What Causes Nightmares & Night Terrors In Babies And How To Cure Them?

Baby Sleep

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Do babies have nightmares? Believe it or not, even babies as young as a few months old have night terrors, though they are less likely to have nightmares.

You probably would have never thought that your little darling will suffer from nightmares or night terrors. Sleeping patterns of all babies are unique and one can never be sure about when exactly these incidents start. But whenever they do, they are sure to affect you and your sleep too. So, it makes sense to know about the causes and cures. Rest assured, this is a common problem, and is easy to deal with.

[ Read:2 Month Old Baby Sleep ]

Night terrors vs. Nightmares:

Though they may seem to be similar terms, there is a demarcation between night terrors and nightmares. Here are the primary differences between them:

1. Night terrors occur during the early part of the night, when your baby is in deep slumber. Nightmares mostly happen during the latter half, which is the time for active sleep or rapid eye movement.

2. Night terrors are not really dreams, but an experience which kids seem to have during the transition from one phase of sleep to another. Nightmares are proper dreams which start off normally and then turn frightful.

3. The baby is not likely to remember anything about night terrors, while she may remember a part or whole of the nightmare.

4. Babies usually sit up in bed, shout, wail or even walk around the room during night terrors, while they are in a state of half sleep. When having a nightmare, your baby will be completely asleep and may wake up only once the dream is over.

5. Since your baby is not fully awake during night terrors, she will not acknowledge your presence and it is not possible to calm her. On the other hand, when your baby wakes up after having a nightmare, you can soothe her.

[ Read: Baby Not Sleeping ]

6. Also, after having a night terror, your baby will quickly go to sleep. On the other hand, it might be difficult to put her back to sleep after a nightmare.

7. You will easily know that a night terror is happening while it goes on. But you will come to know about a nightmare only once it’s over and your baby is awake.

Causes Of Night Terror in Babies:

There are different phases of sleep through which we go during the entire night span. The deepest sleep is during the first few hours. But this phase may be interrupted by moments of light sleep. Night terrors occur during these transitional phases, between one round of deep sleep and another. Babies may feel frightened or disturbed during these phases because of reactions in brain and start to cry..

Cure: Night terrors can be sort of confused events, when your child is disturbed and not really afraid. The best remedy is to try not to wake up your child and let her go back to sleep. Do not touch or pick up your baby. This is also known as the hands off approach. Make sure that your baby is having proper sleep during the day, so that she is not too tired when going to bed. Fix a sleep time routine and follow it.

Causes Of Nightmares in Babies:

Nightmares or frightening dreams may occur because of the following reasons:

  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Being overtired when going to bed.
  • Having upset stomach or breathing problems.
  • Some bad experience during the day.

[ Read:7 Month Baby Sleep ]

Cure: Though it is hard to control nightmares, here are a few things you can try to prevent them:

  • Start an activity which helps to calm your baby before bedtime, like singing to her or giving a bath.
  • Keep your baby’s sleeping room comfortable and cool.
  • Read a comforting story to your baby, so that she sleeps with good thoughts.

Be it a nightmare or night terror, the incidents are harder for parents. Instead of panicking, try to remain calm and patient. We hope these tips help and your baby soon outgrows the problems.

Let us know about your experiences and more tips on night terror in babies in the comment section.

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