Sometimes two weeks ago, our sleeping schedule was thrown out the window. whose fault was that? mine! We had some late nights and elisa went to bed exceptionally late. She was sleep deprived, needless to say.
There was one night she suddenly sat upright in bed and cried hysterically. We did whatever we could to soothe her but to no avail. C was alarmed cause we have not experienced this before. He tried to wake her up, asked her to open her eyes but she just refused. And her cries got even louder and at one point, she was screaming in distress. This made C even more nervous. He kept calling “Elisa! Elisa! Elisa!” and it make the whole situation worse. He got stress, I got stress and the poor girl was just hysterical.
Though night terrors can be alarming for parents who witness them, they’re not usually cause for concern or a sign of a deeper medical issue.
I told him to stop and asked him to return to the room. I know it is somewhat related to sleep deprivation but I don’t know how to put it across nor do I know how to handle her crying. I totally understand his concern but what he did was not helping at all. After a while, I managed to calm Elisa down. We read a book and soon after, she went back to sleep.
I googled this incident and apparently it is a norm in toddlers who are sleep deprived. This is called night terrors.
Night terrors are sleep disturbances in which a child may suddenly bolt upright in bed, cry, scream, moan, mumble, and thrash about with her eyes wide open, but without being truly awake. Because she’s caught in a sort of a twilight zone between being asleep and being awake, she’s unaware of your presence and isn’t likely to respond to anything you say or do.
Two hours after Elisa went back to sleep, she woke up again, crying. I did what the internet taught me i.e. speak to her calmly and allow the storm to pass. It worked and she slept until 9 the next morning.
The next day, we put her back into routine and everything went back to normal. All of us had a good night’s sleep.
What I learnt from the internet with regards to night terrors:-
1. Don’t try to wake a child up.
2. A child having night terror, can’t be calmed down. If you try to hold her, it may make her wilder.
3. Don’t try to physically calm her unless she is in danger of hurting herself.
4. Speak calmly and wait for the storm to pass.
5. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep; getting her to nap at a consistent timing during the day and getting her to bed at a reasonable time in the evening.
Remember, when dealing with night terrors, don’t panicked and just be as boring as possible.