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Sleep Terrors

Posted by @aeta in Sleep Health, Mar 1, 2015

Hello there!
I'm 18 years old and I am having an issue which I assume is "Sleep Terror" but it doesn't really fit well. One year ago (Exactly), I stood out of bed while running and shouting very loudly, completely unaware of what's happening and when I got back to my senses, everyone in the house was scared and confused but not as bad I was. I literally didn't know what happened or what I was dreaming before that "episode" started, but I just didn't care about it and moved on. A couple of days ago, and after a full year, the same thing occurred again with me being confused after being woken up. I searched the internet about it, and it fits with Sleep Terror mostly, but NONE of the causes are actually true for me. I don't have depression, anxiety and my sleeping is pretty okay (6-8 hours) so I am wondering what it could be and should I be worried about it.



Posted by @sandytoes14, Thu, Feb 16 at 11:19am CDT

@aeta, I see that it has been a long while since you posted about Sleep Terror. I have had Sleep Terrors since I was in my early teen years. When I sleep I will often scream, jump up or out of bed, and push away anyone who tries to touch me. I wonder if you have continued to have these episodes.


Posted by @hopeful33250, Thu, Feb 16 at 11:28am CDT

@sandytoes14 and @aeta I just noticed your posts about "sleep terrors" and I was wondering how this is different from nightmares. Would like to hear what you have to say about how they are different. Teresa


Posted by @sandytoes14, Thu, Feb 16 at 11:38am CDT

Hi Teresa, Night terrors are different than nightmares. They are often called "Sleep terrors". These terrors involve screaming, thrashing about and intense fear. A person may appear to be fully awake and aware of their surroundings and actions, much like one who is sleepwalking. They happen in children and adults alike. Usually, I have no memory of what happens or what I'm afraid of during the terror. I have awoken with a sore throat from screaming so loudly. All this leads to non-restorative sleep. By working with mental health professionals for many years the root of my terrors was found to be childhood molestation.
I now take Trazodone at bedtime. It helps 'shut down' the brain so I can sleep.
Depression and anxiety are looked at as a reason for these terrors.
This article explains Sleep Terrors very well.



Posted by @IndianaScott, Thu, Feb 16 at 1:38pm CDT

Hi @hopeful33250 I noticed your question on nightmares vs. night terrors. YEP! In my experience they are two very different things.

Nightmares are what I call simply bad or scary dreams. Night terrors are something far more gut wrenching for me. I, too, am plagued by night terrors and they are nightmares times some unfortunate factor!

For me they involve being paralyzed, unable to move even a single muscle, eyelid, finger, etc. while a terrible, grotesque apparition straddles my chest screaming that if I do not move it will kill me. usually dripping blood, etc. down on me. They are seemingly unending, but when I do finally will myself to move, I wake bathed in sweat, heart pounding, often screaming, and with uncontrollable shakes. I have to get up and get myself into a totally different environment or they return when I lay back down. Usually I go for a walk, make a meal, or call some unfortunate friend at whatever hour it happens to be! I first experienced them in college and they continue to this day.

They stink!



Posted by @hopeful33250, Thu, Feb 16 at 11:42am CDT

@sandytoes14 Thanks, Jen. This is interesting, so it appears that nightmares are more passive and night terrors are very active. Both probably result in non-restorative sleep. Teresa


Posted by @hopeful33250, Thu, Feb 16 at 12:22pm CDT

@sandytoes14 As one who has been diagnosed with a Parkinson's disorder, I've had a problem with what is called by neurologists as "vivid dreams" Vivid dreams often times involve the flailing and activity associated with night terrors. Sometimes the bed partners of Parkinson's patients have been hit in the face, etc. For more information check out: Parkinson's and Sleep Problems

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