Background Incomplete arousal from deep sleep in children causes night
time disruption and can present as confusional arousals, sleep
walking or night terrors. These nocturnal events are common
in childhood but can be extremely concerning to parents and
disruptive to families.
Objective This article provides a framework for the initial assessment of
children’s nocturnal events.
Discussion Occasionally night time disturbances are seizures. A
framework discussing the clinical features of typical benign
childhood events and how to differentiate them from seizure
disorders is presented. Generally, sleep walking and night
terrors are self limiting and children grow out of them.
However, in some cases there are ongoing precipitants that
are important to identify and treat.
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