Admin. Note: Darlene is a visitor to the site. I have not tested her methods and can not vouch for them. This is a cure for CHILDHOOD Night Terrors.
The methods most likely will not work for 'true' adult sufferers.
Thanks for the opportunity to post this on the site. Nothing is medically dangerous. I believe strongly against drugs for children. What follows is the form that I send to everyone who e-mails or posts to me from your site. I have been told by many people over the past months that what I have suggested have helped them also.
First, a little background: Tyler is my youngest of three children. He is currently going to be three October 23rd. His NTs started in February 1998. He only usually had one a night and it would last from 5-25 minutes. His were so bad that he ended up refusing to sleep anywhere but in our bed. After about two weeks of no sleep I did extensive research on the subject and made Tyler my "Guinea pig." Nothing dangerous, just a lot of trial and error.
Stress plays a major factor in NTs. If your child goes to bed later than normal, has a busy, event filled evening, or doesn't have a nap or at least a rest time during the day, this could lead to a NT. Try to devote an hour before bedtime for "cool down." For Tyler this meant a nice warm bath, listening to lullabies, reading books or snuggling with mommy and daddy. Don't try to put your child to bed overly tired. It sounds crazy, but the more tired they are the worse the NT can be.
Heat is another major factor in NTs. You may notice your child sweating when he is having a NT. This is common, however if the child is hot when going to sleep, it will be worse. We always kept a window cracked in our sons room for fresh air. We dressed him in light-weight, 100% cotton pajamas. During the hot summer months, he just wore a diaper or a diaper and T-shirt. No feet in the pajamas! He had several NTs when he was screaming something was biting his feet and we found him pulling on the feet of his pajamas. If your child must sleep with a blanket, make sure they are not wrapped up in it or it is not too hot. We used to give Tyler a cotton receiving blanket or light crib blanket. When we came to bed we made sure the blanket was just over him, not wrapped around him to the point that he was "stuck."
We used a noise machine in his room at night. This is a machine that can be purchased at any major department store for $35-$75. This machine emits a steady soothing sound. This helps the child in transition from REM sleep to deep sleep. Again, during the summer months, the window air conditioner did the trick. These machines can have a variety of sounds, from ocean, wind, waterfall, birds, lullabies. You can pick what your child feels most comfortable with. It is soothing for adults too!
We gave Tyler KID Chamomile. This is an herbal remedy found at your health food store. I have done alot of research on drugs vs. herbs and found that herbal remedies, while not being as strong or quick to react, have much lower side effects and are not usually habit forming. There are many herbs out there for use in relaxation for children specifically. Again, with trial and error, you have to find the one that works best for your child. It also is not an overnight cure. It takes about a week of doses to begin working. We gave this to Tyler about an hour before bedtime.
Do not give a child Benadryl to help NTs. This drug is for allergies and the claim that it helps with NTs is because the side effect of Benadryl is drowsiness. It is like an adult taking night time cold medicine to help sleep when they are not sick. You should never use a drug just for the side effects.
I also did alot of research on aroma therapy. I found that lavender was very calming for Tyler. I burned a lavender scented candle in his room for about two hours before bedtime with the doors closed. I used Candle Scents from Glade. When I put him to bed, we blew it out. The aroma stayed in his room almost all night. During the day I used a light ring with lavender essential oil. This is a terra cotta ring that fits over a light bulb in a lamp. You put a few drops of oil in the ring and then on the bulb. The heat from the lamp heats the oil and fills the room with lavender aroma. Very relaxing.
Never try to wake your child up during the NT. Even though they may talk to you or react to what you are saying, they are actually asleep. They will not remember the NT the next day. We used very soothing words with Tyler. Like, "Everything is ok, mommy and daddy are right here, we love you", etc. Sometimes when that didn't work in calming him, I would try to divert his attention by asking him questions very directly like, "Where is the kitty cat?" or "Where is you Elmo?" I tried to stay as calm as possible. The more excited and loud I got, the worse it was for him. Try to adjust yourself to what your child is asking for. If they don't want to be held, don't hold them. If they ask for you to hold them, hold them. Don't just assume that since your child is screaming they want you to hold them.
Don't dwell on the NTs the next day. Don't ask about what the child remembers. This may scare them because they really don't remember, but your descriptions may scare them. Try to limit your conversations to outsiders about your child when the child is present. Your child my feel guilty and confused about keeping you awake which adds to the stress which makes the NT worse. It's just a vicious cycle.
Also remember that pediatricians do not know a lot about this condition. There is no blood test to diagnose it and no prescription to cure it so in most cases the answer from them is that it is normal and they will grow out of it. I think that if more of their children had NTs they would be more willing to help with finding the cure.
All of these things in combination have helped in "curing" Tyler of his NTs. He has not had any since late July. We have stopped the chamomile, lavender and noise machine. We do, however, make sure he has a rest time during the day and calm evening and we still dress him lightly and use a light blanket.