Nightmare is a sleep disorder corresponding to a natural phenomenon
Both good and bad dreams occur in the second half of the night when sleep is less deep, in what is called the paradoxical (REM) sleep phase. This paradoxical sleep constitutes the major part of the sleep time of young children1, which is why it is common for children aged 2 to 6 to make nightmares from time to time. So don’t worry if your little one makes some from time to time. However, you must remain vigilant because this bad dream is often the way to overcome an anxiety related to a concern, a worry or a change in your child’s life.
Moreover, by its emotional intensity, nightmare can wake up your child and by its anxiogenic memory, it can trigger a phobia of falling asleep: refusal to go back to bed, crying, need of dad/mom… These phenomena can quickly become harmful for his sleep rhythm… and for yours !
It is therefore essential to reassure your child and to create a soothing climate in the evening at bedtime.