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Waking hysterical from nap


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#1 Minnie80

Posted 20 April 2019 - 02:34 AM

Hi everyone,

My 3.5 year old doesn't take naps anymore, but he often sleeps in the car etc. I noticed lately that he will wake up from his naps hysterical. Crying, asking for mommy or daddy and not responding when we ask him what is wrong. It's really very bizarre. Did anyone experience something like that with their kids?

#2 WTF_SM3

Posted 20 April 2019 - 04:20 AM

Yep one of my kids went through a stage like this.  Overtiredness or being woken too soon was the cause for her. She was much younger then.

#3 Charli73

Posted 20 April 2019 - 06:50 AM

My DS had this once and I have a feeling he was still asleep and it was sleepwalking or something similar. He’s never done it again..

#4 Popper

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:02 AM

Yes. DD has only now grown out of it at 4. Her tantrums post nap could not be soothed so we ended up having to ignore the hysteria until it finished. Could often last 30 mins +

#5 redchick

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:10 AM

Yep, happened with my boys too. I think it was because sometimes they woke straight up from a deep sleep rather than gradually waking up. So they were not really awake properly or asleep properly - if that makes sense!

#6 Crazy4

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:11 AM

Happened to two of mine at about that age. It was often when they were woken mid sleep cycle. Time and sometimes if I could get milk into them, that would help.

#7 panda eyes

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:24 AM

Yep, my 3.5 year old turns into a screaming mess if she's woken from a daytime sleep. I've asked daycare not to let her nap anymore because it makes her a nightmare to put to bed. But sometimes she'll take herself off for a nap at quiet time and they let her sleep as long as she likes as they're scared that she'll scream for half an hour if they wake her.

She wakes up perfectly happy and quietly in the morning though. This only started happening at about 2.5 years, until then she was fine when woken

#8 Coffeegirl

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:31 AM

Yes my DS used to do this.   Scared the crap out of everyone.    Utterly inconsolable, screaming, didn’t recognise us.  Almost like he was still asleep, yet wide awake.      Took 30 minutes or so until he settled down

We spoke to a sleep specialist and it was a form of night terrors.

He grew out of them around 4-5?

#9 *Andi*

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:47 AM

My friend's DD did, when woken up when she wasn't ready. My friend called it sleep inertia. I believe it's not uncommon in people with ASD (if I'm remembering correctly about your DS). I saw it happen with my nephew once when he had fallen asleep in the car, it was like he had a huge meltdown.

#10 Hands Up

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:02 AM

Happens occasionally with my four year old (who still naps). It also happens to him at night.

The triggers for him are being unwell and/or too warm.

#11 Sincerely

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:24 AM

View Postpanda eyes, on 20 April 2019 - 07:24 AM, said:

This only started happening at about 2.5 years, until then she was fine when woken

View PostHands Up, on 20 April 2019 - 08:02 AM, said:

Happens occasionally with my four year old (who still naps). It also happens to him at night.
The triggers for him are being unwell and/or too warm.

My guess is that it starts to happen at an age when kids are sentient enough to have nightmares, but haven't developed the ability to distinguish between a nightmare and reality when they wake up. As with adults, illness or overheating tend to exacerbate nightmares.

If a child doesn't have a fever and isn't obviously sick, I suggest to OP that instead of asking what is wrong, try reassuring that you are there and everything is OK.

#12 IkeaAddict

Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:09 AM

DS wasn't much of a day sleeper but when he did we dreaded the wake ups because of the hysterical behaviour as he was waking up. We always let him wake naturally but it made no difference. Would often take 30 minutes to calm him down

#13 ainira

Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:58 AM

My DD1 did this all the time whenever she woke up in the car. Just when I thought that stage was over, it happened again only about a week ago at age 6.5 :(

To the PP who mentioned that it is common in kids with ASD, do you have a link to information about this?

#14 mandala

Posted 20 April 2019 - 10:13 AM

It's really common. There have been lots of threads about it. DS2 had a nap in the car yesterday and was grumpy when he woke up because he had been feeling all warm and snuggly, but wasn't anymore. I just told him I'd leave the door open and would be sitting in the garden, when we was ready to come out I'd come and get him.

I am also pretty grumpy when I wake up from a nap, but not being 3 years old I restrain my grumpiness to stomping around, with the occasional grumble ;)

#15 Caribou

Posted 20 April 2019 - 11:43 AM

View PostPopper, on 20 April 2019 - 07:02 AM, said:

Yes. DD has only now grown out of it at 4. Her tantrums post nap could not be soothed so we ended up having to ignore the hysteria until it finished. Could often last 30 mins +

That’s my DS. You can’t cudfle him, can’t console him. You’re best off letting it run your course and just do stuff around the hysterics.

#16 No Drama Please

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:31 PM

Mine was the same at same age. I sometimes have sleep paralysis (like I have to really push myself to wake up) so I wondered if it was something like that. She also dropped her day naps a bit after so I don’t know if that was part of if as well. I actually used to give her an ice block when she woke up which I’m sure is breaking all the rules but it seemed to work.

#17 cabbage88

Posted 20 April 2019 - 07:58 PM

My DD did this from 3-5 if she ever woke from a nap during the day. She literally screamed top of her lungs for an hour and nothing you do could stop it. I had to leave her in the back of the house so she didn't wake her baby siblings. Now, 2 YO dd2 does it every nap and every morning.
Lord help me!!

#18 Mae55

Posted 20 April 2019 - 08:04 PM

Mine weren’t as bad as some of these sound but yes, at around that age they’d wake extremely grumpy and only time (and maybe some food/water if I could convince them to eat/drink) helped

#19 iwanttosleepin

Posted 21 April 2019 - 08:24 PM

My DS1 did it for years.  the only thing that worked was chocolate.  but even getting him to eat it was hard work.

#20 Lou-bags

Posted 22 April 2019 - 01:04 AM

When DS1 woke from his naps as a baby he’d go straight on the boob or cry the house down. Once he weaned (just over 2yo) I would put a plate of food and a drink on his table in front of the TV and literally avoid eye contact or speaking and just direct him gently to the table and ABC kids.

The only exception was if he was napping on the move (car or pram) as he’d wake somewhere interesting enough to snap him out of his mood.

He dropped naps about 3.5 or thereabouts I guess and I was so happy. Some mums lament the loss of the nap but for me it was freedom from fighting him to sleep and from the post nap grumps.

Hang in there!!

Edited by Lou-bags, 22 April 2019 - 01:04 AM.


#21 c.sanders

Posted 22 April 2019 - 02:37 AM

Ds2 did this quite a lot when he uses to have naps and even now at 4years of age,  if he has a nap he will wake up angry or crying and inconsolable.

I've suspected for awhile that it's because these naps may give him headaches and he still can't vocalise that yet. Yesterday he did say his eyes hurt.

Before I used to get really upset because I didn't know what was wrong but now I try to snuggle him and massage his head.  I don't know if it helps but it gives me something to do and helps distract him.




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