Night Terrors: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

Woman experiencing night terrors

Night terrors, also referred to as sleep terrors, can cause you to experience deep fear in your sleep. These terrors are most common in children, but appear in adults too. Learn more about the differences between night terrors and nightmares, what causes night terrors, and how to deal with them.

What Are Night Terrors?

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 while they are asleep. 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 these outbursts and can only be awoken with some difficulty.

An 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.

Night Terrors vs Nightmares

Night terrors are often confused with nightmares, though they are in fact quite different. What is the difference between night terrors and nightmares?

Nightmares occur in the REM sleep, and are traditional dreams from which the person experiencing them may recall imagery, sound or feelings. Typical nightmares include being chased by someone or something, falling for an inordinate amount of time, or involve things that the person finds particularly disturbing or frightful that are often rooted in their subconscious.

Night terrors (sleep terrors) 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.

Night Terrors in Children

Sleep terrors are most common in children, especially very young children under the age of 7. Children with night 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 night terrors. There is no link between sleep terrors in children and emotional disorders, or disorders that will be developed later in life.

Night Terrors in Adults

Adults can also develop night 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. As few as 2% of adults experience sleep terrors. Those who do experience these terrors should consult a psychiatrist, who should be able to help them deal with the issues that are plaguing them and causing the terrors.

Sleep terrors share the same root causes as sleepwalking

What Causes Night Terrors?

Night 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.

Night Terror Symptoms & Signs

Sleep terrors are easily detectable in most cases, as the person experiencing them will often let out loud screams or wails that will likely wake up others 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 night 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 Night Terrors

Don’t Wake People from Night 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, allowing you to support them. Additionally, this allows you to keep an eye on them 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.

Treating Night Terrors

Night 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. Occasionally night terrors lead to other sleep disorders like insomnia, which can be treated. An overnight sleep study, called a polysomnogram may 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. Taking measures to achieve deep sleep faster, and remain in it once there, can limit the number of parasomnia occurrences. Practicing good sleep hygiene, 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.

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202 thoughts on “Night Terrors: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

  1. Rose Morales Williams Reply

    I’m a 65yr old female who have been suffering from nightmares/terrors. As I recall, it started in my late 30s. I’m experiencing more terrors than nightmares these days.I can recall everything and occurrences of the terror. I’m exhausted, drained, and totally fatigued when I awake.
    Last night had a night terrors so bad that when I awoke, my mouth/throat was so dry ( absolutely no saliva). Had to activate the sublingual gland which thereafter, was frothy. I did drank some water which helped a bit. My ear was ringing so loud, heart pounding and was short of breath. I awoke feeling scared but eyes burning to return to sleep I fought it for fear that I would return to the same night terrors as I do most of the time. Three hrs later, I returned to sleep and had a nightmare. During the day, I’m tired, sleepy, sometimes irritable/depressed.
    Is it normal to return to the same night terror after awoke for a few minutes?

  2. Karen Hannah Reply

    I have been having what I call nightmares but I feel like I’m not going to wake up from them it starts as if the bed is spinning then I feel like something is holding me down and I am paralysed all I I see is something that looks like a stiletto and it looks like a highway man holding me down I think I’m screaming but my partner says they can’t hear me the thing is it takes me back to my childhood like when there was cold fires I know this is going to sound crazy but there is a old fashioned silver cross pram in the room and whe I pull back covers it’s my little dog lying in the pram I can’t see the face of what is holding me down it’s as if they don’t want me to see it but it’s the most scariest thing I have experienced there has been another time when it’s like a old couple in corner of the room I don’t know how I come out of it but know I were earphones to bed cause I am scared to go to sleep cause I honestly don’t think I will wake up from whatever I am experience it is so scary I feel like I am going crazy

  3. Jeff Reply

    With no known history of night terrors or sleepwalking 3 days ago I experienced that when I woke up I was already standing and in full motion of falling into a night stand that I pushed and landed on my knees. Was curious if anyone had insight on why that could have happened or what would have caused it to happen?

