Nightmare or Night Terror

dreamLast night, something unusual happened. Little Edison was crying profusely in his sleep at about 1am. We jumped out of our bed to check on him. He was sweaty and panic but his eyes were still closed and he was still sound asleep. Was he having a nightmare or night terror? We were unsure what could it be.

We tried to wake him up. But no matter what we did, he still didn’t wake up. I carried him and held him tightly; I can feel that his body was slightly shaking. I knew that he was scared. I consoled him and comforted him for about 15 minutes before he stopped crying. Then, he went right back to his sleep as though nothing happened.

This morning, he wakes up happily and he’s as good as gold. His eyes are slightly puffy due to the crying last night. I look at him seriously and ask him if he had a nightmare last night. Much to my surprise, he nods his head. He holds my hand, walks to the cabinet and pulls out his photo album. He points to himself and then to the picture when he was at birth. Is he trying to tell me that he dreamt of his past life before birth?

I check on What To Expect website for some information on night terrors. Generally, it is caused by erratic sleep schedule, change of routine (starting school etc), stress, or anxiety about something in our child’s waking life. I ruled out erratic sleep schedule because he does have a sleep routine. I also can’t imagine the stress and anxiety that a 22-month might have.

What To Expect website advises us that we should NOT attempt to wake them up or hold them when they are having night terrors. But sorry, this is exactly what I did last night! According to the article, these actions will make them more agitated and disoriented. A terror can last up to 30 minutes, so it’s best to just wait it out and most kids will settle back to sleep easily.

Click HERE to read the whole article about Dealing with Toddler Night Terrors.


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Hi Emily. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I haven’t experienced night terrors before but it sounds scary yah. How not to try to wake them up and hold them for 30 minutes!