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faithsstuff 08-14-2012 06:24 PM

I have a going on 4 year old who used to have sleep terrors.  Well, in the past 6 months he's started laughing hysterically in his sleep.  The first time, he sat straight up and was maniacally laughing while staring at the wall.  He was physcially and verbally unresponsive and after 20 mins fell back over asleep.  I wondered if we should call a priest (I may not be totally jiking) it was really creepy.  So we did some more research and decided it's a type of night terror.  Well, the 'episodes' are getting more frequent and now he's started walking.


It happened last night, this isn't cute little kid giggling, when he starts we always go running to him b/c at first you can't tell if it's screaming or not.  last night he woke up outside his bed and absolutely panicked.  He threw a huge tantrum, and had a horrid time sleeping again, we were awake from 2-4 and then he still got up at 6 something.  


Tonight dh actually found him at the head of the stairs flapping his hands and doing 'the laugh'.  dh carried him back to bed and stayed with him until it was over.  


I'm wondering if he's started sleep walking if this is something we should call the ped about? He never remembers the incident, the way he does with a bad dream but it makes me concerned that he's started wondering and that in the past 2 weeks he's had four episodes, in the the previous months it happened 1-2x's a month.  


What do you think?  Would you guys be worried?  Anyone had experiance with this or heard of it?

pbjmama 08-14-2012 07:52 PM

I don't have any direct recommendations but do you live anywhere near a sleep center? They may be able to point you in the right direction with a phone call. Sounds scary, I know sleep walking like this can lead to accidents.

Ragana 08-15-2012 05:48 AM

My kids talk in their sleep and DH has done what you said - sit up with eyes open (but he's not "there"), laughing or talking. I agree it's way creepy, and usually it's during times of stress. But they don't walk. That is what I would be concerned about with such a young child, especially since your husband already found him at the head of the stairs once. Starting with the ped sounds like a good idea, then working up if that doesn't provide the info you need.


PS A friend's sister once woke up in the middle of the night and set the entire dinner table, then remembered nothing the next day.

justastayathome 08-15-2012 09:04 AM

My family struggled with my grade-school aged son's nearly nightly night-terrors for several years.  When he was younger, it began with him giggling in his sleep, but got a lot worse.  From the research I've done, I think it is not a spiritual problem, but a sleep disorder that tends to run in families.  I remember walking and talking in my sleep as a child, and even occasionally now as an adult if I am under stress.  (That doesn't mean that there might not be something spiritual making it worse, and prayer is always a good idea!)  It is a condition where the brain get's stuck between sleep-cycles, which for some reason causes great confusion and even terror in the person.  The cause is the genetic disposition to it, but I found out that the main trigger for the night-terrors is lack of sleep!  This was surprising to me.  Try to put your child to bed earlier and see if it helps.  My son was the youngest of 5 kids, and so he typically stayed up way too late for his age because his older brothers did.  The other cause is stress.  My child was enduring serious bullying at school for years, and it took us a long time to solve that problem.  We finally found a different school for him, a private school where the principal did not tolerate bullying, yet did not try to squash the boys spirit either.  It still took him over a year to "decompress".  Be on the look out for things that might be causing stress or a lack of sleep for your child.  A good book on the subject is one by a pediatrician--I forgot his name--called "How To Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems".  Hang in there, it's worse for you than it is for him (at least at night!)  Oh, and you might consider putting a latch on your front door that's out of reach of your child (except this is a fire-hazard...) or I would keep a "baby monitor" on in his room, so that you can hear if he walks in his sleep after you've gone to bed. Once my child ran outside in nothing but his thin pajamas, late at night on one of the coldest nights of the year.  If he had gotten lost or stuck out there, he might have frozen to death!   This isn't usually a problem, unless your child is older, because night terrors generally happen about an hour after they first go to sleep. One more hint...sometimes they "snap out of it" faster if you put them in front of something they like on the TV--I guess their conscious brain over-rides their sleeping brain, and they wake up and then want to go right back to bed.  Try not to talk about it with them in the makes them feel even more out-of-control and helpless and worried that they are weird.  Do not let them go on sleep-overs until the night terrors are much more rare--especially since kids usually tend to stay up too late on sleep-overs.  Hope that helps and good luck!

faithsstuff 08-15-2012 09:49 AM

Thanks for the tips y'all.  I don't actually think there's a need for an exorcist, it's just totally creepy when you're trying to figure out what your kid is staring at and laughing uproariously at.  I love a good scary movie, and the first time this happened, was an *oh shit* moment :)


When this first started for him, it was only when his schedule had been seriously disrupted i.e. camping or flying, but it's become pretty regular now.  I think we'll def put a safety gate at the top of the stairs.  My hubby talks and moves in his sleep (though he stays in bed) so I wouldn't be shocked if it ran in the fam.  Anyway, if there's any more tips/experiance I'll take them.

tonttu 08-15-2012 10:49 AM

Could it be , that your son is suffering from seizures ? 