  4. Mmalikk Reply

    Hello everyone
    I’ve been through so much i was so depressed but i tried so hard to forget all the negative things, negative thoughts and to be honest i forgot all the things but sometimes at night i feel depressed and i cry while sleeping which i don’t remember next morning.

  5. K Reply

    I was a bed wetter as a kid but my night terrors started about 3 years ago as an adult. They happened when I was under extreme duress and anxiety. I would typically wake up thinking I was dying by heart attack. I would sprint out of bed leap down the stairs in my house. Sometimes I’d wake at the top of the stairs. Sometimes I am outside when I wake up. One time I woke up and was talking to a 911 operator who seemed to have experienced someone like me before. Most recently I had one and was not under stress. However I believe the trigger was that I had activated my subconscious by doing too many tarot card readings kin a short period of time and was having prophetic dreams as I have the gift of dreams. I think that part of my brain that makes me so intuitive was just overactivated. If it happens again, I am going to seek help as most recent episode I ran into my child’s room heart racing asking her to call 911 and telling her I was dying and I loved her. Poor girl was freaked out sadly. We discussed it in the morning.

  6. Dawn Reply

    I’ve had dumb dreams thru the yrs and 3 i can think of where my partner woke me up bc of scared mumblings or whatever i was doing. Life goes by, i have a bf and move in with him in june. By the end of august, im talking, chi chatting, screaming, legs going like im riding a bike. Ive scratched his back, kicked him. Neighbors closed a storm door hard at like 2 am and im screaming no!!!!!! I dont recall any of this. Once in a while i just kno I was acting up. As dumb as it may sound, there was paranormal stuff in that house. Female presence that didnt care for females. We moved this past july. Things are great! Little by little its happening again. I actually sorta woke myself up enough that i kno i yelled. My bf has actually kicked me back and i kno nothing. Lol. I do have a sleep recorder app and I do laugh at some of the things. He doesnt find it as funny. Lol. I kno alot was brought on by stress, and im now not really stressed. Bought valerian root and now reading it can give you vivid dreams/nightmares. I dont need more if that. Lol its like 2 sleep disorders in one. Ugh

  7. Lisanne Reply

    My husband has night terrors most if the time they are minor and harmless but on this day I’m about to tell you about it was different than his usual ones he awoke saying we got to get out of here or we’ll be crushed and continuous ly punched the entire front car windshield climbed thru and collapsed on the sidewalk slowly regaining his memory of what had just happened my question is what can I do for him because I know he’s not gonna agree to a session with psychiatrist so please help me

  8. Tyler J Reply

    Hi everyone,

    I see this topic is very popular as of late. I recently had another 2 episodes of this sleep terror as a 30 yr old adult. I will say at first it freaked me out. I didn’t remember anything except for waking in my partners arms and embrace.

    Anyways I saw a therapist, and I got to the bottom of why it’s all happening. For me, it was stress, this isn’t a cure all or fix everything. But it does tell me when I am stressing way too much. Like now, I just got out of surgery 2 days ago and was very afraid prior.

    My therapist says to breathe deeply before bed, meditate, and avoid stimulants. This does really help, it doesn’t always work, but it’s pretty effective! Best of luck everyone.

  9. Bardha Dervisholli Reply

    Hi everyone ive had night terrors on and off my whole life i was a child in war passed through it and am ok no one in my family was killed thank god all are ok i do have night terrors where somone is about to kill me and where im falling off of a roof or one time i saw one where someone was hitting me with a hammer on my head i wake up screaming and one time my fiance was trying to wake me up bad idea i slapped him and was up crying the thing is i remember these vivd dreams unlike how they say that you usualy dont maybe its cause i have a good imagination lol i dont look too much into them hey they happen i think you need to think happy thoughts before going to bed and stop reading horror stuff i never have read any Stephen King’s books nor will I ever read them i also do not like to watch horror movies or anything alike things that can disturb me i will not watch dont thi k to “challenge” your self by watching stuff like that its not that good it will probably mess with your mind i watch a lot of comedy and romance comady go easy on your self. I have also read that if you belive in the afterlife and that there is a god i think it helps your not as afraid of death and especially of things like ghosts and aliens that shit anit real, people who think they exist are afraid and more likely to read too much into it and another one being possessed really ! Come on thats where youll need to see a psychiatrist for sure especially if you are an adult. Another thing i know about night terrors is be careful of different meds over the counter such as melatonin that gave me some night terrors that really scared the shit out of me your brain is easy to mess around with very fragile in my openion so be nice to your self think happy thoughts and vo pray people honeit really helps it doesnt mean you have to go to church every sunday just understand that none of those dreams are real they are all figments of your imagination. Hope this helped if not dont hate these are just my openions and what i think will help.

