Night terrors, also known as “sleep terrors,” are episodes of agitation in the middle of the night. Night terrors are most common among toddlers and younger children. Most forms of night terrors are sleepwalking and sleep talking. When a child has a night terror, he or she can be awakened from it only with difficulty, or not at all. The child my have their eyes open, but they will be looking at you as if they do not see you, like looking through you.
Most of the brain is shut down, but some motor circuits are active when they shouldn’t be. The result of this can be thrashing around in bed, or moving rigorously, or crying out. During a night terror, the child is not dreaming, he is in very deep sleep. When the child wakes up in the morning he or she will not remember the night terror or anything they said or did during it. As a parent, you should not even mention what happened to the child, because they could get freaked out by it. Night terrors are very common among young children. About 15% of children have occasional night terrors. Although they are most common in children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, they can occur at almost any age.
Children who have night terrors are usually described as “bolting upright” out of their bed with their eyes wide open, with a look of fear or panic, or letting out a “blood-curdling scream.” These kids will usually also be sweating, breathing fast, and have a rapid heart rate. Although it may seem like they are awake during a night terror, children will appear confused and will not recognize a familiar face like their mom or dad. Typical night terrors last about 1 to 5 minutes, but some can last up to 30 minutes. A night terror usually occurs within 90 minutes of falling asleep. Then the child will wake up feeling disoriented, scared, or confused.
No treatment is usually necessary for routine night terrors. Since they are often triggered in children who are overtired, the best way to treat them is sticking to a good bedtime routine and making sure your child is getting enough rest can help to prevent them. For children who get frequent night terrors, it might help to wake your child up before the time they usually have the terror. This is thought to interrupt or alter the sleep cycle and prevent night terrors from occurring, (this also works for sleepwalking). Another affective way to prevent them is to eliminate any sleep disturbances that could cause the child to have a terror. Sleep medications are very rarely used in helping with night terrors. Night terrors usually occur in younger children and toddlers. Most children will outgrow them as they get older.
Night Terrors as a Child
When I was little my mom told me that I had night terrors. I did not realize I was having them so I can’t really explain anything, but my mom told me that I would lie in my bed and then start whimpering and then crying really hard. Sometimes I would scream and shake. This really scared my mom because she didn’t know what was going on, and why I wasn’t remembering in the morning what had happened. She then learned that it was very common among young children and that some of her friends’ kids had the same problem. My mom soon realized that this was due to not enough sleep, and she started putting me on a frequent nap time/bed time schedule and they eventually went away.
It’s not unusual to have sleep troubles from time to time, like not being able to get to sleep at a regular time, or feeling more fatigued after a long sleep, but with insomnia, it is different. People with insomnia a characterized as having difficulty falling to sleep and waking up often during the night and having trouble falling back to sleep. Insomnia can cause problems during the day as well, such as sleepiness and fatigue, difficulty concentrating and paying attention, and irritability. A person with insomnia may also have another sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. Insomnia is a symptom of many disorders, almost all of them. About 60 million Americans each year suffer from insomnia. Insomnia tends to increase with age and affects about 40% of women and 30% of men.
A person with insomnia usually has difficulty falling asleep, and falling back to sleep once awoken. Waking up during the night is also very common, and waking up too early in the morning. People with insomnia are said to feel unsatisfied with sleep and un-refreshed the next morning, and also even more tired than they were before. I think insomnia is different because people can be so tired but cannot fall asleep.
Short-term insomnia may not require treatment, but if your insomnia makes it hard to function during the day because you are so sleepy and tired, your health care provider may prescribe sleeping pills for a limited time. Although sleeping pill are said to have been affective, the side effects can be a problem. Sleeping pills reduce brain cell activity during the day, affecting short-term memory and can cause you to have a sort of hangover feeling. But the biggest problem with taking sleeping pills is becoming very dependent of them and addicted. Most people will be taking them for their sleep problems and start taking more and more of them just to get the “feel-good” feeling during the day and have good sleep.
They are abused among a lot of people. But mild insomnia can be prevented by just practicing good sleep habits. Going to bed at a certain time every night and waking up at a certain time, and getting routine sleep is a great way to cure insomnia. Treatment for chronic (or long-term) insomnia includes first treating any conditions or health problems that may be causing the insomnia. If insomnia continues, your health care provider maybe suggest behavior therapy or serious medication. Most medications should be used with caution and it is not recommended to use over-the-counter sleeping pills for insomnia. My Sleeping Problems
I personally do not have insomnia but I have experienced mild sleeping problems for a while now. I have difficulty getting to sleep at a decent time. I don’t get to bed until midnight or later every night, and it isn’t because I’m not tired, I just can’t seem to fall asleep. I think it is because I have so many things on my mind and I have a hard time clearing my head before I try to sleep. To cope with this I usually try to read or lie there and don’t move to relax. Sometimes I will wake up feeling even more tired after a sleep and physically drained. I usually have to take a nap after a long day or after school to refresh my body. I’m not very worried about my sleeping problems because I think it is very normal among teenagers to have sleep difficulty and to feel tired all the time, but if it persists and becomes a big problem, or turns into chronic insomnia, there is definitely some help needed and I think that medication is the most affective.
The reason I grouped night terrors and insomnia together is because they are a lot alike. Although night terrors usually occur during childhood, they could develop as you get older and when you are an adult. Insomnia is more seen in adults as well. Either way, both of these disorders are sleep problems and can be very serious. They can cause serious problems later in life and even develop into another disorder or a more severe one. Night terrors and insomnia are a symptom of most disorders. I think this is a cause of stress and not being able to concentrate and have too much on their minds. Although theses disorders are serious, most cases are very mild and can be treated with the right medication or therapy or even just practicing good sleep habits and routines.
January 9, 2018
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