Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Waking Terrors

(16 Posts)
Deannarsidley1 Thu 20-Aug-15 17:56:27

Can anyone give advice please? 2 year old grandaughter wakes from afternoon sleep 99.9% of the time extremely distressed it can take up to 40 to 50 minutes for her to calm down, nothing works, she doesn't want her milk but holds her arms out to us for comforting, but pushes us away when we try to hold her. Her parents have the same problem and none of us know how to help her. Both her parents work and we care for her 5 days a week.
I've had 4 children and have never experienced anything like this when my children were little. Look forward to receiving any advice.

ginny Thu 20-Aug-15 18:16:45

one of our daughters had the same problem although it was at night. There was little that helped, just reassurance. it stopped all of a sudden with no lasting effects. Very distressing to witness as well. Sorry, not much help.

NanKate Thu 20-Aug-15 19:59:44

My DS (41now) had the night terrors and all we could so was sit with him and calm him down as best we could. I made sure that he never watched scary programmes until he was older.

The irony of it is that he is now an author and he occasionally writes about some of the scary events he dreamt about.

I suggest that your GD's parents have her checked out at the doctors and her diet is reviewed as food such as cheese can cause weird dreams.

NanSue Thu 20-Aug-15 20:57:35

Our DG does exactly the same thing! She sleeps anything from half an hour to 2 hours in the day and rarely wakes happy. She won't let us comfort her and sobs her little heart out whilst we standby helplessly. She gradually calms down after about half an hour so not quite as long as your GD Deanna She has a good diet and is otherwise well. My DS did this too but only on waking first thing in the morning. However I can't remember how long it was before he grew out of it. So IMO this is absolutely nothing to worry about. Just distressing for everyone involved.

Luckygirl Thu 20-Aug-15 21:42:38

Our DDs used to be grumpy when waking from a sleep, but not unduly upset. One day when one of them was stomping around is a mood I asked her what was the matter and she said "I've got the feel-ups." This word has been integrated into family vocabulary and describes how you feel when you have just woken up. We use it a lot!

harrigran Thu 20-Aug-15 23:35:16

How distressing for you, I have never come across this during the day. I had night terrors which continued into adulthood, even now if I am under stress I will wake myself screaming.

Grandma2213 Thu 20-Aug-15 23:46:58

My DGD aged 6 has just woken, sobbing uncontrollably. She has had a lovely day today and went to bed fairly calmly though she often has real trouble settling down at night. This has happened on several occasions and she never remembers it. I agree with NanSue that she'll probably grow out of it.

Just a thought but if I fall asleep in the day I feel terrible when I wake up. Maybe she feels that way too!

Granny1951 Fri 21-Aug-15 08:49:15

Might be a drop in blood sugar, try getting her to eat a banana before she goes for her sleep or have something on hand the moment she wakes up. My GS does the same, but a banana before his morning sleep does seem to help.

Anne58 Fri 21-Aug-15 09:35:27

How about sitting nearby and quietly reading aloud a favourite story, as a sort of distraction? It might not work, but could be worth a try.

Luckygirl Fri 21-Aug-15 09:37:21

When I was small I lay in bed in fear and trembling lest an earwig should crawl into my ear while I slept - someone had told me that if they do that they crawl into your brain and eat it up! These are the sorts of things that children extrapolate from bits of knowledge that they hear, and they do not have the experience to process them.

Bellanonna Fri 21-Aug-15 10:00:16

I also lay in bed frightened that the man who,lived in the radiogram would come upstairs and somehow harm me. I think he was Sruart Hibberd and he used to read the news . When I heard Big Ben chime at 9 I knew the man was still downstairs because he would be talking soon. Nobody had ever explained that he wasn't really there, or had tried to explain what radio was. Maybe I never actually asked.

vampirequeen Fri 21-Aug-15 10:39:48

I still have night terrors. I don't know if this will help but this is how I feel when I wake up.

When I first appear to be awake I'm not. My eyes are open and I appear to be functioning but I'm still in the dream so what I say/do is relevant to what's happening in my head and not the real world. DH tries to hold me but I push him away because I'm usually fighting or running for my life. I scream,"Get off!" or things like that at him but of course it's not at him it's at whatever is in my dream. Even when I wake up I'm still disorientated for a while and absolutely terrified. He can sort of comfort me at this point but I slip in and out of the dream. Finally I wake up properly and I'm terrified but open to comfort.

The waking up process can be very quick or can take several minutes. Once I'm awake because I'm an adult I can be logical. I know I'm terrified but I also know there is no reason for it.

Children find it much harder to differentiate between dream and reality so it must be far worse for your little DGD and that would explain why it takes so much longer for her to calm down.

I know this doesn't give you any help with what to do but I hope it helps to explain what's happening in your little DGD's head and why she won't be comforted.

Anya Fri 21-Aug-15 11:34:58

Three of my four grandchildren did exactly that after their lunchtime naps and it was quite frightening as I'd never experienced this either.

It was useless to try and comfort them. The best I could do was arrange a cosy nest on the sofa and put the TV on. Mr Tumble worked best if you can record it.

Then I'd sit quite close to them just act relaxed (which I wasn't inside). It latest a few weeks and the gradually died away.

Nonnie Fri 21-Aug-15 12:23:22

I have no experience of this but just wonder if you could gently try to find out what the child is feeling. 2 year olds pretty much understand everything we say but do not have the vocabulary to explain. Maybe some gentle probing while gently stroking an arm or leg for comfort?

The one thing I am sure of is that whoever is with the child when it wakes up should be calm and not stressed by the situation which will make the child worse.

coles Fri 21-Aug-15 13:56:57

Having had uncountable psychic experiences since my early twenties, I believe when we are asleep, we either leave our bodies fully and travel to "other" sphere's which can seem like a long way away and the journey back may well be difficult. Or just being at a short distance, shall we say from the sleeping body, there is a lot of astral activity going on, which mainly is thoughts from our earthly experiences. It can all seem very jumbled up and distressing to adults, let alone children. Rescue Remedy, can be purchased at chemists and health shops and will settle a child down, even a few drops before sleep may well stop the experiences. Aspen, is another remedy, made within the same collection of flower medicines. This will soothe a disturbed child, even, after given a few times, the unpleasantness will cease. I am trained in this method of healing, so can assure you, the remedies work. Love and Blessings to all. Margaret

Nelliemoser Sat 22-Aug-15 13:24:53

My son had night terrors when a toddler. I understand that is something to do with being in the first stage of very deep sleep, he would sit up screaming and staring about him but it was very difficult to wake him up.
Very scary to watch but usually of no lasting harm.

I still do this same but very rarely now. I can vaguely remember doing this when I was small.
These "terrors" bore no relation to any real trauma but it was like a dream you could not wake out of.

My DCs and now my DGS1, when they had naps, would sometimes wake up in a foul mood very grumpy and really just needed a quiet cuddle until they were properly awake.

I can feel really dreadful if woken in the early hours of sleep.