My grandsons, who are 3 and 4 years old, have been having night
terrors since they were each 18 months old. They are loved, well
cared for, and healthy. Why would this be happening?
Night terrors are somewhat mysterious. It might seem as though
they're the same as a bad dream, but they aren't. Dreams
occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, a stage of sleep when
the eyes move quickly and heart rate and breathing may be erratic.
Night terrors happen during the transition between deep sleep and
another level of sleep, and kids don't remember them in the
The good news is that night terrors don't seem to have any
harmful effects on kids who have them, and they usually outgrow
them. Sometimes night terrors are more common in kids who are going
through stressful life events, on certain medications, not getting
enough sleep, or having too much caffeine. But night terrors can
happen to loved, healthy, and well cared for kids - like your
For more information, check out these articles:
Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2008
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