News Release

Kids’ Halloween Nightmares Explained

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News Release, (2022, October 6). Kids’ Halloween Nightmares Explained. Psychreg on Society, Politics, & Culture. https://www.psychreg.org/kids-halloween-nightmares/
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With Halloween now just weeks away, Little Wishlist – an online gift registry for pregnancy, babies, and children – collaborated with two experts (including a child and adolescent therapist, as well as a mental health coach and GP) to discuss nightmares and night terrors, including the key differences, causes, common themes in nightmares and the reasons behind these, tips and solutions, and when to seek further medical advice.

The experts revealed that eight of the most common nightmare themes for children include dreaming about:

Monsters

Usually suggests that you are facing mental and emotional distress in your waking life.

Drowning

Usually suggests that you are feeling overwhelmed or might even represent control issues.

Getting lost or losing something important

Usually suggests that you are anxious about something.

Being chased

Usually suggests that you are anxious about something or experiencing heightened or ongoing stress.

Feeling trapped

Usually suggests that you are caught in a difficult, restrictive, or even dangerous situation.

Natural disasters

Usually suggests that you are nervous about a big change related to feelings of security or the plans, goals, and hopes you had for the immediate future.

Public humiliation/catastrophe (things going wrong for them publicly)

Usually suggests that you have feelings about being exposed as ill-prepared, incompetent, or deserving of shame.

Teeth falling out

Usually suggests that you are feeling a loss of control or are worried about losing something or someone important to you.

Common causes for nightmares include: watching something frightening, like TV programme or a film; being worried, stressed, or anxious; some medication; mental health conditions, such as PTSD; being tired; being unwell; something that interrupts deep sleep, such as needing to go to the toilet or a loud noise.

Night terrors tend to affect children from 38 years old, and something significant would have to be going on for the child to be experiencing night terrors. Persistent lack of sleep is one of the most common causes, and other causes include anxiety, traumatic events, and changes in the child’s life that cause distress.

Julia Boullemier, the founder of Little Wishlist, commented: ‘Dreams (including nightmares) are often a way for children to process their emotions, thoughts, and events that have happened to them – they often reveal what the child has been anxious or stressed about.’

‘According to the experts, Halloween can trigger a child to have nightmares, particularly for those who have an active imagination. As there are scary images and noises associated with Halloween, these can affect their sleep due to creating (or heightening) a fear of the dark, monsters, being trapped, or not wanting to go to bed. With this in mind, review any planned Halloween activities for age- (and child-specific) appropriateness.’

Child and adolescent therapist Kemi Omijeh added: ‘If nightmares are persistent and are happening over a significant period, or if they are impacting their life and their ability to enjoy their day and thrive, then consider obtaining medical advice from your GP’.

Mental health coach and GP Dr Hana Patel added: ‘Sometimes medical conditions can stop children sleeping well and make them more likely to have night terrors or nightmares, such as enlarged tonsils.’

Dr Patel continued to explain: ‘Night terrors are likely to need support from a professional – seek specialist support or therapy for the child experiencing frequent night terrors. Some children might have a condition called ‘sleep paralysis’ – where you cannot move or speak as you fall asleep – in this case, the experts also advise you to seek additional medical advice.


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