One of my friend´s kid had similar episodes , and they were at their wits end , until a neurologist found out he had a rare form of epilepsy 

meemee 08-15-2012 12:43 PM

sorry i cant offer you any tips. but just some experiences.


my poor mom. it was my brother who sleep talked. he would even do it during his afternoon nap. acting out scenes from his books and later comics. he did it till his late teen years. when it first started he'd either laugh or have a fight and yell around. 


it was me who sleep walked. mom would keep a closed eye on me. for some reason i would always go to the fridge when i wanted to go to the bathroom and kept pushing hte door. she just led me to the bathroom and i'd use it and go to bed without remembering anything. later on i would do a lot of chores at night and remember nothing - including doing the dishes. i sleepwalked till the end of my teen years. 

thelittlebrothe 08-15-2012 01:12 PM

This is absolutely a spiritual issue.  Children are the most vulnerable to attacks by demons.  There are family inter-generational demons.

Holy water, & blessed salts.  PRAY& FAST. the devil cannot remain in a household that does this.


Spiritual Warfare Prayer

Padre Pio, St. Pio of Pietrelcina:
"The Rosary is THE WEAPON."



Holy Shepard Jesus, Grant i pray

the immediate & complete protection of all children

especially those for whom no one prays

are left unguarded & easy prey for the evil one.


dcedc 08-15-2012 01:25 PM

If I were you, I would definitely call a priest! One of my children had nightmares when she was a baby and they stopped the day we had the house blessed. With what it sounds like is going on, you may need more than a house blessing, is the child baptized? The old rite included exorcism and I would have that done as well. Blessings to you and your family!

leafylady 08-15-2012 01:26 PM

My son went through night terrors.  It went on and off for a few years and he eventually grew out of it.  I think it's a stage that some children go through.

leafylady 08-15-2012 01:26 PM

I went through the same thing when I was a kid, but somewhat different behaviors than my son, so I agree with the others who say it probably runs in families.

~adorkable~ 08-15-2012 01:42 PM

wow, im guessing we can file this thread upper "be careful what you title a thread!"


i hope you can sift thru the more "colorful replies and get some constructive steps to take. I would start with finding a referral to a sleep center, my hubby has done a sleep study and it is really impressive what they can understand about your brain and sleep and how things go awry. 

till then, can you put up a child gate at the top of the stairs or the door to his room to keep him safe should he walk again? i would do my best while you sort things out to look around and see how you can keep his nighttime surrounds safe.

Ragana 08-15-2012 02:40 PM

Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

wow, im guessing we can file this thread upper "be careful what you title a thread!"


faithsstuff 08-15-2012 04:19 PM

lol, thread title changed :)

~adorkable~ 08-15-2012 04:39 PM

probably a good move  goodvibes.gifdemon.gif

~adorkable~ 08-15-2012 05:22 PM

i have been pondering if my 19m old son has some form of night terrors, how do you tell if that is what it is? its nt a big enough deal to need  to take him anywhere for it, but i would like to know the best wy of handling him. he will suddenly be "up" and screaming his head off, but not want any sort of soothing and frankly i swear he is not awake. eventually he "snaps out of it" and is usually fast asleep in a mere moment, so going from 0 to 100 to 0 again, i hope I'm not heeded to trouble i nthe long term with him

eamac 08-15-2012 05:34 PM

Pray the Chaplet of St Michael the Archangel daily, specifically for protection of each member of your family.  There is a special rosary for it that you can purchase at a Catholic religous store.  You can find the words on line, and they also come with the rosary.  I know someone who had night terrors often for over 25 years.  The person, received the rosary from a relative who visited Mt. St. Michaels in France, and has said the chaplet faithfully now for a number of years.  The terrors stopped soon after starting the devotion, and have not returned.  But it is very important to be faithful to daily prayer, and to do everything possible to stay in conformance with the Divine Will, especially to forgive everyone who has ever wronged you or your family.      

faithsstuff 08-15-2012 05:41 PM

Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

i have been pondering if my 19m old son has some form of night terrors, how do you tell if that is what it is? its nt a big enough deal to need  to take him anywhere for it, but i would like to know the best wy of handling him. he will suddenly be "up" and screaming his head off, but not want any sort of soothing and frankly i swear he is not awake. eventually he "snaps out of it" and is usually fast asleep in a mere moment, so going from 0 to 100 to 0 again, i hope I'm not heeded to trouble i nthe long term with him

that's what we were experiancing.  The first time we thought he was having a nightmare but was unresponsive to us.  We were freaking and after a while he was just *asleep* again.  No recollection of it the next day and no new fears to discuss.  If you google it, you'll get some good info.  good luck!

pek64 08-15-2012 05:59 PM

Does he take any medication? Night terrors can be a side effect of some medications.

