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How do you treat night terrors in children?

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Quick Answer

Treatment options for infrequent night terrors in children include waiting it out, speaking softly to the child and gently restraining her, according to Mayo Clinic. For night terrors that are significantly disruptive, treatment options include dealing with the stress or anxiety, improving sleep habits, and treating underlying conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea. When necessary, medication such as benzodiazepine may also treat the condition.

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Night or sleep terrors are frequent episodes of intense crying and fear that occur during sleep, most frequently for children aged between 3 and 12 years, but also in some adults, explains WebMD. The terrors include sweating and increased heart and breathing rates. The child usually sits up in bed screaming, thrashing and disoriented, unaware of the people around her. She might not talk or respond to comfort. Although it may take up to half an hour for the child to relax and go back to sleep, she usually does not remember the incident when she wakes up the next morning.

In some cases, the cause of night terrors is unknown, notes WebMD. Other times it may be due to stressful events, sleep deprivation, medications that affect the brain, fever or anesthesia given during recent surgery.

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