Nightmares and night fears

Nightmares and night fears

We as parents surely want our children to be calm. Mainly when they sleep. So when it comes time to have bad dreams, then that leaves us restless. It is important to know how to react when this happens. Before trying to reassure our son when he has had a nightmare, we must make sure that it was precisely that, and not a night fear. Because although they are very similar, the way of acting must change according to the situation.

Here we will tell you the differences:

  • Nightmares are dreams that cause children to fear. And after having them, the children have a full awakening. Whereas a night fear can occur while they are still awake.

  • Nightmares are almost always noticed after they happen. The child wakes up and tells us what he just dreamed of. Unlike night fear, the child screams or fidgets a lot while it happens.

  • Nightmares often occur during REM sleep. Between 4 to 6 am. While the night fear occurs in the first hour of sleep.

  • After a nightmare, children sometimes come to us or call us. While in a nightly fear, they seem not to realize that we are with them.

  • Nightmares are often remembered, but nighttime fears are not.


When your child has a nightmare or fear at night, hug him, respect his emotions, show him empathy, and try to put yourself in his place. Take breaths together. You can even sing to him, tell him a story, help him think of beautiful things, use humor. If necessary, explain why the nightmares happen or what they are. Use distractions, turn on the light, and let him sleep with you or sleep with him.


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