Now, this is one that every parent has to deal with to some degree or another – and for some it’s more of a problem than for others. What to do with a child who is waking up at night with nightmares?
I’ve tried to compile some data that may be of some use to you on this. If any of you reading this have your own solutions you’ve found to work as well, please leave them in the comments section below.
Why Do Kids Have Nightmares?
L. Ron Hubbard gave a lecture in 1957 entitled “Exact Control” in which he gave some excellent summaries and handlings on the subject of nightmares in children. A quote I think summarizes the situation is:
“Children very often wake up screaming with a nightmare, particularly after they’ve had a tiring day and something is wrong with the chow.” – LRH
I’ve seen both of these to be the case. On days when my kids have been traveling all day and didn’t get a nap, or got over-exerted without enough rest time & food, I seem to have problems with nightmares.
On the subject of “…something is wrong with the chow,” I had a few doctors I know to be quite knowledgeable in the field of child health weigh in on the subject. Dr. Mary Jo Palmer, of Commonwealth Family Health Care in Burke, VA said:
“It really has a lot to do with the body not having enough protein. Protein keeps the blood sugar stable. It is when you have a big drop that you do not feel good. Did you ever eat sugar on an empty stomach and then later when your blood sugar drops you feel horrible?
“What if you ate sugar (which includes carbs….they are sugar) and went to sleep? What happens when the blood sugar drops?
“Well, I know that I wake up! And I do not feel good – and this can be a cause of nightmares or just waking up in the night.
“So if you have been out with the kids and they have had the opportunity to get their hands on sugary snacks or lots of carbs, give them a glass of milk ( organic of course) or a piece of cheese or some peanut butter before bed.
“Of course, if there is a lot of upset in the environment, this may be the cause as well.
“How much protein do kids need? They need about .5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day .
“Just take their weight and divide it in half and that is how many grams of protein they need per day.”
That, in and of itself, is an easy handling I’ve seen work to keep my own kids fairly nightmare-free. My son (23 mos) is particularly sensitive to this. If he does not get enough protein in the day, and specifically at dinner, he’ll have a terrible night’s sleep. It almost is the sole regulator of his night’s sleep – the amount of protein he’s taken in, over the 2-3 hours before bed.
Nutrition Handlings for Nightmares
If the above is not enough, the preeminent chiropractor and a nutritionist Dr. Stephen Price of Dr. Price’s Vitamins had offered this detailed analysis:
“Most likely it will be that the child is deficient in the carb to protein ratio during the day. Kids need a lot of protein but it’s hard to break down as much as they need. When hungry, they first go for the carbohydrate snack or meal. Therefore I suggest that they have protein at every meal and that they have a protein supplement called Amino-Plex.
“Also, we want to ensure they are not mineral or vitamin deficient and including the oils Omega 3 and 6. Therefore I would generally suggest they have my multivitamin-mineral and black current seed oil (for Omega 3 and 6).
“Make sure they are also getting proper exercise, minimum of one hour active running, playing, etc., to ensure muscles are physically tired. Then ½ dose of my Sleep Formula before bed ½ dose of my Cal-Mag and 100 mg. of B-1.
“I do offer phone consultations, if a parent would like to speak with me directly, they can call 323-467-5200 and schedule a phone appointment.
The AminoPlex and Black Current Seed Oil can be ordered over the phone from my chiropractic office at 323-467-5200. I offer Dr. Price’s Daily Power Vits, Sleep Vites, Cal-Mag and B-1 on www.DrPricesVitamins.com.”
Assists for Children Having Nightmares
A simple technique one can do for a child having a nightmare is detailed by Mr. Hubbard in his lecture 1957 lecture Exact Control (lecture 15 of the 17th American Advanced Clinical Course). He says:
“Nightmare – demons or devils are just about to chew them in half. Bring a kid out of a nightmare it sometimes only necessary to wrap your arms around him, give him a little havingness thereby. He realizes where he is, he comes out of it and you put him back down again and that’s that. When you do that by the way, stand him on a table and put your arms around him. It gives them the security of something solid under their feet. Just that, just hold them there. You don’t even have to talk to them. And the havingness of you plus them brings them up to present time and that’s that.” – LRH
I’ve found this alone works on 90% of the time that I’ve had one of my kids wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares – including last night with my daughter (what prompted me to finish this article today, incidentally).
Now, there are a number of other handlings and assist techniques that Mr. Hubbard details in that selfsame lecture – so much that I’d definitely recommend listening to the whole lecture yourself. The 17th American ACC lecture series is available for purchase here, or you can just walk into any Church of Scientology and study it for yourself – which I’d heartily recommend as having the context for his observations is key. And as a note, if you’re familiar with the Scientology assist for Nightmares, the reference for that assist in the Assists Processing Handbook is the lecture above.
Hope you’ve found this useful – and again, if you have any other observations on what you’ve applied in handling nightmares, please do leave this in the comments section below!