Why Do Children Experience Bad Dreams?
Adults may experience nightmares more often than children because of the various stresses in life that they experience, as well as the physical fatigue they have from work. Based on this, we could consider some of the possible reasons why children also experience nightmares, despite the innocent and peaceful lives that they have.
Nightmares may cause children to scream, appear terrified, sweat profusely or have difficulty in going back to sleep. Parents may also have difficulty calming children, especially if they have been terrified by the bad dream.
Nightmares are more common in young children and occur more often in boys than girls. Young children, as in pre-schoolers, have a very vivid imagination. This age group may interpret a lot of things in the environment as frightening because of their imagination. For instance, they may see the shadow of a branch of a tree as the hand of a monster or a moving white curtain as a ghost, especially when it is dark. This very vivid imagination of children may contribute to the development of nightmares as they think about frightening ideas or events as they go to sleep.
When children experience nightmares it’s normally a sign that the child is experiencing some problems, either physical, mental, or emotional. The following are the most common reasons for childhood nightmares:
Stress in children may be a common reason for nightmares. Stress in young children may come from bad experiences at school, with their parents or their peers.
The presence of illness may also trigger a nightmare. This is because the illness creates an imbalance in the transmission of brain signals that may cause imbalance in the neurotransmitters in the brain. A common illness which often triggers a nightmare, is a very high and continuous fever.
- Sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep may also lead to nightmares. Sleep helps the brain fix the information that has been stored and to recuperate from the day’s activity. When children experience lack of sleep, the brain tends to be in an unrested condition, and this may possibly cause nightmares.
Children who receive physical, mental or emotional abuse may also experience nightmares more often. These children usually have post-traumatic stress disorders as a result of abuse that may disturb them every now and then. Since the bad events are stored in their memory, these events may come out in their dreams as nightmares.
When children are neglected, they also tend to experience nightmares more often than the rest of their peers. Nightmares happen because they tend to feel insecure, leading to dreams that show they are in harmful events.
How to Deal With Nightmares in Children?
Nightmares may be effectively managed through the following:
- Let children feel that they are secure.
- Attend to their needs.
- Allow them to enjoy playtime to serve as a stress reduction activity.
- Avoid physical means of discipline.
- Promote better sleep at night.
- Make sure to give them antipyretics at night if they have fever.
- Provide a dim light in their room so they can see in the dark.
- Help them go to sleep and assure them that you are beside them always.
- Teach children to pray at night to redirect their fears to something that is pleasant.
- Cut out violent or aggressive TV programs.
Although nightmares may be common for many children, they usually disappear by adolescence. However, adults may still be predisposed to nightmares due to the constant stress that they encounter.
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This post is written by Dr. Amarendra, the guest author. He frequently writes on children. He recommends Naturepdic which provides healthy sleeping materials for children and infants like queen mattresses, pillows and more. He grabbed latest Naturepedic coupon code from www.ordersciencebooks.com and availed discount.