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Reasons Why Your Child Is Having Nightmares

Often your child might have woken up crying or fearful and might have experienced trouble getting back to sleep - there is a very high possibility that he had a nightmare. Nightmares are the scary episodes which usually occurs in the second half of the night’s sleep that is during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of the night. Nightmares could remain etched in the memory of your child and he could talk about it and be bothered by it even the next day. The frightening or upsetting dreams could be caused due to specific reasons or could occur out of blue. So, here is the list of possible reasons for such dreams and how to address those nightmares for your child’s good night sleep.  

Real-life incidents:

Even the simplest incidents such as coming across a large dog or barking of it could scare your child to a greater extent. Not to mention, impactful incidents like witnessing an accident or the death of someone in the family could catch your child off-guard and scares spitless. The kids have rapidly expanding grasp of real-perils and this could affect your child greatly till he gains the confidence to deal with it.

Day-to-day activities:

Sometimes, the nightmares could contain the bits of pieces of their day-to-day activities with a scary twist. The unnerving events or situations such as changing the school, shifting to a new place, family tensions or a birth of sibling could be unsettling for your child and could reflect in the form of nightmares.

Listening or watching upsetting programs:

Listening to crime stories or watching horror movies could distress your child and could be reflected in the form of nightmares.


For the kids who have an active imagination, reading the scary books or watching scary movies, could inspire nightmares. Younger children could dream of imaginary creatures like monsters, scary animals, bad guys, gigantic dog; whereas the older children could dream of being hurt by realistic events such as being kidnapped or lost, or burglars or natural disasters.

Stress or Anxiety:

Any events or situations that could create turbulence in the emotional state of your child could make his fears worse and make him feel more anxious and stressed. It could be family conflict or parental anxiety or a small fight with his friend or the burden of his homework or being worked up just before the bed. The stress your child is experiencing could be expressed in the form of nightmare.

Not in good health:

Nightmares occur often when your child is not well, especially if they have a fever or when he is not getting sufficient sleep. It might be because of the discomfort and tiredness your child is experiencing. Also, some medicines could make your child drowsy and cause nightmares and a few other medicines could cause nightmares once they are stopped.

No apparent reasons:

Some nightmares could occur out of blue. There might be no specific reasons for it and why it is still unknown why such nightmares occur.

Having good night’s sleep:

 - For kids, have regular bedtime and wake-up time.

 - Have a slow sleep routine such as a bath time.

 - Make the bed cosy and comfortable. If required, give your child his fav toy or stuffed animal, keep the night-light or dream catcher.

 - Avoid scary or horror movies, TV shows, and stories just before bed.

 - Let your child know that nightmares are not real. So, they can’t hurt them in any way. 



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