Hudson Valley Parent

HVP September 2018

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14 Hudson Valley Parent n September 2018 eventually dissipated," Powell says. It's unclear whether Sam's night terrors were related to the disruption in her family unit or were due to another biological factor. Eighty percent of children who have night terrors have a family member who has also experienced a sleep disturbance, according to Dr. Emily Becker-Weidman of the Hudson Valley Center for Cognitive Therapy. What are night terrors? "Night terrors, which are defined as an over-arousal of the central nervous system during sleep, are relatively uncommon - they affect three to six percent of kids," says Dr. Becker-Weidman. "Night terrors usually happen about two or three hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep moves from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep," she says. "Usually this By ELORA TOCCI S am was five years old when her parents separated. Shortly after they split up, Sam began experiencing night terrors, which led her to scream, cry, shake and sometimes get up out of bed. Sam never remembered the terrors the next day, but they deeply worried her mother, who brought her to see Danielle Powell, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at One Village Counseling in Kingston. Powell worked with Sam and her mom on several different strategies to overcome the night terrors. "Through a combination of play therapy to process confusing changes in Sam's life, parenting consultations to adjust nighttime routines and time to implement learned coping skills, Sam's difficulties surrounding nighttime transition is a smooth one. But sometimes, a child becomes upset and frightened - and that fear reaction is a night terror." Night terrors are very different from nightmares, which are much more common than terrors. "Nightmares usually happen during REM sleep and although they can be intense and disturbing, children are able to wake up from them immediately and recall at least parts of the dream if not most of it," says Sarah Gugluizza, a licensed clinical social worker with a private therapy practice in Stone Ridge. "Night terrors take place outside of REM sleep and waking the child up or the child waking themselves up is very difficult if not impossible. Night terrors usually encompass intense crying, screaming or yelling, and fearfulness." While children typically have Is your child suffering from night terrors? Help your child have sweet dreams Night terrors usually include intense crying, screaming, yelling or fearfulness. This can be traumatizing for the child experiencing the night terror, the parents and other siblings in the house.

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