Dealing with night terrors can be challenging. Here are the methods that worked for us. Night terrors are very common among children. I've had doctors tell me this and even friends that have dealt with it in the past. I'm no stranger to night terrors as we have been dealing with them since Squishy was very young. At least three years now. So believe me when I say finding something to help break the night terrors is welcome.
This post was sponsored by Lully as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
But first, you need to understand what a night terror is. There are some clear differences between nightmares and night terrors. According to Pediatrics, 4 million U.S. children experience night terrors at any given time. Here are some important basics.
The difference between nightmares and night terrors
|Happen during REM sleep||Happen during the transition of stages 3 (deep sleep) to 4 (intense deep sleep)|
|You can remember nightmares||You have no recollection of the night terror|
|Can be woken up||Can sit up, move around, have eyes open but they aren't really awake|
|You can have nightmares all your life.||Night terrors generally happen between the ages of 4 to 12. But have been reported as early as 18 months. *Raises hand*|
Here are some common causes of night terrors:
- sleep deprivation
- an overfull bladder
- emotional stress
- medications that affect the central nervous system
- noise or light
Unfortunately, we don't fall into those categories because my daughter has them every night like clockwork. In my experience with dealing with her night terrors, I've found that we can time her night terrors nearly on the dot. We've had a set routine for as long as I can remember. Her first one happens about the time we are going to bed between 10:30 and 11 pm. That one seems to be the worst one. The only thing I can do is make sure that she is comfortable and try to soothe her. But sometimes they include screaming fits and panic. Some have even said that they look like temper tantrums.
I could go on and on about night terrors because we have dealt with them for nearly three years. You can find out more on the Lully website (including videos of examples of night terrors).
Dealing with night terrors
The number one thing I've read and had doctors tell me is that breaking up the sleep cycles by disrupting the sleep transitions is the only way to stop night terrors from happening. I don't know about you but the thought of going into my nearly 5-year-old daughter's room two or three times a night to slightly wake her but not fully wake her to stop a night terror from happening doesn't sound fun to me. You do backflips when they start sleeping through the night, why would you want to end that?!
The Lully Sleep Guardian 2 does this for you by using gentle vibrations during the sleep transition right before the night terror happens. It is a simple pod that you place under your child's mattress. It pairs with an iOS app that communicates with the pod so that you can plan and tell it when the night terrors occur. It was incredibly easy to set up, I just took it out of the box, placed it under the mattress, and then downloaded the app and it paired instantly. Once I was registered, I was able to input my daughter's bedtime as well as how many night terrors she normally has and when the first one begins. All I have to do is tell the app when I put her to bed, and the rest is up to the Sleep Guardian 2. It will vibrate right before the estimated night terror time until the child moves (a signal that they are no longer in deep sleep). It's been clinically proven to improve night terrors within one to four weeks of use! Some parents say results in the first week of use.
It is important to note that Sleep Guardian 2 needs your input to stop the night terrors from happening. That means you need to be on top of reporting when they happen or if you were able to sleep through the night. The app suggests a full 28 days of proper tracking to stop the night terrors. We've been in the process of tracking with the app since we received the device. So far we've had great success, and we've gone from having two night terrors a night to one and some nights she doesn't have them at all. The change has been welcome because I hate those night that she is so upset, and there isn't anything I can do to make it stop. That's the most heartbreaking aspect of night terrors. The pure fear and then they don't remember a thing when they wake up. Pair that with the fact that she is the sweetest, happy child on the planet and it's just confusing to see it happen to her.
UPDATE: After using the Sleep Guardian 2 for a few weeks, my daughter stopped having night terrors! She eventually no longer needed the device and grew out of them at the age of 6.