Night terrors are a type of sleep disorder that can cause people to wake up in a state of terror. It is most common in children between the ages of 3 and 12, but it can also occur in adults. Night terrors are different from nightmares, which happen during the later stages of sleep and are easier to remember.
During a night of terror, a person may scream, thrash around in bed, or have a racing heart. They may also sweat, breathe heavily, and have trouble sleeping afterward. Night terrors usually last for a few minutes, but they can sometimes go on for longer.
Night terrors can be caused by stress, anxiety, or sleeping disorders. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for night terrors, but there are some things that can help lessen their frequency and severity. If you experience night terrors, talk to your doctor about what might be causing them and what treatments might be right for you.
Symptoms of Night Terrors
Most people who experience night terrors do so infrequently. However, some people may have them frequently, and they can be disruptive to sleep.
Night terrors typically occur during the first few hours of sleep. They are most common in children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old, but they can also occur in adults.
During a night of terror, a person may:
– Scream or shout
– Lash out at others
– Sweat profusely
– Have a rapid heart rate
– Breathe rapidly
– Experience fear or anxiety
– Have difficulty waking up from sleep
After a night of terror, a person may not remember what happened. Night terrors are different from nightmares, which usually occur later in sleep and are easier to recall.
Causes of Night Terrors
The exact cause of night terrors is not known. However, they are thought to be caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors.
Physical factors that may contribute to night terrors include:
* Sleep deprivation
* Sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea)
* Medications (such as sedatives or antidepressants)
Psychological factors that may contribute to night terrors include:
* Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
* Personality disorders (such as borderline personality disorder)
Night terrors can also run in families, which suggests that there may be a genetic component.
The Treatment Options for Night Terrors
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for night terrors. However, some things can help lessen their frequency and severity.
If you experience night terrors, talk to your doctor about what might be causing them and what treatments might be right for you. Some possible treatments include:
* Identifying and treating any underlying sleep disorders or medical conditions
* Practising good sleep hygiene (such as avoiding caffeine before bed and getting regular exercise)
* Reducing stress and anxiety with relaxation techniques (such as yoga or meditation)
* Taking medication (such as sedatives or antidepressants)
With treatment, night terrors can usually be controlled. However, they may still occur occasionally, particularly during times of stress.
Complications of Night Terrors
Night terrors are a type of sleep disorder that can cause extreme fear and agitation. Episodes can last for a few seconds to several minutes. People who experience night terrors may scream, thrash about, or have a racing heart. Night terrors are most common in children between the ages of 3 and 8, but they can also occur in adults.
There are some potential complications associated with night terrors, including:
• Sleep Deprivation: People who experience recurrent episodes of night terrors may suffer from sleep deprivation due to their difficulty sleeping through the night. This can lead to daytime fatigue and impaired concentration.
• Accidents: Night terrors can sometimes result in accidental injuries if a person thrashes about or tries to flee during an episode.
• Anxiety and Stress: Living with the fear of night terrors can be extremely stressful and may lead to anxiety or other mental health problems.
If you or your child experiences night terrors, it is important to talk to a doctor or sleep specialist to rule out any underlying medical conditions and to develop a treatment plan. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, and psychological counseling. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed to help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.