Laura Mulligan of Manchester, England, said that her daughter’s screaming night terrors woke their whole family every night for three years.
“My husband and I were on our knees waking up to 20 times every single night,” Mulligan said. “When our second daughter Annie was born last year, we had to move each night between the two children, without any possibility of having sleep ourselves.
“I wished someone would just take them for me when they were sleeping and when I came back it would all be fine,” she said. “It was really, really strenuous and at times I did feel like I was at the end of my tether.”
With the new calming music, however, Mulligan’s daughter is able to get back to sleep on her own.
Three sleepless years
Night terrors differ from nightmares in that they do not occur during the dreaming, or REM, phase of sleep. A person who suffers from night terrors will begin to scream, shout or thrash around in seeming panic, but without waking up, and will have no memory of the event the next morning. Night terrors are particularly common in children between the ages of three and eight.
From a very young age, Mulligan’s daughter Niamh needed white noise to sleep. Eventually this stopped working, however, and then the night terrors began.
“Niamh would scream the house down,” Mulligan said.
The problem became worse when their next daughter, Annie, was born, as Niamh’s screams would wake the baby, whose crying would then wake Niamh. This could occur as often as 20 times per night.
“With two children crying and screaming, trying to get one asleep before the other wakes up, it is hard,” Mulligan said. “There have been moments when all three of us have just sat on the bed sobbing our hearts out.”
“[My husband] James and I were literally only getting one or two hours sleep at night,” Mulligan said. “There was no way just one of us could stay awake with her, it was all of us, she would even wake the baby up.
“I don’t think James and I were managing very well. We needed some outside help to deal with this.
“I was actually scared about driving the car, because I didn’t feel safe as I was so tired.”
Alphamusic calms brain, at night and during day
None of the techniques that Mulligan tried worked, until a friend mentioned the “Alphamusic” of Australian piano composer John Levine. Levine’s music is designed to “heal people through the power of music” by triggering calming brain waves.
“I got the My Little Sea Shell track,” Mulligan said. “The results outdid our expectations. We now put this music on all night on a loop and if she briefly wakes, she goes back to sleep immediately without fuss.”
Not only are Mulligan and her husband well rested again, but the music even seems to reduce conflict between their daughters during the day.
“While they do craft work at the kitchen table, normally they are fighting and pulling – there is a lot of jealousy that goes on,” Mulligan said. “I just put this special brainwave music on and Niamh is a lot calmer whilst they are cutting out and playing with each other.
“I would like to thank John for composing this piece,” she said. “I can’t tell you how much of a difference this has made in our lives. I’ll tell everyone who will listen.”