Time to be Sherlock Holmes.
Does he skip some nights (sleep through the night without an episode)?

gerigc 08-15-2012 06:21 PM

My daughter had night terrors for years.  It is much more frightening for the parent as the child never remembers it.  Not to diminish the use of Holy water,etc. - by all means use it and more - but this is a sleep disorder.  He will outgrow it.  My daughter did.  Just keep him safe as he goes through it.  You can't wake them.  He will calm down and go back to sleep. 

LitMom 08-15-2012 07:38 PM

Hm. I have a sleep walker, but she comes down the stairs, and navigates furniture, etc. quite well. She just is also talking to a friend who lives across town or telling her brother not to mess up her lego city... when he's in his bed asleep. From my research, sleep walkers aren't too likely to fall down stairs or walk into things because their eyes are open and they are processing those things.


I think that runs in families. My brother used to sleepwalk and my two brothers used to have entire, semi-coherent conversations in their sleep. Slightly odd ones with some disjointed bits, but mostly made sense, if you believed in pet dinosaurs and flying hotels. They never remembered them in the morning at all.  


We've also braved night terrors, although not often and not with sleep walking or moving around beyond sitting up. 

Doc V 08-15-2012 08:35 PM

Take child to  a sleep specialist, sounds like night terrors which are manifesting in a different realm.


Also, does the child snore, have daytime tiredness or sleepiness, are there large tonsills, is he irritable, is there restless leg syndrome and or a peripheral limb movement disorder and does the child grind his teeth. Alot of sleep disorders are not completely understood but get the child to a sleep specialist and a reputable dental sleep specialist as many issues of sleep can involve the genetic craniofacial expression of a child.


Blessins and good luck, if you need more assistance let me know. Of course always pray to prevent any misfortune to any family member and this includes the well-being of good health, even a sleep disorder.



Dr. V in Pueblo, Colorado.

wendylynn 08-16-2012 05:09 AM

You can try to say the Saint Joseph prayer, that worked when my daughter started having night terrors. I also had my house blessed. She was fine after that. Although your situation seems to be more intense than mine was. I would call the doctor and if things don't get better i would contact your diocese and speak to a priest. I will pray for you and your family. 

Mybabylovespony 08-16-2012 06:49 AM

I like to approach difficult situation with a "two pronged" approach; through faith and through medical.  I employ prayer and I turn to my priest regularly on difficult issues.  I try to have God near.


Second is medical-  I had a traumatic brain injury in '05, roughly 8 months later I began to have night terrors.  They happened 5 - 6 nights a week and became rather exhausting.  MRI eliminated a tumor and I had no bleeding or bruising that would cause those kinds of disturbances.  So, if you have not had him checked by your pediatrician to rule out the most serious, I would.  You never want to hear, "gee I wish you would have come in 6 months ago when we could have done something."


Next in the medical is eating.  If I go to bed on a full stomach, in other words, if I graze all night long and then go to bed, I almost guarantee myself night terrors.


Final is rest/stress- I saw it was brought up by another poster and I agree.  When I get over tired or incredibly stressed, I will have night terrors.  Basically, I have had to learn how to pace myself and not over-do things.  Not only can I over-do it with my body, but I will tax my brain even quicker.  My brain when it is not happy will first interfere with my speech and then if I don't get the hint will give me night terrors.  I have learned to do what I should have been doing all along, but now I have a cranky brain that isn't as "forgiving" as it was before I injured it.  I'm not saying your child has a brain injury, but they may have a sensitive brain.  Sleeping is the time we refresh our bodies and our brains.  Dreams are intended for the psyche to deal with things on a subconscious level that we're not dealing with well while we are awake.


Sleep studies are good, just make sure they are board certified.  Ask your pediatrician about a referral to a neurologist and ask if, or maybe insist on an MRI or CT scan w/contrast.  MRI's are better, and more expensive.


If you ask your child about any potential "issues" try not to ask leading questions.  Many times if something sounds good, they will just say "yes" not meaning that it really happened.


One last thing.  I know this is a terrible thing to put out there, but I feel it is necessary.  Do you have your child in daycare or with a babysitter?  Is there a possibility of molestation?  If you believe there might be, I would contact authorities and ask for a referral for a forensic psychologist that knows exactly how to approach these things. If, God Forbid, it is true, don't panic in front of your child.  That will make them feel responsible.  Also, don't rush to them with hugs and saying things like, "oh my God, I am so sorry, you poor baby..."  That will only make them feel bad about what happened and feel guilty.  The guilt does not belong with a child.  Check all your people and make certain they are credible and not into some sort "repressed" memory garbage.  He either knows about it and doesn't know what to do, but knows it bothers him or it is not this.


