Night time business.


We have had a lot of visits from M of an evening and into the night recently, as his night terrors return with full force.    I am assuming the looming end of the educational year has a lot to do with him being a little disturbed at the moment.

He has had night terrors for as long as we can remember, and it is something we have read up on to make sure we are handling them correctly, but there seems to be varying versions of the suggested handling of them.      We have therefore just muddled through and done what we feel best at the time, and it seems to work on the whole.

The terrors come about usually when M is stressed about something.   I suppose whebn his body shuts down, his brain goes full speed to try and work out the events of the day and the coming days.

We can tell if he is going to be up, usually within an hour of going to bed.       Because of the regularity of them, I will usually stay up stairs after putting them to bed.     I can slob on the bed watching telly, but be available.      It usually starts with hearing some mumbling which sounds as if he is having a row with someone – he is, himself.    If I go through, he will get more agitated much quicker, so I just listen and monitor.    As it escalates in volume, it is a case of trying to calm him, but usually going through will end up with him being extremely verbally abusive, but as the boys share a room, he has to be quieten for the sake of not waking D who is a nightmare to get back to sleep if he wakes up.        If M’s volume gets too loud, Hubby will physically remove him from his bed, if he doesn’t do it himself.    M sleeps in a midisleep, so I have no hope of lifting him down from there!        When he gets through to our room, he will usually stand still and have the most amazing giggling fit.    It is very funny to watch a child, who is sound asleep, laughing his head off like you or I would when watching a brilliant comedy.    Eventually, he will collapse onto the bed, and crawl onto my lap where he will soon be purring like a baby.        We usually let him stay there for about half an hour to make sure he has returned to a deep sleep.     It is then up to Hubby to wrestle him back to his bed without waking him which is getting harder as he gets taller.     It is then for me to get the circulation returned to my legs.

If we are lucky, letting him work through whatever it is his brain is trying to organise and then getting back into deep sleep in a safe environment, will allow him to sleep through until morning – by morning, I mean anytime from 4am onwards.     Other nights though, it can be a repeated sequence, as he returns within minutes of going back to his own bed, and the giggling and collapsing on the bed and then purring like a baby are repeated.      Each time we let him sleep on my lap for a little longer to hope he is full back to deep sleep, but it doesn’t always work that way.

In the morning, the best thing is, M has no recollection of his goings on the night before.     He gives me a really funny look usually when I ask him about it.       It would be terrible if the episodes were actually effecting his sleep, rather than just ours!

M has been suffering terribly from hay fever recently and so has been given an anti histamine.    It has helped him sleep better when he has taken it, but I can’t give it to him when he doesn’t need it for what it is designed for.

I will continue to read up on night terrors to help find ideas of how to handle them in a way that might help him to be more settled.


4 responses »

  1. Night terrors unlike nightmares occur during a very deep sleep cycle, hence the reason you can carry him without disturbing his sleep. They often occur about the same time, if you wake him just before they start he may be able to slip back to sleep and avoid it, not during the night terror though. Sleep walking often occurs in conjunction with terrors. As this stage of sleep is not a dream state, the body is able to thrash about, where as with a night mare you are actually paralyzed and protected from thrashing about, tis good to watch that he doesn’t injure himself with the thrashing. Being as relaxed as possible before sleep helps too, a quiet time before bed, hot bath even a back rub.

    • I have read that, but because they dont happen every night, I dont want to wake him as they arent every night! His bedtime routine is very regimented because of his ASD.

      • No, waking him every night will end up with him waking on his own at that time. It is hard to see them thrash about and not pick them up. Hopefully they will be short lived, most often it is some stressor causing them. Like you mentioned with end of school. A change in regiment most likely bothers him more.

      • As with every clump of night terrors once the stress has passed, he doesn’t wake. He doesn’t tend to trash about, just shouts, then giggles!

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