Differences Between Nightmares & Night Terrors

The Difference Between Nightmares and Night Terrors


Most parents know what it’s like to comfort their child after the occasional nightmare.  But what do you do when it’s a more alarming nightmare?  Could it be a night terror (or sleep terror)?  If your child’s fear is inconsolable, no matter what you’ve tried, it might be.

While I haven’t experienced this myself I know several friends who’ve had this discussion trying to determine what’s going on.  Tonight my husband shared a great article with me about the difference between nightmares and night terrors.  It even has a chart with symptoms and the corresponding strategies to help calm your child at night.  I’m pinning it on Pinterest and bookmarking it but I just had to share it with you too.  Visit SixtySecondParent.com to see this helpful article.

About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl and sweet baby boy, and she is the main voice behind Embracing Marriage.


  1. I watched a documentary about dreaming once and they were discussing how children will often get more bad dreams with the same kind of themes (Like being chased by wolves or wild animals). They mentioned how our brains use dreams as a simulator for dealing with real-life events, so you might have dreams about being chased so you can “Practice” getting away without the risk. So anyway, what I recall is that this happens more to kids because they’re learning how to deal with dangers. I thought it was really interesting! Thanks for discussing this topic, it’s important to know how to react and comfort your kids.

    • AshleyWalkup says:

      That is very interesting! My nightmares, if you’d call it that, always include deep water. They still happen as an adult and I can vividly remember them and my struggle not to drown. Maybe I’m still struggling with a fear of drowning! How interesting, thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for sharing! My 4 year old was just telling me about his “scary dream” yesterday. (In which a snowmobile drove through our front door, crashed into our family room, and caught the house on fire…. We are in Phoenix.. no snow/snowmobiles here).

  3. My daughter had nightterrors for a couple of years and it was terrible. I was so glad when they stopped.

  4. My kids have all had night terrors. Awful. I hate them. I have bad dreams too.

  5. Night terrors are just the worst. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I am fortunate not to have any experience in with night terrors. Thanks for sharing the info for those that do!

  7. Luckily we haven’t experienced anything like that! Thanks for sharing this article!

  8. Neither of my kids experienced them, but I had a couple friends who had little ones that had this happen a lot!

  9. kSquaredGlamour says:

    My daughter hasnt had this happen yet she has said she had a bad dream but was never scared and just tellss me when she get up the next mornin.

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