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Night terrors & nightmares

Night terrors

Night terrors are most common in children but adults can suffer too. They usually happen if we awaken too suddenly from deep sleep.

If you see this happen in a child they’ll usually shout and move erratically but their eyes will still be closed and they won’t remember what happened when they wake up. In some cases, children can get up out of the bed during a night terror.

The best course of action is to observe but not interfere which can be distressing but its best to let the incident run its course and children soon return to sleep.

If night terrors occur regularly, try to find out what may be causing them through gentle questioning during the day. Night terrors can be triggered by stress or excitement.


While night terrors may occur in the early part of the night, nightmares are usually later in the night. They are usually a result of extreme stimulus and are a way of the brain processing and making sense of things that have happened to us. If nightmares persist, or can be linked to a specific trigger incident, it’s worth reporting this to your GP.



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