  10. Chris Reply

    Hi All, I am i’m gonna say because I had the most terrifying experience of my life last night. It did happen one time before when my children were little and I was in my late 20s I’m now 62 years old and it’s happened again. I was running through my house screaming half awake half asleep but aware. I thought I was dead I’m not breathing. But I am usually I was breathing because I was screaming. All I could do was scream and I couldn’t stop myself. I remember trying to find my phone and I don’t remember where it was. I finally woke up sitting in the bathroom on the toilet seat with my head against the wall making myself breathe inhaling and exhaling inhaling and exhaling. And then I just cried and cried and I prayed and finally was able to go back to sleep. Then I woke up thinking I need to go see a psychiatrist. What the heck is this all about? I think I’m going to start using my CPAP machine again. See if that will help.

  11. Melissa Reply

    I have had terrible nightmares my whole life. I have also seen and heard what I have thought were apparitions while awake throughout my life. I have also had episodes of sleep walking and once woke up on the front lawn. Terribly scary. Since having my kids I also have terrible episodes of waking up with awful experiences. It started when my first born was a baby and I would see him in the bed, wrapped in the sheets and I thought he would suffocate and I couldn’t get him out. My husband would wake me up telling me he wasnt in our bed, but in his crib. It would take me several minutes of being awake to settle down and realize all was well. I researched this phenomena and found it was believed to be a type of mild post partum depression. Those went away until I had my second child, and they started again. Then they faded as i got older. Now, for several years, i wake up a few times a month jumping out of bed with serious experiences of impending doom. My worst nightmares are not as bad as these terrors. Sometimes i think the ceiling is caving in, or I am stuck somewhere and can’t get out and am claustrophobic (I’m not claustrophobic while awake). My heart is racing, pounding in my chest and I am terrified and shaking. I feel like I am having a heart attack or I am dying. Sometimes i feel like the world is ending. Sometimes i see shadows in the room coming at me aggressively. I am awake when I see these, and I do not believe they are sleep hallucinations. I often try to run out of the room, and turn on a light and the terror stops. I am always safe in the light. I sometimes need a half hour or more to calm down however. The scariest episode was when i heard a crash and woke up leaning out a second story window. I had somehow opened the window without being conscious of it. I could have very easily fallen out and been seriously hurt or killed. I have a pretty stressful job, but i don’t feel particularly anxious during the day or when I go to sleep. Although I have read much of what the world of science says may be going on, I can’t help but feel I have either traveled somewhere else spiritually (previous life traumatic experience?) Or something else supernatural is occurring. It is much too real of an experience to chalk it up to anxiety. I do sense something is trying to communicate with me, but I don’t understand it, leading to the fear. I believe there is much more to these episodes than we understand today. And with so few people that experience them, I’m not sure enough has been studied to come to definitive conclusions.

    • Joanna Reply

      Hi Melissa. I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I wanted to let you know that I can completely relate to what you are experiencing. I have also been convinced that, whatever I am seeing, is real from another plain/spiritual or not, and I am also in most cases completely convinced that I am awake when I see these things. They could be people/beings/shadows in the room coming at me. They can also be gigantic bugs sometimes minding their own business– whatever the image my night terrors produce, they almost always result in me waking up in terror screaming, waking up my partner who then tries to snap me out of it. However recently, this has been happening without me being able to recall any of it and now is when I’m starting to really worry that I’ve got to a point in these episodes where I’m afraid I will be of harm to myself or my partner. I’m based in the UK and sleep therapists/centers here are so expensive, they’re not covered by our public healthcare. Has anyone sought out any form of therapy which they can say has been effective?

