Sleep Terrors

What are sleep terrors?

Sleep terrors, or night terrors, are a parasomnia condition in which the subject reacts to a foreboding sense of fear or terror by screaming, thrashing around or crying. They may also get out of bed and walk or run around, and adults are at a risk of performing violent acts during this time. The subject is still in a sleep like state during this outburst and cannot be awoken without some difficulty.

The episode can last as long as 20 minutes, after which the subject will either go directly back to REM or deep sleep without ever leaving their sleeping state, or may wake up to extreme confusion. People waking up from a sleep terror may experience amnesia for a short duration following the episode, in which they cannot recall their name, location, or any other distinguishing features of themselves. This usually passes within a couple of minutes.

Sleep Terrors Are Not The Same As Nightmares

Sleep terrors (night terrors) are often associated with, or definitively considered a nightmare, though they are in fact quite different. Nightmares occur in the REM stage of sleep, and are traditional dreams from which the person experiencing them may recall imagery, sound and/or feelings. Typical nightmares include being chased by someone or something, falling for an inordinate amount of time, or things that the person finds particularly disturbing or frightful that are often rooted in their sub conscious.

Sleep terrors / night terrors, on the other hand occur before the dream state of REM sleep, in the phase just before deep sleep called the slow-wave sleep phase. The person is not incited to the outburst through any form of imagery or sound that a nightmare would include, but simply a deep sense of terror and fear that they cannot shake.

Sleep Terrors Common In Children, Not In Adults

Sleep terrors are most common in children, especially very young children under the age of 7. Children with sleep terrors are also likely to talk in their sleep and sleepwalk, or develop these parasomnias later after they stop having sleep terrors. As many as 15% of children experience sleep terrors. Adults can also develop sleep terrors, though this is uncommon and is usually brought upon by a deeply traumatic or emotional event, or is developed in adults with a long history of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorders. Adults with sleep terrors should consult a psychiatrist, who should be able to help them deal with the issues that are plaguing them and causing the terrors. As few as 2% of adults experience sleep terrors. There is no link between sleep terrors in children and emotional disorders, or disorders that will be developed later in life.

What Are Common Causes Of Sleep Terrors?

What are the causes of sleep terrors?

Sleep terrors, like many other parasomnias are deeply linked to genetics, and those with a family history of sleep terrors are more likely to have them as well. Sleep terrors share the same root causes as sleepwalking, as these can include head injuries, hyperthyroidism, encephalitis, stress, other sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, fevers and medications.

Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Terrors

Sleep terrors are easily detectable in most cases, as the person experience them will often let out loud screams or wails that will likely wake up most people in the household. It can be a scary and traumatic experience for parents or loved ones to see their children or partners in such distress, as the look of fear and terror is often easily visible on the person’s face. It should be remembered that sleep terrors are not dangerous, and many times the victim will not fully recall the experience, but go through feelings of disorientation and embarrassment more than anything else.

Don't wake people from Sleep Terrors

It is important not to try and wake the victim from their state, but to remain by them until it passes. This gives them comfort when they snap out of it, and assures you that they are not getting up and moving about while still in the state, potentially harming themselves or others in the process.

Do They Require Any Treatment?

Sleep terrors do not often require any treatment or tests, and in most children they pass before their teen years. If the problem persists, or in the case of sleep terrors in adults, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or consult a sleep specialist. An overnight sleep study, called a polysomnogram will be advised, which will help determine any other sleep related factors that may be contributing to the sleep terrors, and how they can be limited. The polysomnogram monitors brain wave activity, and can chart the areas of the brain that are being actively used prior to an episode.

The majority of parasomnias , including night terrors, occur in the stage before deep sleep, and taking measures to achieve deep sleep faster, and remain in it once there can limit the number of parasomnia occurrences. Having proper sleeping conditions, limiting any caffeine intake or the intake of any other stimulants, and having routine bed times can all lead to quicker and better quality deep sleep.

 

Reviewed January, 2017

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62 thoughts on “Sleep Terrors

  1. My family member just an episode this morning, I was so confused. I was in the next room and then I just hear this screaming for a few seconds. I assume it’s outside and think nothing of it. A few minutes later maybe an hour I hear another scream, but then shortly after that I hear him screaming “you fucking idiot”
    (Oh and everyday he wakes up super early but that didn’t happen today)
    I try to go back to sleep but then my mom wakes up and I tell her what happened. She goes into his room asking what’s wrong with him then he just yells back “I hate you!” Next thing I know he’s in the kitchen walking frantically breathing hard. My mom asks again “what is wrong with you!?!” Then he pushes over a chair all angry then starts crying and screams “this is all your fault” then he just sits at the computer and stares the blank scream for like 15 minutes.
    My mom and I are looking at each other thinking wtf just happened. Right now he’s still on the computer. So I assume this is sleep terror (I think that’s what it’s called) just by reading this, but the only thing is that he’s 13. Could this actually be sleep terror or possibly something else? (This is the first time this has happened, I think)

    1. I’ve been suffering from night terrors since I was a child. I am now 27 years old and I still experience mild to severe sleep terrors every other night.

      I struggle with anxiety and depression which I think causes the abnormal sleep patterns. However, when I consume alcohol, I sleep better and don’t have them. I’m going to try cutting out caffeine from my diet and see if that helps any.

