Recognizing Symptoms: Night Terrors

A sleep disorder called night terrors can have a serious effect on sufferers and those close to them. Comprehending night terrors is essential for offering assistance & support to individuals impacted by this disorder. The definition of night terrors, who is susceptible, how they differ from nightmares, typical symptoms, length, possible risks, and coping mechanisms will all be covered in this article. We will also talk about potential reasons, when to see a doctor, the various treatments that are available, and how important it is to ask for assistance and support.

Key Takeaways

  • Night terrors are episodes of intense fear and screaming during sleep.
  • Children between the ages of 3 and 12 are most at risk for experiencing night terrors.
  • Night terrors differ from nightmares in that they occur during non-REM sleep and the person experiencing them is usually not fully awake.
  • Common symptoms of night terrors include sweating, rapid heart rate, and difficulty breathing.
  • Night terrors typically last for a few minutes, but can last up to 30 minutes.

Another name for night terrors, or sleep terrors, is a kind of parasomnia that happens when you’re in a deep sleep. Abrupt and severe episodes of fear, panic, and distress are what define them. Night terrors usually happen during non-REM sleep and are not remembered by the person experiencing them, in contrast to nightmares, which happen during REM sleep & are frequently vividly remembered. Children ages 3 to 12 are the most common age group to experience night terrors. Though they happen less frequently, they can also affect adults.

A family history of the disorder, stress, sleep deprivation, and certain drugs or substances are additional risk factors for night terrors. Though they both interfere with sleep, nightmares and night terrors are not the same. Dreams during REM sleep that are extremely vivid and frequently terrifying are called nightmares. These may bring on anxiety or fear when recalled in the morning. In contrast, non-REM sleep is when night terrors happen, & the victim is not aware of them. Often accompanied by physical symptoms like fast breathing and elevated heart rate, they are typified by abrupt bursts of extreme terror & panic.

Though the precise cause of night terrors is unknown, it is thought to be connected to the central nervous system being overstimulated while a person is asleep. Stress, lack of sleep, fever, or some medications can all cause this over-arousal. Many physical and psychological symptoms can appear in an individual during a night terror episode.

Recognizing Symptoms: Night Terrors
Age range affected 3-12 years old
Frequency 1-6 times per month
Duration 5-20 minutes
Time of occurrence During the first third of the night
Common symptoms Screaming, sweating, rapid heart rate, confusion, difficulty waking up
Treatment Reassurance, creating a calming bedtime routine, addressing underlying stress or anxiety

They might physically exhibit dilated pupils, sweating, fast breathing, and elevated heart rate. Intense fear, panic, and distress are possible emotional responses from them. Other actions that some people might display include thrashing, screaming, or trying to flee their environment. A night terror may last for several minutes or up to thirty minutes.

They can happen several times during the night and frequently happen in the early hours of sleep. It’s crucial to remember that people who have night terrors are not completely awake during these episodes and might not react to efforts to reassure or comfort them. Although they can be upsetting for the person having them as well as those close to them, night terrors are usually harmless. Most episodes end on their own & don’t need to be treated by a doctor. Night terrors do, however, carry some possible risks and dangers.

People who participate in behaviors like thrashing or trying to flee during an episode run the risk of hurting themselves or other people. To reduce the chance of injury, it’s critical to maintain a safe sleeping environment. There are a number of coping mechanisms you can use to support your child if they have night terrors.

To begin with, make sure your child is getting enough sleep by creating a regular bedtime routine. Another useful tip is to steer clear of stress or overstimulation triggers right before bed. It’s crucial to maintain composure and avoid trying to wake up or comfort your child during an episode because doing so could make it last longer.

Rather, make sure they are safe & bide your time until the incident is over. You can help your child feel safe and supported by offering comfort & assurance following the incident. Medicine and psychology are two possible causes of night terrors. Medical causes could include certain drugs or substances, as well as sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. Stress, anxiety, and trauma are examples of psychological causes.

Also, conditions like fever or lack of sleep can cause night terrors. Medical intervention is typically not necessary in cases of night terrors. But there are some indicators that might point to the necessity for expert assistance.

Consulting a healthcare professional may be beneficial if night terrors are causing significant distress or impairment in day-to-day functioning. Also, additional testing might be necessary if bedwetting or sleepwalking occur in addition to night terrors. Depending on the underlying cause and severity of the problem, there are several forms of treatment for night terrors. Reducing the frequency & intensity of night terrors can be accomplished with behavioral interventions, such as establishing a soothing bedtime routine and putting in place a consistent sleep schedule.

Medication may occasionally be recommended to treat underlying medical conditions or assist in managing symptoms. It’s crucial to speak with a medical expert to figure out the best course of action for your particular circumstance. Although night terrors can have a severe effect on sufferers & those close to them, they can be effectively managed with knowledge & assistance.

People suffering from this sleep disorder can find relief by identifying the symptoms, knowing the difference between nightmares & night terrors, and putting strategies into place to encourage restful sleep. Seeking medical assistance when required and investigating treatment options can also offer extra assistance. To help you manage your condition, there are resources available, so keep in mind that you are not the only one experiencing night terrors.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep and potentially reduce the occurrence of night terrors, you might find this article on “How to Get a Better Sleep” from helpful. It offers valuable tips and techniques to create a more conducive sleep environment and establish healthy bedtime routines. By implementing these strategies, you can potentially alleviate the symptoms of night terrors and enjoy a more restful night’s sleep. Check out the article here for more information.


What are night terrors?

Night terrors are a type of sleep disorder that causes a person to experience intense fear or terror during sleep. They are different from nightmares and occur during non-REM sleep.

What are the symptoms of night terrors?

The symptoms of night terrors include sudden awakening from sleep with a feeling of intense fear or terror, sweating, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, and difficulty in calming down.

Who is at risk of experiencing night terrors?

Night terrors are most common in children aged between 3 and 12 years. However, they can also occur in adults, especially those who have a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders.

What causes night terrors?

The exact cause of night terrors is not known. However, they are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

How are night terrors diagnosed?

Night terrors are diagnosed based on the symptoms reported by the patient and their medical history. A sleep study may also be conducted to rule out other sleep disorders.

What is the treatment for night terrors?

In most cases, night terrors do not require treatment. However, if they are causing significant distress or affecting the quality of life, medications such as benzodiazepines or antidepressants may be prescribed. Behavioral therapy may also be recommended.

Avatar photo
We are inspired by finding solutions to Sleep related issues. It is our goal to provide practical and useful information to help everyone get a better sleep. We provide tips, techniques and product suggestions that we hope will provide everyone with a refreshing and fulfilling rest, and get a better sleep every day... Truvva - Sleep Better!