How to Cure Nightmares in Children


Most children will suffer nightmares at some point, particu­larly those aged between eight and ten. They are unpleasant dreams which occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The child may partially or fully awake and be crying and panicky and will probably be able to recall the dream. They are more likely to occur when the child’s breathing is hindered in some way, for example if they are suffering from a cold or illness.

Night terrors also commonly occur in children, but hap­pen during NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, and usually start in children aged between four and seven. On suddenly waking in fear and screaming, the child will feel frightened and may not be sure who you are or where they are. They will have no memory of the event the next morn­ing. The odd dream or terror is normal in children, but if they are happening on a frequent and regular basis, there may be an underlying problem which needs to be addressed.

Children  Nightmares

What you can do

Comfort your child as soon as possible and let them know you are close. Cuddle and soothe them until they calm down, but don’t try to make them remember what their dream or terror was about. If their sleep is being frequently disturbed by these night wakings, choose a time during the day to try and discuss any anxieties or problems with your child to see if they are the root cause.

Treatment

Hypnotherapy

A hypnotherapist will use the unconscious mind to learn things that can be useful and to rid the child of nightmares or night terrors. This may include resourcing the child’s memory to look at the past when nightmares did not affect them and to disassociate night time as a time of possible fear. The child will then be taught to use those resources to cope with any fears they have in the present.

Bach Flower Remedies

There are various remedies that can help your child. Rock Rose will help ease the child’s panic on waking and calm the fright from the dream. If the child is hysterical and out of control, Cherry Plum will help to soothe them. Rescue Remedy contains both these remedies and so will be helpful. If the child is fearful, for instance worrying that a parent is going to leave home, Mimulus may help, while Honeysuckle may help a child who suffers a recurrent nightmare because they are reliving a bad experience.

Child Nightmare

Traditional Chinese medicine

The Chinese see fright and heat as the most common cause of nightmares. In children under three, slow bowel movement and the stagnation of food may also be seen as a cause. A cooling evening drink such as Chrysanthemum Flower may be given and a variety of herbs may be prescribed. Acupuncture can also achieve very quick results in two or three treatments.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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