      1. its because they are related to the gaba system in the brain that much i know and im not a doctor but mine began after i went on klonopin and now they WILL NOT STOP, its making me feel like im going insane, right now its 5 30 am after a horrible 1 and i just wanna die

        1. Oh, it is the most horrifying hell you can imagine times 10000!! Im a 50 yo adult female. I have been getting these for some time now and they are getting earlier in the morning. I just want to die they are so horrific. I want to throw up. My body is tense and I am trembling. I cant take it. I think I damaged my brain with ativan and maybe Remeron and Wellbutrin? Also hyperthyroid from a little too much medication. This is killinh me….

          1. This sounds more like hallucinations or nightmares… I experience nigjt terrors and never remember them.. just my roommate or parents telling me what happened next morning… I only sometimes remember when I wake up after its done all confused and disorientated… are you sure you’re having night terrors?

          2. I too suffer from these episodes regularly. I never remember them, only what people tell me. Although a couple of times I have woke up crouched behind furniture or on my stomach on the floor. The only thing I can ever remember is this horrible all powerful sense of overwhelming terror. I mean words cannot describe the level of terror. It is a type and severity of fear that I didn’t even feel in combat. And I was for damn sure scared then. I often wake up in the morning with severe bruises, cuts and tears on my hands, knees elbows and feet. And have been told that I scream dive out of bed, hide behind something, and frantically reach around my thigh (looking for my sidearm, maybe? Dreaming?) Either way all firearms in the house are kept in a safe in my brother’s room for safety sake. I am told that I seem to be completely unaware of anyone around me, so what I am seeing I don’t know. But I am sick of injuring myself in my sleep, and/or waking up in the middle of the night with a fear so intense I cannot fathom how I don’t just simply drop dead of a heart attack.

      2. I have the same exact thing happens to me. Also, I can’t move or make noise when theses terror are happening. I’m a 23 and always had them. Getting worse every day

        1. I just wanna say to hang in there you all. I can so relate as I’ve had night terrors for about 5-6 years and it just recently came back after having them in my teens and through my 20s. I’m 46 years old. It’s awful. I can’t even sleep with my husband because of them. I wake up exhausted because instead of resting and my body healing for the next day, I am fighting something and someone and some situation. I have to believe that there is a cure. I have yet to seek out professional help. As I get older, it becomes more difficult to manage my day at work with such lack of sleep. Meaning, while I sleep, I’m not really at rest. My heart rate is so high when I sleep, I’m angry in my sleep over what is happening to me, frightened, fear of dying and often die over and over each night in my sleep in so many different ways: drowning, being stabbed, being chased and caught, falling off something super high because I’m trying to escape, etc. I can go on and on. I will report back – I plan on making time for some professional help some time soon.

          1. Melisa I’ve had night terrors too so I know how you feel. Today I woke up at 3:00 a.m and went downstairs and fell asleep. I woke up and somehow fell asleep with my right eye closed and had a night terror attack. It’s been so long since I’ve had one and basically I can’t move or talk. But I can see, hear, and breathe. When I wake up my body is tingling. It’s scary and frightening but usually I don’t see anything moving and I can’t recall sleep walking either. I’m a victim of this and I need it to STOP! I have prayed and it actually worked caused I haven’t had one of these since about two years ago.

        2. Hi Zack, I think what you might be experiencing is sleep paralysis. The same thing happens to me a lot. Feeling like you cant move or make noise. I had one last night and got up yelling once I could move 🙁 Sleep paralysis technically says you’re sleeping when it happens but I know i’m not asleep when I have mine. I’m 18 btw hope this helps.

          1. I am 54 years old and have suffered from severe night terrors since I was 7 years of age!
            I have some great news for all who suffer from this sleep disorder…I mistakenly stumbled across a miracle solution!!! I can say that I am NIGHT TERROR FREE for the last 6 months and getting the best sleep of my life!! If your reading this please reach out to me and I would love to share my cure with you!!
            rondagesse at gmail dot com

        3. That’s not sleep terror, what you’re experiencing is called sleep paralysis… a state before you wake up when your body won’t move no matter what and you see horrible things.. during those times try to think of loved ones or move your finger or tip of it.. it usually helps… sleep paralysis is more frightening than sleep terror because you realise what’s going on and remember it… you have no memory of sleep terrors

    2. I just dislocated my shoulder during a night terror. It is related to sleep apnea, I think, as I feel as though i am suffocating a moment before I involuntarily jerk or jump out of bed.

  2. In response to Ariel on October 4th. I went through a similar experience as your brother when I was a teen. I had no recollection as to what happened the night before. It was totally out of character for me to use profanity, in which during the night terrors, I did swear. The terrors were caused by stress as something horrible had happened to me and was happening to me daily that I had night shared with anyone. Once my mother found out the things that were happening to me and confronted the people, the terrors resolved. However, I cried in my sleep for quite sometime.

  3. I have been struggling with this condition since childhood and I am now 70 years old and I think it’s getting worse. I guess I need to see a doctor and go from there. It’s to the point I don’t want to spend the night anywhere else so I don’t scare people.

