daughter sits up talking!

Hi Steve—

I believe your Daddy skills are right on! Your little girl almost certainly is sound asleep during these night-time awakenings, and the good news is that her behavior, though it is strange, is completely normal. In fact, it’s so normal among kids her age that I think you need to get a second opinion, preferably from a doctor who is
a specialist in sleep disorders medicine, on whether she should be taking any medication.

Your daughter most likely is experiencing what are known as confusional arousals during sleep. Confusional arousals occur during deep, non-dreaming sleep, when the brain gets stuck, as it were, between sleeping and waking. The arousal is what causes the “awake-like” behavior—sitting up, perhaps talking incoherantly and acting disturbed or disoriented—but as you have noticed, she is atually doing this while most of her brain is sound asleep. This is what explains the confused speech and disorientation (she is not fully awake) and it explains her absence of memory for the experience. She never truly was awake.

Because your daughter merely sits up in bed, and does not run around or otherwise pose a threat to herself
(please see night terrors), most physicians would decline to “treat” this symptom. As you read more about this common behavior during children’s sleep, you will also be comforted to learn that there is nothing “wrong” with your daughter. In fact, she is due to outgrow these confusional arousals, naturally, in the next year or so. Most kids leave their confusional arousals behind when they reach age 11.

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