Night terrors

Publicado em 12/03/2020

Current literature recommends the denomination “partial awakenings” for cases previously described as a baby’s inconsolable crying, confusional arousals, sleepwalking, and night terrors, as these are automatic manifestations occurring in the transition from non-REM sleep (the deepest phase of non-REM sleep) to REM sleep (sleep associated with dreams).

Although manifestations may be considerably different and superabundant, one is not more severe than the other, and child safety must always be guaranteed by installing window guards and removing objects that could hurt the child.  Avoid waking up the child to prevent sleep fragmentation. If the child gets up, take them back to bed. In general, episodes last between 3 and 5 minutes, with the child falling back asleep right after. Partial awakenings are associated with the maturation of sleep mechanisms and are more frequent in toddlers and young children, typically becoming less frequent as they grow. If the episodes are frequent, make an appointment with a sleep specialist for guidance.

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