    1. Ive been going through this for about ten years now and dont remember anything im told by family and friends that I scream in my sleep. me also dont want to sleep elsewhere cause I dont no if it will happen

    2. I sure hope I don’t have this till I’m 70. I can’t even imagine. and I can totally relate to the fact that it’s embarrassing. We have our a kid or two stay with us when they visit us and my husband and I have to sleep in different rooms. Explaining that to them was embarrassing enough but then for them to hear me at night yelling and begging for help is super embarrassing. Not to mention, I worry some day I will have a heart attack given the stress I am under and the heart rate in which I wake up at. It’s like I’m totally awake and living the most terrifying moment in my life every night. I pray at night hoping that will help and sometimes it seems to make it worse. I will pray for both of us.

      1. My husband suffers night terrors regularly but more often when he eats later or had wine before bed. I don’t sleep well anymore. I am worried both our heath is getting worse because of it.

  4. I am 30 years old i awaken from these episodes and in some cases i remember everything and stay awake a paranoid for hours after, in other cases i have to be told about screaming or thrashing the next morning. To say these are not dangerous is bullshit. If i awaken scared half to death and someone is close to me i can seriously hurt them out of fear for my safety. Not meaning to or wanting to.Even after being awake for some time im still in a panicked state if someone not knowing what just happened to me was to be playing around and try to prank me like jumping out and spooking me. I can promise id hurt them without a second thought.

    1. I too. Have night terror. Every night I’m always yelling , screaming, cursing, which I seldom do. There is actually physical abuse. I have punched walls before and have kicked and punched my husband. I’m 51 years of age. Mine started about 10 years ago and are continuing to get worse. My husband says it always starts with me twitching . Then it’s full blown and he will normally lay as far away from me as possible

      1. I can so relate Teresa. At least your husband still sleeps with you. I miss the day that my husband and I use to sleep together. I have had this since I was a teenage and into my mid 30s. It stopped and was so infrequent then came back full blown and has progressively gotten worse since I was about 37 years old. I’m 46 years old now and me and my husband have to sleep in separate rooms because it’s so unfair to him.
        I wake to breathing hard, out of breath, my sheets and pillows are all over the room from me fighting for my life in my dream and wonder if I will just die one day in one of those vivid dreams. I wake so exhausted and go to work so tired and try and compete with others in the work place who have had a peaceful night’s sleep. I’m at the point where I’m just now googling info and others who have this same situation and when I talk to a few people at work about it, I get the look like they think I’m crazy. I want to make time to get help sometime soon but my life is so busy at the same time. I don’t have time for this crap. It’s so crazy, unfair and frustrating.

        1. I’m going thru horrible night mares wake up walk around heart beating o of my chest scared ,shaking and scared to go back fall back to sleep eventually and end up back in same nightmare by morning I’m exhausted from running or being tormented in my nightmares.i don’t have any untill recently they kind of make think I’m crazy but I’m scared,friends and husband think I’m losing my mind

        2. I am actually afraid to go to sleep mine are so bad. I see and remember everything VIVIDLY, sometimes I have to fact check myself to reassure myself it was NOT real. I have adapted over many years and now often realize it when it happens and try to yell to wake myself up, if that doesn’t work, I yell for my husband to wake me up. I stay awake 2-3 days in a row to avoid sleep and when I do sleep, I wish I was awake. Being awake is so much less exhausting. People that have never experienced this just do not understand. I am physically and mentally beat after these and they happen every time I sleep. I have a sleep study scheduled but after much research, I am not holding out much hope for a care…..