  12. David Reply

    I literally am reading this just after my father woke me up (I’m 17) because I was screaming, I woke up with immense fear, this has happened around 4-5 times this year already.
    The thing is I can somewhat recall the nightmare, they all have a common theme, I’m unable to move and really scared for x reason and I feel way too scared.

    • Becky Reply

      Hi Joanna, I also have the same experiences as you. I get these a couple of times a week and have done for a few years now (I’m 30). Mine are normally that there is someone in my room, or that I am trapped somewhere. I’m also UK based and have had no luck with doctors. Have you managed to find anything which helps you?

  13. Mari Reply

    I didn’t have any issues with nightmares or nightterrors my entire life, but lately my mother has been waking me up near every night because I screamed her awake. I’m 16. My mother won’t let me watch anything on TV with even a hint of violence or blood. She is starting to lose sleep because I keep waking her. My parents are starting to argue about it because they don’t agree on what is causing it. I don’t want to be a burden with this, and I’m feeling so powerless because there is nothing I can do about it. I avoid stress, sit in the sun every day, have a healthy sleeping schedule and I don’t drink alcohol or cafeïne. What can I do to stop this

    • Michael Reply

      Hi, Mari, I don’t know anything about sleep disorders, but wanted to let you know that I’ve done that when I was younger. It only happened a few times, but I seem to have “outgrown” it. I hope you can find treatment for it, but whether there is treatment available or not, I wanted to let you know you’re not alone. Maybe you can show your parents that other people have it–and it’s not related to watching violence (I watch a lot of horror movies and shows). It sometimes was related to stress for me, but it might just be something that happens during life. There may be nothing that can be done for it, so I hope your parents will not argue about it. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s not your fault and I suspect there is nothing that you are doing “wrong.” It just happens in some people. I wish you well and good luck!

      • frntncntr Reply

        Here’s what you do. If you have an Ipod or phone, download (or upload) some binaural beats to it. There are 5 states. Theta, Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma.

        Try each one for a week. You can listen to them anytime. You can meditate, study or just asleep to them. Some have music, some are just noises. I’ve found many times that the noises with bells & water work best, but everyone is different. Just listen when falling asleep. It’s best to let them play while you’re sleeping. I promise you’ll feel better & when you find the right ones you will know it. You’re parents may want to try as well.

        There many sites where you can find them free. Good luck,

  14. Mike T Reply

    I dont know where to begin. I hate going to sleep with a passion. I’ve learned a few beers help a little if not i will stay awake all night til i pass out. My dreams are so violent and brutal it would make stephen Kings books look like a kids novel. I scream for help in my sleep to just wake me. Being able to not move while my mind is fully coherent(my eyes opened and all). Sometimes it feels like something is trying to tell me something or to be on guard. I wake up so angry. What sucks is everyone else on the thread said they dont remeber what there terrors was or about..I WISH I WAS THAT LUCKY. This shit drags with me for days. The nightmares or whatever they are happen to me all the time since i was 6 years old. I am 36 years old now and im not scared of much. These dreams scare the shit out of me. At time it feels like someone is grabbing my arm while im in bed by myself. I thank my wife everytime she wakes me and she dont know why. She is to scared to hear what ive dreamt about. I pray to gad often and im not religious. I thought about writting books because the details of these dreams are so to the tee. I’ve been through so much in life that none of the dreams are the same.I remember the worst dreams for years. This shit is not normal..i dont take pills or nothing. Godspeed

    • Jeannine Reply

      Wow! I couldn’t have said it better myself. My experience with night terrors and trying to fall asleep to begin with is identical to yours. I worry the same thing.. This is not normal right? I have no clue how to begin to change this. I remember everything every horrible detail and yes my dreams do make Stephen King novels look like a kids book. Although it bothers me and I feel fatigued during the day mostly I worry for my husband and children who wake up in the middle of the night hearing mommy screaming at the top of my lungs and using extremely foul language in a very loud deep scary voice. They say it sounds like I’m possessed! I am a good person, just can’t imagine why my subconscious would invent things so ridiculously disturbing. PLEASE, someone has to have some reliable advice.

