The difference between nightmares and night terrors

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The difference between nightmares and night terrors

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So nightmares and night terrors are two very different things. When a baby or a child falls asleep, usually within about 15 minutes or so they are going into their deepest sleep of the night. And that deep sleep cycle usually lasts maybe 45-75 minutes. So like an hour or an hour and a half after they fall asleep. Then typically they transition into a lighter stage of sleep. Often, young kids will wake up or seem to wake up screaming at that point. They won't recognize where they are. They won't recognize you. That's typically a night terror. They're not dreaming. They're not having a bad dream. They're stuck between sleep stages. Nightmares are very different. They are having a bad dream. They are experiencing something emotionally. They usually happen in the second half of the night when most dreams happen, during that time period. And with those, they will recognize the parent and be comforted by the parent coming in during the night and then talking about those things the next day.

Watch Video: The difference between nightmares and night terrors by Alan Greene, MD, ...

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Alan Greene, MD

Founder, DrGreene.com

Dr. Alan Greene founded his website, DrGreene.com, in 1995, cited by the AMA as "the pioneer physician web site." In 2010 he founded the WhiteOut Now movement to change how babies are fed from their very first bite of solid food, and in 2012 he founded TICC TOCC – Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping. He is an author of several books including Feeding Baby Green and appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, and is a regular columnist for Parenting magazine. He is a practicing pediatrician and the father of four.

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