  5. I am 46 years old I start seeing things when I was just 4 years old, it seemed like I was awake but knew I wasn’t, it was lie I was constantly being attacked, , it was the same face every tine,, I didn’t sleep for days ,, I swear something pushed me off my slide in the back yard,,I was rushed to the hospital I remember them all,, I saw things awake and asleep, ,, it never went away, I was tested taken to lots of places as I grew okder,,but the people around me were getting affected,, my mom my friends, ,, no one believes what I see till they are around me,, I thought there was something after me,, it attacked when I’m sleeping, , and doesn’t hurt me til I want to get away, ,, the tests say I’m not bipolar, , and not mentally ill, I’m just very smart and know to much grew up to fast, , when I was supposed to die in 1997,, they said my mind kept me alive they killed my body, , I never saw anything strange while I was ubder,, I was part of an experiment at 27,, I was dying from ulcerative colitis, ,I said no blood even though the ones before who chose this died, ,I kept living every surgey,, god said no blood, ,, in the bible, , anyway I never stopped having the terrors, , it got worse as I got older,,, but still not bi polar or anything, , but my family started getting bothered by the screaming and cussing and my husband would have to leave the bed, I bloody his lip and nose,, he wouldn’t wake me I became violent til I knew who he was,, I went to college I was normal til home or trying to sleep, ,I became so scared I refused to go back to sleep I swear it was real,,same faces always till today, ,,,, anyway nothing worked sleeping pills the doctor gave made it worse, ,then I was trapped in the horrible place I went when I was asleep, , finally my doctor who was my friend by this time, , said I wasn’t crazy I was smart and just needed to shut my brain off to sleep, ,they gave me seraquel, , started at 400 mg,, I was in a coma, , but I thought I was sleeping peaceful and my family was still experiencing my screaming fighting things they didn’t see yelling at something, , my husband still had to leave the room,,, but I was fine wgen I woke up but I felt physically exhausted, , then they would tell me what I did, ,but I slept fine,,,I thought cool it went away, , so when I went back home to take care of my dying father and grandmother I had friends who stayed to help, , I told them what happened and not to be afraid, ,they didn’t believe me till they were there for a while, , then I only needed 100 mg which I still take,,or it still happens, , but the strange thing is that my friend’s and there kids who stayed for any length of time experienced
    The same thing and becamenities afraid of my home,, and one friend told her boyfriend he didn’t believe her and he saw this and was talked to an did get angry and things would happen that they saw behind me or a shelf would get slammed off the wall,,nobody wanted to go out to the pool to shut the pump off. So I had to it seemed as if the people around me were more affected than me,, so now what,, well I talked to my doctor and asked the question can crazy be caused by something else besides my brain,, how do u know what is attacking you and what is mental, , he said he wasn’t able to give me that answer, , looking back when I was 4 years old it didn’t change and I was afraid to wake my father to,, he tried to strangal my mother she still talks about the things that have happened around my father and I, , my friends thought it was my dad after he died, , , I just know people around me are more affected than me and now my friends believe that something is following me and it started with my father,, things didn’t happen Just in my sleep anymore it was in the daytime too,, it really got its worst in 2012 right before my grandmother past away, , my best friend moved in to help, and stayed in the room next to her,,her and her boyfriend said she was having conversations with some one,, I thought she’s dying and probably not all there,,but it’s crazy my boyfriend was abusive and wasn’t leaving, ,when I would get upset or mad shelves would get hit off the wall,, it kept getting worse, , and if my friends and family wernt there I would think I was crazy, , well it was something and I know it was with me since I was little but it wasn’t nice it scared me but it seemed what scared me now was upset when I was not that it was something good, ,, but my boyfriend was hurting me and cheating, , and I was leaving and packing up the house I was I. With my father for 30 years,,she died and I was leaving ,, I guess it or they weren’t happy, ,, now mind you I always sleep with the TV on , it keeps me from thinkING or hearing or what ever,, I was never in the dark, so I’m gone my things are packed and and grandma was dying, the gone, , I kinda think it’s funny, ,boyfriend was left alone there maybe for the first time,, it was 6am,,I get a phone call ,,, I was at the hospital, ,, so he calls scared to death refused to go back in the house till I got home,,he was so scared he called his best friend too,, scared to death, ,, so I guess he went into the house where he lived to and it went after him,, he said something was screaming at him and they were slamming the doors threatening him and trapped him in the house, ,we had a security door, , he had to kick it till it opened, ,he went to is truck refused to go back in till I got there, , his friend thought he was crazy, , k, so I got back from where I was to take care of my grandmother funeral and the doors were broken off the hinges hanging there,, the security door was bent and door jam was destroyed, , I knew he was telling the truth, ,,but now all the time he thought I was crazy just came to betrue,,my friends tried to tell him,,,he wasn’t home enough, , to see,, although he would get upset when I was sleeping cause of the thrashing and yelling and anger,, anyway, , when I got home ,my response was now you know why I sleep with the TV and lights on, , you can’t here it the same, , he just looked at me still scared, , and I think he became afraid of me, , after dealing with this my whole life, being called crazy all the tests, , I don’t think my night terrors are or were caused by any thing in my head,, but it depends on who I’m around, everyone acts different about my sleeping, and the fight I fight when I’m not awake,, I don’t know why I’m even saying this to anyone, , I just was rea single how it affects everyone different, and maybe wanted to share that it might make you feel like your crazy and the people around act like your weird, , but your probably not,, there are many ways to treat these symptoms real or not,,,I’ve found that if I take my seraquel I don’t remember and feel like I’m sleeping good,, but I am told I still do the same things when I sleep I just don’t remember, ,, everyone who reads this will probably gave different views of what I said, , but maybe it will help someone who is suffering the same way, it’s a horrible thing to be afraid to sleep, ,

  6. I’ve been dealing with this for years now cuz there’s been tamatic things that have happened to me in my life I am now 19 an I only get them when I’m very stressed out but at least I have my boyfriend there for me to hold onto after I have one

  7. I had Night Terrors as a child I had the strangest dreams and I can remember them. I can even describe what was happening in my dream. I have a really strong long term memory, I can remember things other family members don’t. One dream I had I was getting beat up by an invisible man and woke up feeling like I got hit, another one I had my stomach was expanding then blew up and I had extreme stomach pain. Night Terrors are fairly dangerous, the are dangerous because, your brain makes you body think it’s real. Sleepwalking is dangerous because, you can hurt someone or yourself and not realize it. I have been through it all and remember it all, night terrors are dangerous it can kill you, depending on the severity where as sleepwalking your more likely to badly injure someone else but, I mean if you don’t try to wake a sleepwalker it will be fine.

