Most children out-grow night terrors by the time they've become teenagers. Its paired with sleep talking and sleep walking and could run in families.
If you've ever experienced a night terror, you know the difference between a night terror and a nightmare. In a nightmare, the person having the nightmare usually wakes up remembering the details but with a person who is experiencing a night terror, they don't remember in the morning having never woke during the night. They usually occur during the first 1/3 of the sleep process.
During a night terror a person might:
- sit up in bed, get out of bed, sleep-walk
- scream out or shout, sleep-talk
- kick and thrash
- sweating and breathing heavily
- have a racing pulse, trembling, irregular heartbeat
- even though sound asleep have their eyes wide open
- could be violent (adult)
- feel nausea, or dry mouth after awakening.
There are many causes:
- sleep deprivation
- unfamiliar sleeping surroundings
- lights or noise
- drugs, antihistamines, sedatives and sleeping pills
- alcohol, illegal recreational drugs and certain medications
Night terrors can lead to the fear of sleep, hypnophobia, the feeling of panic, dread and terror as sleep time nears.
Night terrors cannot be controlled and for centuries were believed to be the works of the devil.