Isn’t your darling look like an angel when he’s happily dozing off? The way you’re caressing his locks while his dainty face touches your skin or the way the air whistles through him while he’s in a hammock—truly this is pure delight.
However, as much as we all might hate it, our children may experience sleep disorders: nightmares, night terrors, and sleepwalking.
Nightmares are scary dreams or our so called “dream anxiety attacks”. Adults have them but they can be especially upsetting to three- or four-year-olds, as they can’t readily distinguish fantasy from reality yet. Common nightmares are about monsters attacking, falling, dying.
This is no reason to fret as doctors say that it is a child’s way of dealing with uncertainties and inner worries. As he comes to terms with it, the severity and frequency of nightmares will gradually diminish. You just need to comfort him whenever this occurs, without making too much of a fuss over the nightmares, however.
Remember when you rush to your child to find her flailing about in her bed, eyes terror-stricken and sobbing wildly. You try to calm him but she doesn’t appear to be seeing you at all. He then acts as if he’s being chased by someone or something horrible. “What’s happening to my baby?!” your mind screams. The next second, he abruptly lies down and goes back to sleep.
What just happened? Now that was a night terror.
If you wake a child having a nightmare, he will be instantly alert and will remember the bad dream. She will be relieved, but the residual fright will make it difficult for her to sleep.
But if he were to wake up from a night terror, he will be disoriented and upset.
Waking him up will just prolong the attack. Just be there for him while he’s having the attack, make soothing noises, and in a while, he’ll quiet down.
Sleepwalking is also called somnambulism. While in deep sleep, the child will get up from bed and walk around clumsily. Now this is very dangerous as he may bump into things or worse, fall down the stairs. He may mumble repetitively. When you call him, he is unresponsive and blank-faced.
The best advice is to not wake him up. It would only lead him to being confused and frightened. To prevent accidents, keep obstacles out of the way. Keep windows and doors locked. Then lead him gently back to bed. In the event that his sleepwalking is persistent, you might as well put up a ‘stair gate’.[pq]You should free yourself from any worries because as doctors speculate, these particular sleep problems are incidental byproducts of the growing up process.[/pq]
The child’s physical, emotional, mental, and social pathways are busy making connections and correlations at a frenetic pace.
Still if it is getting worse, the pediatrician might decide to prescribe medication to suppress the attacks.
– Via Fernandez, Medical Observer