    1. Stephen you’re just like me. I can remember a lot of things and I can recall 3 of them. My first one was when I was 7. I woke up to my mom glowing and carrying a glowing bathtub?! Okay but my 2nd one was when I was back but I probably had more than this but I forgot them, anyways I woke up to pitch black BUT I knew I was in another one of these… I could feel something walk by me and I was trying to move… I knew something was there and I was 12 at that time but I finally was normal again but I knew by then that this was true: no one was up other than me, so who walked past me? Mystery unsolved… okay now here’s the 3rd one… this one happened today at around 3:30 a.m. So basically I woke up at 2:50 something in the morning to thunder and I went downstairs and fell asleep on my couch… and I woke up from a nightmare and fell back asleep with one eye open??? Well thank goodnesss for this, my night terror thing was someone in a denim jacket buttoned up, with a knife… wearing a tragedy mask… I was like no thanks in my head and tried to move… I felt my body tingling while in the attack but I knew by then that it was back… I haven’t had one since 2 years ago… so I’m scared and stuff and I stayed up since 2:52 a.m. And I’m tired so badly

  8. I am so glad to have come across this site and all of these comments. it gives me a little sense of peace knowing I’m not alone in this. I am a 22 year old female who has been struggling with sleep talking and sleep walking for about 5 years now. for the past 2 years I have been dealing with thinking I am waking up to things in my room or in my face. things like dark shadows or skulls floating over my face. Normally I would just wake to heavy breathing and a very fast heart beat due to the extreme fear but after a few minutes it goes away. in the worst case I would maybe lie awake for a few hours before being able to regulate my heart beat and then fall asleep. little by little the night terrors became more frequent and at one point about 3 weeks ago I went 5 nights without sleeping due to waking up each night to things in my room or floating in front on my face. I became anxious and frustrated being unable to sleep although I was so exhausted. but out of all of my experiences last night was my worst. I had the worst reaction to a night terror. I woke up to screaming franticly like if somebody was trying to kill me. I couldn’t stop screaming until I woke myself up to my screams. I live with 2 roommates who rushed to my bedroom door and banged on it until I was able to go to my door and open it. it took me about 3 minutes before I was fully conscious and awake and was able to stop hysterically crying. I couldn’t stop shaking or crying for hours. It took me about 3 hours before I was even able to lay in my bed. The fear I felt was indescribable. It is now the next day and I still cant stop hearing my own screams. I now fear that I can be a danger to my self and possibly even others when I am in this state. Please if anybody knows of any remedies or what to do, respond and let me know. I can use any advice I can get. Sincerely a fellow sufferer of night terrors.

    1. Oh my gosh this sounds identical to my story in my 20’s especially the dark floating faces, it terrified me! I’m 53 now reading up on night terrors because I thought everyone was plagued with this. I was so desperate in my 20’s I simply prayed to god to make what ever was with me would go away! Those awefull things did. But my bad dreams are alive and here. I was doing really good when I started turning off all the electronics and reading 30 mins before bed, but then hubby started up the tv againWe agreed tonight to turn it off again to see if it will help again. Good luck, try the no electronics thing❤️

    2. Hi there. I’ve been dealing with night terrors for about a year now and noticed your situation is similar to my own. I’m almost 21, still in school, living with a roommate. I’ve had dreams of a man standing over my bed, running away from whatever was chasing me and my family, and reoccurring dreams that there was a rope with a claw attached to the end of it hanging over my head. I would wake up with my heart beating so fast, breathing hard, crying. Some days I wake up and all my couch pillows were on the kitchen table which is unusual behavior for me. I’ve never sleep walked before now. My mom did pass away January of 2015 and I’m not the same person. I try to keep a normal life but the night terrors have not allowed me to get a goodnights rest in so long. Wishing there was something to help. I find solace knowing I’m not the only one my age with this problem.

  9. In late teens into about40, I had night terrors. Woke the house up with screaming hysterically. I am now 60. Two things happened around when they began. Trauma in home my dad threatened my mom with a knife which I had to break up. I feel down a flight of steps, caused by a slip and fall. Heard my cousin screaming hysterically and I believe he was sexually violated by my brother. That’s three. Also just a general sense of violence in the home. I remember two of the last times. Being at a cousins house after a violent earthquake and when my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness. They stopped when he died.

  10. I had night terrors when i was about eight but now I’m 20 and I started having them again. My night terrors are moderate to extreme. Some nights its just thrashing and yelling, if I’m sleeping next to someone I start to hit them a lot during the episode but lately its elevated to walking around throwing things at the creatures attacking me while yelling. Should I talk to a shrink or sleep specialist or I’m I still in the late kid stage so its normal?

  11. After an episode the other night I started to do some research. I am 64 years old and always thought they were nightmares. I would get them a few times a year and they would be from my believing that I was being attacked or threatened, sometimes someone trying to drag me away. Very real, not the usual crazy dream with things out of place. It is somewhat comforting that it most likely is not serious. Reading others stories is helpful. Less stress is always better. Keep trying all.

    1. I just had the same dream terror last night and it’s something I don’t recall ever having before. Now in my 60’s It was very real and I was being held down against my will and I tried desperately to scream or holler out and couldn’t for some time until I did scream out …and woke up embarrassed by the lady in the next room.

  12. I have had night terrors or what I thought were nightmares, for as long as I can remember since school age at least and still experience them maybe a few times a month. I gather they differ from nightmares as they are not associated with dreaming according to the article above but mine often are though not always. They are certainly linked with a strong sense of fear but so stoked of deep sadness too. I eventually wake myself up or a women up by my partner gently after much loud shouting or deep sobbing ,crying out in panic and maybe ta!king too. I often can not stop crying after waking or being woken but am so relieved to nolonger be shouting. Whatever fear I have perceived still feels very real for sometime and I take quite a lot of reassuring that there is no threat of that my dream of fear is over. They are exhausting and leave me feeling disturbed for quite a few hours sometimes or prey on my mind. I have experienced depression in my life and traumatic situations to self and loved ones and have experienced extreme stress and extremely stressful situations. I tend to get them when overtired, or over heated so naturally worse since the menopause, and have great difficulty sleeping. Always have had difficulty sleeping. I am 53 now. They certainly are linked with stressful build up and tiredness , disturbed sleep cycle and strong cheeses too ! I never take caffeine andvery rarely even one very small glass of wine maybe once a month. The article was helpful. I thought it was more common than 2% so that has surprised me.

