Whilst night terrors can occur in adults, they most commonly occur in kids. They are very similar to nightmares, however, the child is partially awake from deep sleep.
Preventing night terrors is obviously the most important objective. Make sure that the child has a regular sleep pattern and goes to bed early. Kids can need 12 hours of sleep per night and fatigue is the most common trigger. Make sure you remove all nightmare triggers including scary movies, or TV shows, video games and others that expose violence and evoke anxiety. If the night terrors do not abate, consider counselling to understand emotional triggers.
Make sure that all caffeine, sugar and other stimulants are avoided. Anything that influence brain chemistry can influence sleep. A number of children have night terrors from a chemical or preservative in their food or environment – the most common one is MSG (number 621).
Address deficiencies if present – nutrients that enable appropriate brain chemistry and neurotransmitter release include vitamin B6, Magnesium and Zinc. Vitamin B6 is one of the most important B vitamins to regulate brain chemistry. Deficiency presents as disturbing dreams or an inability to remember dreams. The most important food sources are wholegrains, sunflower seeds, beef and avocado. Zinc is an incredible mineral and a major deficiency sign in children include nightmares, disturbing dreams, restlessness and emotional instability. It is found in nuts, seeds, red meat and oysters. Magnesium can present as insomnia and frequent waking and muscle cramps and spasms and is found in nuts, cocoa, millet, buckwheat and potatoes with the skin.
If necessary, herbal medicines such as Chamomile, lavender and lemon balm can be given to ensure a more restful night sleep and essential oils to trigger a more positive limbic response such as lavender and sandalwood oil is beneficial.