Night terrors or Sleep Apnea?


Q: My son just turned 6 months and just recently had an episode of what I suspect was night terrors. He woke screaming an when went into his room to console him he never did open his eyes but eventually stopped crying. This happened again a few hours later and he had been sleeping almost through the night. I decided to take him to my bed and for the remainder of the night he made little gasping noises that I can only describe as the sound someone makes after they have cried really hard. He continued to do this until he woke in the morning. I am wondering if this is normal for his age? Is it dreams or night terrors or something more serious like sleep apnea?


A:   Night terrors are commonly seen in children between the ages of four and six, though they can appear in babies as young as nine months, so it is most unlikely that you son could have had a night terror. Other causes could be separation anxiety, developmental growth spurt, not getting enough sleep or an underlying illness. If your baby wakes up in the night because of night terror, I would advise that you do not try to soothe him, talk to him or wake him up as it will intensify the sleep terror. Let the sleep terror run its course, and stand nearby to make sure your baby doesn't hurt himself.

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