrors?

• Prevention is best. Try to get your child to bed relaxed and calm. However, note that up to 5-6 years children are prone to these disorders.

• Stay with the child discreetly. Some children refuse physical contact during the episode, but staying at your side can prevent damage.

• Do not try to wake him. The child knows what is happening and have no recollection upon awakening.

• awakenings. If the night terrors are very common, and if the child is hurt, you can go to a program of awakenings, ie systematically awaken before it happens this episode. Also, consult a professional.


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