Remember to keep God close.  A quick little prayer before you seek information I find helpful, as I believe it will bring me to the people I am supposed to find.


Good luck.

grace0910 08-16-2012 07:12 AM

My daughter who is  now 20 did this also.  I did not know whether to call dr or a priest.  her ramblings always had religious connotations to them.   one night she stood over our bed and told us to pray now.  It was bizare.  It is a form of night terrors.  she would sleep walk as early as 2 years old.  I did alot of praying at the time because her behavior was so bizarre.  which always helped.


But this can also related to blood sugars and hypoglycemic events at  night.  Did not figure this out until she was in school and would get really low blood sugars at sport pracritices and games, and I did my research.   a drink or hard candy would always snap her out of it at practice.  You can try having them drink a glass of milk before bed, milk helps maintain blood glucose  levels longer than sugary drinks, or have a glass of something like juice at bedside. to sip on.  


My daughter has always only grazed with food most of the day instead of full meals.  she did the same when nursing.  But when she started putting a cup of juice at bed side the incidents decrease.


She is now 20 and has some thyroid and PCOS issues, which has a strong corelation to blood sugars. 

Hope this  helps.....

~adorkable~ 08-16-2012 08:27 AM

Having a glass of juice by the bed is a great way to rot your kids teeth and give them blood sugar issues!

mia123 08-16-2012 09:30 AM



I wonder if your little one has been baptized? Has he been anointed by a priest with oil?

One of my ministries is "Spiritual Warfare". This stuff is for REAL. Even small children can be afflicted, for, evil has

no bounds. Therefore, it is very important that we protect ourselves and those that we love.

Try using a simple spray bottle with holy water from church. Sprinkle your house, especially your child's bedroom, in the name of

Jesus Christ. If one of these incidents happen, spray, spray, spray, and pray to our Lord, Jesus. Send whatever is

invading your space to the Light. He will take care of the rest.


Good Luck and May God Bless You and Your Family.


4evermom 08-16-2012 10:43 AM

Just skimmed the responses so sorry if I'm repeating someone else.


All sleep issues are related. Night terrors, insomnia, sleep walking, etc. So if a person is prone to one, he might develop the others. 


My own ds first "sleep crawled" at 9 months. He suddenly crawled right off our bed and landed on his head. I lunged for him, aiming for his white diaper in the dark without my glasses but I missed. When he got older, he had night terrors for a few years. He sleep walks now and then. Cosleeping has been nice because he tends to just move towards me, but now and then he goes for the door. I always wake up and call him back. I know he would be freaked out to wake up all alone in a different part of the house.

And this is a baptized child. lol.gif


The main thing that helped was making sure ds got as much sleep as possible. His sleep issues are always worse when he is over tired. And then he is over tired because he didn't sleep well! When he was young, I'd force a nap with a well timed car ride to help him catch up on sleep. Another thing that happens when he is over tired is he gets wired. He acts all energetic and hyper but that is really a sign of exhaustion. The sleep issues are better simply because he is older and doesn't need as much sleep. But he still gets reved up if we stay up too late and he still sleep walks occasionally.


This is a good book which might be helpful. It's by the same author as Raising your Spirited Child:

Peony 08-16-2012 10:55 AM

Ok. Now that I've gotten my daily funny after reading all the first posts from many people... 


My 9 year old has night terrors and sleep walks. It started when she was 5. It alternates between occurring multiple times a night to disappearing for weeks at a time. Her "attacks" are anxiety related though so under periods when she is feeling more stress, they occur very often. Pedis are often not very trained in this area. If you have a sleep clinic in your area, that would be an excellent resource. You should be able to discuss with the pedi and request a referral if need be. At one point, the night terrors got so bad that she started refusing to go to bed at all and would force herself to stay awake. This is unusual though. DD1 sleepwalking alternates between it being obvious that she is asleep and other times, she can and will carry on a normal conversation with her eyes open, she will eat, use the bathroom, appear very normal, but she is not awake. We ended up investing in a house alarm that we set for her once she heads to bed, at her age, she really should know the code but we don't want her knowing it and attempting to use it in her sleep, it is the only security we have to keep her inside at night. It has severely limited her night time activities. She can not do sleepovers because we can't trust anyone else to be able to tell when she IS sleepwalking because she can appear almost normal. Early this year, she started having her episodes multiple times a night again, I would be escorting her back to bed, every 20 minutes it seemed for the first several hours of the night. We ended up doing a trial of meds to see if they would help, and they have virtually eliminated the night time issues and greatly improved her quality of life, BUT like I said, DD1 was quite severe and that is not a common treatment for a child. 

meemee 08-16-2012 11:30 AM

ooh i remember one more thing. my friend's dd always got night terrors any time she wore footed pjs.


i get nightmares if i am too hot at night with extra blankets.

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