Help for Night Terrors

by GfG on November 9, 2011 · 4 comments

Recently I realized that people are struggling with a difficult problem and may not know an easy solution.  A solution that was a godsend to us six years ago.

Does your child wake up in the night screaming, crying, babbling or running around the house?

Does he or she seemed terrified out of their minds and speak clearly, but see right through you?

Does your child wake up in the morning and not remember a moment of what happened?

Are you drained and weeping at the end of the incident because you cannot figure out how to comfort your child?

We suffered through this for years before finding a diagnosis and a solution.   For the first two years, we thought HB was having just really bad nightmares.  She would cry and cry and talk to us.  Holding her didn’t help.  Talking to her didn’t help.  Praying for her didn’t help.  The only thing that sometimes helped was putting on a movie and after about five minutes she would snap out of her hysteria and stare at the television.

These incidents consistently happened an hour or so after she was asleep, often when overtired (say after a day at Fiesta Texas) and always involved her coming out of her room wailing.  They were seriously disturbing.  Think nightmare times ten.

We were so desperate that we had friends come pray for her.  We prayed over her room.  We anointed it with oil.

After two years, I happened upon something online that led to the word night terrors.  I wish I had saved that page because it rocked my world.  The mother described exactly what we were walking through, even the part about worrying that her daughter was possessed.  I know that sounds horrible, but HB seemed awake during the episodes and hallucinated things in the room.  It was very scary for all of us.  When that mother finally shared that these were actually night terrors, my jaw dropped.  I had never heard the term.

She mentioned that it’s a neurological episode where the brain keeps running on high and that it’s typically hereditary (if either parent slept walk or slept talk as children, the odds increased… My Sweetie and I both did).  I cried sitting at my computer screen.  I was so relieved to hear we weren’t the only ones going through this and that maybe she would outgrow it soon (usually by age five) or we could get help.

So, we finally mentioned it to her doctor.  He encouraged us that she would outgrow it soon.  She didn’t.   He mentioned medication only as a last resort (typically only for teens who might actually try to drive… not out of the question… HB rode her bike across camp once after getting out of bed WITH ME and not finding me in the house anywhere!!).

After five years of these horrifying nights (and door alarms), I finally mentioned it to a friend.  Honestly, we just thought it was how HB was wired and we needed to suffer through.  As I explained that it was a neurological episode, my friend shared about the pysiological effects of classical music, especially Handel’s Water Music, on the brain.  I googled it immediately, then I called the local music store and asked them to hold two CDs (yeah, it was that long ago… had to buy CDS… at the store) for me.  I was so desperate and hopeful, that just before nap, I loaded up all four kids, drove the twenty minutes to the store and bought two CDs (one for the car and one for her room).

That night she didn’t have a night terror.

I was stunned.  I hoped it was a real change, but wondered if it was a fluke.

It wasn’t.

As long as we played the music in her room through the night, she never had another night terror.   A couple of times we (or the babysitter) would forget to play the music and she would have one.

It was the most wonderful solution to a real problem for us I have ever experienced.  Did you know that many anesthesiologists are using classical music in the operating room because they notice a change in patient’s blood pressure?  Did you know that classical music can affect heart rate?  Did you know  that baroque music (sixty beats per minute) is especially calming?

So… if your child, or a child you know, has night terrors, consider playing Handel’s Water Music in their room through the night.

You could find peace.

Playing Handel’s Water Music to cure night terrors worked for me.  I hope it can work for someone you love.  Check out We are THAT Family for tips on many things.

Have you used classical music to settle your children in any way?

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