Find out the best ways to handle your child’s nightmares and sleepwalking.
When we think of sleep disorders, we usually assume this is a problem that primarily affects adults; however, children can deal with sleep issues, too. In fact, nightmares, sleep terrors, and sleepwalking are most common in children (even though adults can obviously experience nightmares, as well). Here at Bogan Sleep Consultants, LLC, in Columbia, SC, your sleep doctor, Dr. Richard Bogan, and his team work with children to help alleviate night terrors and prevent sleepwalking from becoming a major issue. Here’s what you should know about these childhood sleep issues.
Sleep Terrors vs. Nightmares
There is a difference between nightmares and sleep terrors. Nightmares are merely bad dreams and anyone can have nightmares, even adults. Sleep terrors, on the other hand, can cause children to scream out and thrash around while asleep. This problem often occurs in children between the ages of 1 and 8, with most children outgrowing sleep terrors by the age of 12.
Did you know that sleepwalking often runs in families? Therefore, if your parents ever told stories about your sleepwalking antics as a child, chances are good that your children may develop the same nocturnal habits. Sleepwalking is more likely to occur in children between the ages of 5 and 12. This problem is more common in boys and usually happens within the first 1-2 hours after falling asleep.
When Should My Child See a Sleep Doctor?
While the occasional bout of sleepwalking or night terrors usually isn’t enough to bring your child in to see a professional it may be time to seek treatment if,
- Night terror or sleepwalking episodes are severe or happen frequently
- Your child is getting injured while sleepwalking
- These sleep problems keep occurring after adolescence
- Your child’s stress and anxiety could be contributing to their sleep problems
- Your child is exhausted during the day because of sleepwalking and night terrors
Are There Ways to Prevent Sleep Terrors and Sleepwalking?
If children are anxious or exhausted they may be more likely to deal with these sleep problems; therefore, it’s important for parents to create relaxing bedtime rituals for their child hours before bedtime. If your child is prone to sleepwalking our Columbia, SC, sleep specialist can provide you with precautionary measures you can take to prevent injuries.
How Are Sleep Terrors and Sleepwalking Treated?
Since children often grow out of these problems usually treatment isn’t necessary. During a sleepwalking episode, gently guide your child back to bed. If sleepwalking or night terrors are the result of emotional or psychological stress our sleep doctor may refer your child to a therapist, who can help reduce these symptoms and improve their sleep. Sometimes anti-anxiety medication is prescribed to help reduce the frequency of these episodes.
Concerned? Give Us a Call
If your child is dealing with persistent night terrors, the team at Bogan Sleep Consultants in Columbia, SC, is here to help. Call our office today at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an evaluation.