Night Terrors

Night Terrors are quite different to Nightmares.

Nightmares are classified as:

• Occurring in REM sleep that happens after several hours of sleep.

• They are similar to normal dreams in as much as the dream will follow a storyline.

• Acting out these dreams or getting distressed enough to scream is relatively uncommon.

• On waking the dreamer realizes it was simply a dream and quickly recovers.

Night Terrors on the other hand:

• Appear to happen outside of dreaming sleep, occurring quickly after falling asleep within the first hour or two.

• They are not built around a story but usually consist of one image that will instantly wake up the dreamer, who will wake up terrified.

• Heavy movement followed by screaming occurs often during night terrors.

• It is very difficult to wake somebody from one of these episodes and once awake people will only remember one vivid scene or an overwhelming feeling.

In adults night terrors are thought to be associated with stress. Because your heart rate increases during these episodes if they are occuring on a regular basis they are considered a danger to your health.
There is no specific treatment. Anything that is a muscle relaxant or treats anxiety will help.

For children who report having them they will diminish over time. Children in general recall a lot more dreams than adults, so they are more likely to remember the experience.

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