  13. I’m glad I’m not alone. I’ve drowned, shot in the head, thrown against the wall, pulled out of my bed threw a wall, held against the ceiling, electrocuted, strangled and died into dreams. I feel, hear and taste everything. I’ve done sleep studies and been medicated. Nothing helps. Nothing. I’ve suffered from this since I was 5 when the monkeys from the Wizard of Oz drowned me. An old lady in my dreams said “I’m death and I’m here for you”

    Please tell me there’s hope.

    1. Sorry I replied to the post below yours. I know what your going through and there is a way to fight back. I’m a Christian and I will pray for you. When you sleep you travel in the spirit world. Blessings and I believe God will send someone who can help you. Took almost my whole life to find someone but I did, you will too. Blessings.

  14. It’s almost 4 in the morning and about an hour ago my boyfriend woke up with three terrifying piercing screams. He literally jumped up out of the bed, almost hit the ceiling and tried to run out of my bedroom door. I share a flat with 4 other people so I had to stop him from leaving the room. I was so scared as he looked in a genuine state of petrifying fear. After the screams he was moving around the room frantically saying he needed to get out and that he was having a a panic attack. I didn’t know what to do as I’d never experienced this before, it’s the first time I’ve seen it happen to him in the year and a half we’ve been together. Thankfully I managed to snap him out of it after 5 minutes or so. He was standing clinging on to me so confused. I had to explain to him what happened. I was shaking and crying because he looked possessed when it happened.he said he’s no history of this, it never happened as a child. He said something similar happened once a while back where he jumped up on his desk, but aside from that nothing. Right now I’m too afraid to fall back asleep in case it happens him again. He’s fast asleep beside me and I’m a nervous wreck. My housemates text me to make sure everything was alright cos they said it sounded terrifying. So good to see the thread on here and I’m sorry to hear of so many of you suffering from it. What can I do to if it happens to him again? Is there anything to stop it? Is it normal for it to happen in isolated incidents for people?

    1. I used to have them every now and again. Started when I was 12. These last 3 months they have gotten so bad I don’t want to go to sleep, but I fight through it like everything else. There are other factors as well. Spiritual factors. Science doesn’t understand why they happen and some of it may be physiological but based on my experience fear drives it. I’m not going to preach to any of you but if something traumatic happened to you, it leaves scars. As far as helping loved ones, just give them comfort and don’t hold it against them. It is in a way like torture. Nothing new for me really. I shouldn’t be alive at all but I am. To fight this with willpower or some pill, hasn’t worked for me so far. Medicine has its place but night terrrors are a sign something is wrong. Find support and try to have a short memory about it. God is all that gets me through this, but there is a Devil and he loves using our subconscious baggage against us. Fight the fear with faith. Good luck and God bless:)

    2. Hello Jessica,

      Did you have any luck controling your bf’s episodes?
      I just found out my boyfriend suffer from the same problem, but he had them as a child and then they suddently stoped until now.

      Since 3 days ago when they came back he has not being able to sleep without having them every single night. I am really worry about him.

      1. I am a mother of an 11 year old girl who suffers night terrors. She’s had no trauma in her life and is a very happy little person and from her own words loves her life. She gets them when she gets to hot or has is not well. She doesn’t know why she gets them but says when she’s in that state the fear of doom is dreadful. We talk it through as it’s happened and she holds my hand while we go around the house and she opens draws and works her way back to her safe place which is her bed. She lays down and closes her and her eyes close and she wakes up 30 seconds later and smiles at me. We have a little laugh when I tell her what happened and she apologizes for freaking me out. She has no memory of it. What she can do is talk to me when it’s happening about how she feels. As she is getting older she is getting better at rationalizing in her head when it’s happening. Almost like her logical part of her brain is fighting the illogical situation. What helps her is me supporting her at the time staying calm and telling her very gently that we will go together to do what she needs to do to get back to her safe place and that I am there and I love her. I don’t know what causes them but I can tell you I was a sleep walker as was my brother and myself, my brother and my daughter are all pretty smart intellectual people which I suspect has something to do with a very active brain. All the other times she dreams about playing with puppy’s or pink fluffy unicorns and has awesome happy dreams. I know the doom and fear can be very scary I see it in her and it’s very real but the mind is an extraordinary tool and I think we underestimate the control it can have over us. I tell her to embrace her powerful mind not fight it and learn to master it. This has helped her when she is in full terror mode and gives her power at the time. Hope this helps some of you.

  15. I have finally after years of having these “terrors” been able to put a name to them. I only used to have them every now and again but of late I can’t sleep without having them. And that is a 2 hour interval of sleep. Initially I began having them more frequently because (and this has not been confirmed) of lumbar steroid injections (6 each). It manifested for about a month before I started having such high blood pressure that it sent me to the emergency room on four occasions (usually on a weekend). The hospital would treat the blood pressure and send me home a day or two later. Did I mention that I had been having chronic severe pain due to back issues? This all started on October 3rd, 2016 and it is Christmas night and all is NOT well!

