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Night Terrors

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Don’t panic – there’s no need to fetch the exorcist just yet – night terrors are nothing more sinister than an unusual form of parasomnia, a more well known form of which is sleepwalking. Whilst night terrors affect 17% of children incidence rates in adults is much rarer with only 1 in 20 of that 17% still reporting occurrences in later life. Usually occurring just once a night typically within the first 90-120 minutes of sleep, night terrors can produce a state of extreme panic, typically manifesting in the form of shouts, screams and violent thrashing. Opening of the eyes, talking, sitting up, throwing and hitting are also common attributes, but the thing that makes night terrors particularly bizarre is that it all happens whilst the person remains asleep. Additionally the sufferer will report feelings of tiredness in the day due to the disrupted sleep. In reality these potentially disturbing episodes can actually be more of a problem for the unfortunate soul who has to share a bed with the afflicted person, but help is at hand. Night terrors are normally a reaction to stress or internalised anger hence why talking cures, such as anger management, have proven very successful over time. However, those looking for a quick fix will be glad to know that there is medication available which can kick the condition right out of bed.

Comments and Questions

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I'm 46 and since the age of 5or6 I've had bad dreams the 1st bad 1 I would be getting yeld at by an adult figure and would always end wt me hiding in cardboard box on the sidewalk of of r his,gir so bad I didn't like to sleep.this went on till my late teens,then me ones took over but now they were very violent I can't recall ever sleeping a full 6-8 hrs its as if I don't know how I have to put pillows between my girlfriends so I don't hit or kick them.I kick scream throw punches bolt from the bed.the anxiety from the little sleep the bad dreams has taken its toll over the yrs.At 46 is this gonna ever stop after 40 yrs I'm tired of it,it has affect my life in a bad way sleeping pills don't work in fact makes the dreams worse is there anything I can do thanx?





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It's my 3rd night in a new shared house, and I've just woken myself up screaming out loud sat bolt upright. Really embarrassed as I'm sure my new house mates must have heard, goodness knows what they will think. I used to have night terrors a lot, and typically used to wake up screaming while crawling across the bedroom floor, but this is the first time it has happened in a long time. It used to freak girlfriends out a fair bit too, especially when in new relationships, but I've been single for about a year now so that's not been a problem. If only I knew why it happens, this is the first occurance in over 6 months at least. So embarrassing, no idea what I'll tell my house mates, they'll just think I'm a nutter!! Trying to avoid sleep now for fear it happens again.





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I am 25 years old, nearly 26 and have suffered with night terrors and nightmares for as long as I can remember. recently my daughter of 20 months has started with sitting up screaming (still asleep) and thrashing in her bed usually taking a good few minutes to calm her. I read that if a parent suffers with them, then so does the child, is this true as I have them due to childhood experiences and cant see it being a hereditary thing. also is there anything I can do to prevent these for my daughter, if its upsetting me surely its upsetting her too?





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Hi. I am 24 years old male and have suffered with night terrors for pretty much my whole life. An example, was last night within an hour of sleeping, I woke up and clutched my partners arms and screamed at the top of my voice in her face - four times and each time it increased intensity. All day today my throat is as sore as if I was out nightclubbing all night. My partner is completely used to this kind if thing as I'm always doing it - just a bit annoying when we have a 13 month old baby! I was completely confused as I don't have the slightest clue of what the hell just happened, imagine that... Screaming, scared, panicking and completely confused as to why! After settling my confusion and the baby with help from my partner I went downstairs for a glass of water only to look outside and see police patrolling ... That's right someone actually called the police because of the loudness of my screaming!! It was very embarrassing trying to explain that to the police, a woman with red arms and reports of screaming! I have never been diagnosed with night terrors but of course they understood... What was even more embarrassing was waking up screaming at the in laws! They are full on Portuguese and very religious - mother in law was on the phone to the priest!!! LOL





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I'm 20 years old and have suffered from night terrors for as long as I can remember. They used to only happen every couple of months - I would wake up feeling traumatised and terrified, dripping in sweat, most often with my mum or dad running into my room after hearing my shrieks. In the morning, I'd have little memory of the nightmare or waking up. Recently, they've got much worse! The last 4/5 times, I have woken myself up from my screams and got stuck in between sleep and being awake, trying to escape from my room. Last night I woke up stood up, screaming, dripping in sweat trying to open my window to get away from the 'girl' that was on my bed watching me! I've never felt as terrified in a situation being awake than I do when I have these night terrors. It's also happened whilst sharing a bed with my boyfriend, who is so creeped out when it happens haha. Why do they happen and how can I make them stop!!??





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I'm nearly eighteen years old and having trouble sleeping. I'm having nightmares several times a week and occasional night terrors too.(As in once a month). Two nights ago for example, I woke up around 1 a.m. screaming and trying to fight something away from my face while I jumped out of my bed; my mom and sister couldn't wake me up until after several minutes, and then I was suddenly completely lucid and calm. The night after I had a nightmare about a flood and the night after that I saw this figure standing by my bed, which when I kept looking slowly faded (which was kind pretty scary). All this gets me exhausted during daytime and I'm not sure what I can do about it. I'm not experiencing any particularly high levels of stress and I don't have any PTSD, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, abuse in my life etc. Why is this happening and how can I stop it?





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My night errors happen nearly everynight, and i wake up screaming in the middle of the night because of the nightenigh terror or sometimes in tears, but the thing that gets me more scared,worried is that during the day I see a man who isn't there in a reflection, in a shadow or just at the other side of the room, the other day I saw him and I was in tears infront of everybody I don't no what this is but I want it to stop.





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From my side of things - being the person sleeping next to someone with night terrors - it's absolutely petrifying and exhausting sleeping next to someone with these. I've been living with my other half for about 3 years and I've barely slept a wink. Sometimes on the occasional spell there will be a good sleep pattern for a couple months then it will go crazy again. Shouting, running off the bed, crawling off the bed, severe kicking and thrashing out, screaming, sitting up staring at you. My boyfriend stood up ran across the bed jumped off and ran into a wall. This could be severely dangerous for them or the other person. I can quite honestly say if you have these PLEASE go and see someone about it. My partner won't as he may be embarrassed. I am severely moody and tired all the time I barely sleep at all at night. It's not nice on either persons half but don't be selfish and let you girlfriend or boyfriend be scared to go to sleep or not sleep at all.





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I have had night terrors since I was a young kid and I am currently 19 and still having them. When I have them l do the usual screaming etc. and I am also very frantic about movement. On occasions I have jumped out of bed or even done commando rolls off my bed. It seems funny but the fear that comes with is not worth the laugh. I never fully rember what it was about but I'm always left scarred with the fear and mental image haunting me. Often I'm told I scream about spiders or snakes which I actually love. It got to the stage where I thought maybe they were going away until my girlfriend started staying over. The ones I've had with her have been the worst. I've actually awoke to biting her finger before and I'm scared I might be dangerous to her. I figured it might be because my brain is unfamiliar with another body in my bed or something but it's becoming more frequent with her. Also so I was wondering when I sleep next to her would it be best to face her for my subconscious to understand she's there or away from her so I can't harm her as easy.





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I am 47 and I have a very stressful lifestyle. I started talking in my sleep a lot lately. My husband can't sleep due to how extreme it has become. I am constantly telling him how exhausted I am. So I started doing a little research and found this web site. I started reading and what the symptoms are, is exactly what I do according to my husband. He said he's going to record me cause I didn't believe him. I do have a lot of anger inside and so many things I don't talk about. Maybe it's time to see my doctor.





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