I get woken up in my sleep at least four times throughout the night. My daughter is screaming only for just under a minute. she is not awakened from this but is leaving me wondering what is happening

  • Most likely dreams
    – arved
    Feb 3, 2016 at 8:52
  • Is this the only thing Screaming? No crying, tears, etc.
    – Nachmen
    Feb 3, 2016 at 14:59
  • Hi, and welcome! There is a lot of information on night terrors on the site, e.g. here and here. If this sounds like what your daughter is experiencing, maybe you'll find the answer there. If not, could you please edit to give more information (and maybe why it might not be night terrors?) We'd really like to help. :-) Feb 3, 2016 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


Although stressful for a parent, this is very common, and most likely nothing to be concerned about. It will likely pass as the child gets older.

When it happens the best thing may simply be to sit beside the child for a while and gently stroke her shoulder or back until she calms down. Lifting the child to try to console her can sometimes make things worse.

You may also be able to look at your bedtime routine, and see if there might be ways to make it a more calm, peaceful experience. Sing lullabies, read peaceful happy stories (nothing scary, or even exciting).

Another thing you could try is playing some kind of 'white noise' throughout the night. We have started playing water sounds and this seems to help our children to go to sleep sooner, and sleep more soundly. We just use a spare mobile phone playing the water sound on a continuous loop.

  • Reason for the downvote? Feb 5, 2016 at 4:28
  • Seems like a good answer to me... however, the problem isn't getting to sleep, it's avoiding the night terrors that causes her to "act out" during her sleep. I upvoted you for the valuable contribution ;-)
    – user19679
    Feb 5, 2016 at 15:32
  • Yes, I understand, but it could all be related. If she goes to sleep a little calmer, then she may have a less disturbed sleep. Dreams are very often related to thoughts and feelings at bed time. Feb 5, 2016 at 21:43
  • I more or less, agree with you. Typically, anything that has the ability to cause stress, will negatively impact sleep quality and maintenence of our circadian cycles. Dreams and unconscious visual episodes, are much more difficult to conclude than you have done so above, however. Very difficult indeed. I can't agree with you on that one. On the other hand, anything positive you can do to help your son/daughter, would never go un-noticed; keep at it! :-)
    – user19679
    Feb 6, 2016 at 21:17
  • @user19679 You've never watched a movie late at night, and then ended up dreaming about it? I was dreaming last night about being stuck on Mars, perhaps you can guess which Matt Damon movie I was watching just before bed. I know that the same thing happens to my children because they tell me what they dream about. This is not a particularly difficult conclusion to draw. Feb 14, 2016 at 7:06

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