    I have also been seeing a psychotherapist who has given me four sessions of hypnosis. This helped for awhile until I had major back surgery (December 14, 2016) but now that I’m home I am having them every time I doze off. I don’t know if it is pain that wakes me up or just the “terror” but it’s horrible! My therapist, because of the holidays hasn’t been able to see me when needed so I’m pretty much hanging fire until January 3rd. Sucks to be me. Oh, by the way, I am a 65 year old female who never got involved with drugs or alcohol so we can’t attribute this issue to that. I’m not a devoutly spiritual person but have called upon God, Jesus and his angels for help. Obviously I am not alone but I sure wish that someone or something would/could help me.

  16. My cousin she comes to visit my house every year.Sometimes like at two o-clock at night she screams for help from her mom but it’s from sleep terrors.She wakes me up since I’m a light sleeper.But she does everything that you can do in your sleep including sleep walking,sleep talking,sleep screaming,jumping on the bed while sleeping,opening and closing doors,going to the bathroom,and goes back to bed when she does all that and doesn’t even remember when she wakes up.This has been going on since she was a little girl.I’m starting to get worried.

    1. I’m 64 and one of my best friends has sleep terrors. We go on vacations together and once she clobbered me on my ear. She woke up immediately and was so sorry. I check for blunt instruments on her nightstand now. I’m kidding. But she screams out things like “I hate, you I hate you!” And she’s the most put-together, peaceful women I know. She also is known to howl like a wolf and she doesn’t remember anything, ever. I think she has a mild case, though, and I love her company.

  17. I suffered with night terrors until I was 37.
    I frequently woke screaming and running very fast out of the bedroom. My movements would be very accurate and quick. It was as though I knew where everything was even though it was dark.
    The last and worse episode was when I I was in a hotel room with my friend.
    The terror started with a very long, primal, belly scream (which I could never recreate) I shot up from the bed and started to try to break the window. All I knew was that I needed to breathe and get out (I was on the second floor).
    Luckily my friend had experienced these attacks before. She opened the window so I could breathe. She was visibly shaken and crying, I soon came round but felt quite shaken myself.
    I am 47 now and thankfully have only suffered a mild ones on a couple of occasions. I used to have them quite frequently. It was very embarrassing if it occurred when staying with friends or at hotels.
    This sounds bizarre but it was like I was trying to get away from something?!
    When I was 37 my godson was christened, I never had been so I was very happy to get baptised at the same time.
    It is the only thing that I had done differently.
    If anyone is struggling out there, I know it sounds strange but if chamomile tea, sleeping tablets, counselling etc etc hasn’t helped maybe it is something to consider.

  18. If it weren’t for so many replies I would say I was crazy. I’ve had night terrors for years and they are weekly if not daily. I want them to stop, I’ve tried so many things and nothing has worked. I want to give my girlfriend sleep while also me getting sleep. Why do I have to cause suffering to her? This isn’t fair a d it’s destroying my sanity.

  19. I’m 20 years old. I’ve been having night terrors for the last 2 years very consistently. Today is Monday night @ 11:58pm and I have awoken from yet another night terror. I am seeing a psychologist this week because this is becoming to much to bear. I cannot say for sure but I do feel very strongly as to the cause; I have always been panic attack inducing afraid of death I usually could shake the panic and live happily. Well 2 years ago I realized with full force the truth of my mortality and just couldn’t seem to shake the panic feeling. Even now I think of my death and death of everything everyday. It’s not that I’m morbid. I just am terribly terribly afraid of dying, of passing into nothingness. My night terrors began shortly after and I’ve been having them ever since. I recently moved to my own place. I wake myself up every night with my own screams. I have tried everything that I could think possible. I have removed sugar from my diet especially in the afternoons. I exercise hard every day so that I’m exhausted. I’ve tried to going to bed early. But what I’ve learned from all this is I suffer from night terrors. I don’t know why I must. But I do know I need to be extra diligent so as not to have them. This past Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night I didn’t have any terrors. For each of those nights I essentially prepare for sleep all day. No sugar. Lots of water. Hard exercise. A few hours before bed I try to get in the right frame of mind (I notice that I get depressed as the sun goes down) so I’ll sing that usually makes me feel better. Then right before bed I try to meditate. For me as the sun sets and night wears on the night terror feeling starts to grow. So before I sleep I’m already paranoid. I’ve been meditating for the last 4 days and that has help especially well. Tonight I just took some deep breathes but I didn’t really do one and we all know how that turned out. PS it has come to my attention the people who are bi polar tend to have night terrors. That is why I am meeting a Psycologist. Perhaps he can determine if I am in fact bioploar or perhaps he can find the root for these occurrences. I will be seeing him of Thursday and I will update you all. PPS of anyone tries mediation before bed let me know how that helps. I am glad I’m not alone but at the same time I’m very sad for all of us. This is a very difficult burden to bear.

  20. Last night I woke myself up screaming in a forced scream like when you are frightened too badly to get a word out. I must have been screaming in this way for a while before I woke myself up because I could hear my downstairs neighbor talking. They sounded alarmed and concerned. I’ve only had this happen twice in the last couple months and never experienced these loud outbursts. I am petrified and physically feel the sensation of fear for my life on both of these experiences. The screams are like a person about to be mortally wounded by an attacker. I wear a cross to bed now and say a prayer for protection before I go to sleep. We are living in very uncertain times and I believe this problem is aggravated because we are feeling powerless to control things.

