Why is she having more sleep terrors and sleep-walking during the coronavirus pandmeic?
Sleep terrors and sleep walking (parasomnias) are events that occur more commonly in children, because they occur out of slow-wave sleep (a specific stage of sleep), and children have more slow-wave sleep than adults do. They typically occur within 1-2 hours of sleep onset (falling asleep) and usually occur only once per night. However, sleep fragmentation (interrupted sleep) can result in more episodes. Changes in your child’s daily routine and schedule can lead to fragmented sleep. This is likely why your child is having more parasomnias.
The best thing that parents can do during this unprecedented time to minimize episodes is to maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule (as much as possible) and promote adequate sleep for your child’s age. So, try to have your child go to bed around the same time every night, wake up around the same time every day, and move bedtime earlier. It is also very important that preventative safety measure be taken in the home when children sleep-walk (for instance, keeping the floor clear of clutter, avoiding last-minute furniture rearrangements, ensuring your child cannot get out of the house by using bells or alarms on doors to the outside, gating the kitchen/bathroom/stairwells, and removing guns or other weapons that may be easily accessible). So, focus on having your child get enough sleep and ensure her safety.
This post was written in the Spring of 2020. Please follow your local guidelines and advice from family health care providers for appropriate, current coronavirus safety measures.