  21. Hey all I also get them I normallyvdream of somebody trying to hurt me I scream swear and my heart beats fast like uncontrollably fast is there any medication one can take for this help please

  22. I scream in my sleep and mine started about four years ago when I was 26. I’m 29 now and I still have them, though not at the frequency that I was having them when I first started. I really, really don’t wish these on anyone. When I first started having night terrors I swear to you all it felt like I was dead and my soul was going to hell. That’s literally what it felt like. I would wake up with a voice in my head saying my dog and grandfather were dead and there was nothing I could do about it. When I first had them I would actually run out of my bedroom, I woke myself up out of one because I ran into a wall. Had a bruise the size of an egg on my forehead. All that first year I remembered them, now I still get them sporadically without warning, but I don’t even know what’s happening. I can tell when I have one because my heartbeat gets irregular and I wake up with my armpits soaked. My mom also tells me that she can hear me screaming at night sometimes, which has to be unsettling for her and my dad. I freaked out my ex so badly by having two of them in his apartment that woke up both of his roommates and a neighbor that he couldn’t continue the relationship. I just want them to stop. I feel so destroyed and empty when I wake up. My dreams are so…..how do I put it….they’re just so sad and futile and I used to love going to sleep to dream and now I just don’t even want to sleep anymore sometimes.

  23. People scream while sleeping because they were in a helpless situation . I had a bad dream I was having a flight journey and it crashed . So after waking up my family members told that I was screaming in midnight .

  24. I began night terrors in my early 20s. It’s always someone coming at me while I’m in bed. Sometimes it’s a thing, monster with no face. It’s terrifying. I am now 73 and have them more now than I have ever before. My husband is good about it and always calms me down. Last week I screamed, got on my knees and hugged my husband. He said it was the biggest, strongest and lasting hug he ever received from me. I don’t remember any of the dream.
    I go to a therapist but she isn’t really trained on dream therapy. I feel for all who are going thru night terrors. I am always threatened and am about to be attacked. They are always standing over my bed.

  25. Hi! I’m a teenager and I experience Night Terrors, I started when I was still a baby until now but I don’t experience it all the time it has like certain triggers like: Horror Movies, Too much laughing/Happiness, I’m new to the place, etc. I tend to cry and scream sitting down even though my mother’s there trying to calm me down but nothing happens according to what she says and I also tend to sleep walk around my house, I’m awake but I can’t control my body at all. I’m not really sure what to do? I’m scared of what I can do during these times.

  26. I have suffered from sleep walking/ night terrors from a young ages I’m now 32 and I wake my partner up kicking him and screaming!! I literally soak the bed with sweat I’m having shamanic healing Wednesday so fingers crossed!!!

  27. To all those people saying you experience awful things and can’t move or do anything, you’re experiencing sleep paralysis not night terrors. Difference is you can’t move during sleep paralysis and you’re aware of what’s happening. During terrors you are not aware of what’s going on and you scream and move and run around in panic. And you might feel disoriented and confused after waking up… and you’ll remember nothing in the morning or you’ll have short flashbacks.
    You’re welcome:)

    1. So what if you experience both- Sleep terrors and sleep paralysis?? It sucks so badly because intellectually you know that nothing is really going to get you but your body reacts as if it is actually happening. There has to be a physiological reason for all of this right?? Or is it just all in the head?? What can we do to make it stop. Sleep is supposed to be a replenishing time for the mind, body and spirit. How do you make your body get back on track???

  28. I yelled my boyfriends name and woke up yelling his name and I wanted that while i was sleeping. This is only the second time I’ve yelled his name out of my sleep and he came. I don’t like saying the words demon, ghost, devil or satan out loud ever, it scares me. I’m afraid of ghosts (something I can’t see I know). So I feel like that’s why I had a dream like that and it terrified me. I went to bed at 4am I stay up late a lot and I’ll sleep until 10am usually or 12pm if I don’t set an alarm. But today I woke up at 7am and I feel wide awake after that dream. God I just want to stop being afraid of that stuff and the dark. I’m in my twenties, and it freaked me out more that today’s Sunday, i’m considering going to church alone today and considering a psychiatrist.

  29. Hi, I’ve screamed and talked in my sleep since I was a child, only occasionally but for the last couple of months It’s been quite frequent and it’s really starting to freak me out. I’m having vivid dreams and remember them as I wake but my husband says I’m screaming with my mouth closed and almost like im fighting to get it out. He says It’s like I’m yelling at someone and it’s very loud. He usually touches my leg and I wake up but my heart is racing and I break out in sweat. Sometimes I wake myself up from screaming so loudly. Does this sound like night terrors or nightmares? I really wish it would stop as it’s scary how frequently this happens.

  30. Every night the past 6 days I have been waking up sometime between 2:30am and 3:30am screaming and shouting and gasping for air, pounding on my door and yelling for help. It lasts for about 15-20 seconds and then suddenly I am in a state of total awareness and it goes away. So I just lie back down in bed and fall back asleep. But by that time, my mother and sister are in my room asking what happened in a state of panic. It’s become awfully scary. It’s such a uniquely terrifying experience and it’s indescribably scary. I don’t know what to do. I think it’s because of the massive amount of stress I’ve been under lately… 🙁

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