  15. Steph Reply

    I have never, thankfully, had a lot of nightmares in my life that I remember. I did go through a phase of sleepwalking as a child. However, a few nights ago I was dreaming that I was in bed and the dresser that is at the side of our bed fell onto my husbands legs. Then at some point in the dream I realized my daughter was also laying next to him and was under the dresser (she is 5 and sometimes sleeps between us). In the dream both my husband and I were screaming and I’m guessing at some point that is when I started screaming for real. I finally woke up (or my husband woke me) and realized that it was a dream but it took a while because my dream self and real self were both in the same place (in bed). My heart was pounding and adrenaline surging as I finally told my husband what I thought had happened. He said he had never heard me scream so loud and my voice was hoarse for a few days afterward. I had a hard time falling back asleep afterward. I’m guessing it stemmed from my fear of something happening to my husbands legs again. A couple years ago he suffered from a bad break and had to have a rod put into his leg. He has had chronic pain ever since. The day I had the dream he had slipped and fallen due to water on the floor outside the bathroom. I’m guessing that is what triggered this. Hopefully this isn’t something that will happen frequently.

  16. Assyiah Reply

    hey I’m 16 (girl), I don’t know why this started happening to me but now I wake up every night at 2 a.m. (Okay, one time it was 1:58 – but same thing!) I know i’m not crazy, but sometimes I hear whispers in my ear (usually my right ear.) I don’t know what gender but it says something like… ‘stop’, ‘you need to stop’ and then get clearer then ever with the word ‘now.’ I’m so scared. Also recently i had a dream where there was a girl/woman and i was standing there and she kept saying ‘hey’. it was getting annoying-er and louder every time but in the dream i just stood there. Eventually she screamed it again and in the dream there was a man behind me and grabbed me… I woke up. But I couldn’t move. I literally could not move. I started crying and everything felt numb. I live in a childrens home so I couldn’t tell anyone because the alarm would go off on my door. I sleep alone in the room. I seriously need help. why is this happening.

    • Diana Baier Reply

      I have night screaming once in a while and I scream very loud and wake up what can I do to stop this. I know I was scared as someone came in our house as a teen it really happened and I screamed and called my mother and the person opened the door and went out . Could that be why I still have night screaming. I end up waking my house screaming and wake up

  17. hi im scared Reply

    im 11 and i have night terrors i am sleepwalking but im having a night mare then i wake up and then i start having it again then i go to my dad and say im scared then when im in bed i will start saying stuff like im going to slit ur throught or hes coming for u then i wake up

    • Shaking Reply

      A few times in my life, I’ve woken up shivering and terrified with tears rolling down my face but I don’t remember a single thing about the dream. Each time this has happened, my mom said that she saw me clutching my fists. She also said that I would start screaming randomly (but only for short periods of time).
      Has anyone had something simular to this??

  18. Seph Reply

    ……. i lay My head to sleep and almost within an instant there black until the alarm goes off. remembering Nothing of the night before yet hardly rested regardless of hours slept, this is most nights, peaceful and deserved from a hard days work. Then there are other nights where the Black has a moment of screaming and mass confusion. Nothing from the seconds before can be recalled and there sure as fuck is confusion now. No explanation nor a traumatic experience to be uttered from the past. It’s and endless cycle of not even knowing if sleep is sleep or an endless struggle to repress something in between the seconds of screaming.

    • Jenny Reply

      I have had sleep terrors for years. I usually wake up 20 minutes after falling asleep, bolt upright in bed, cursing. It is usually related to something that I have forgotten to do. I often jump out of bed and start looking through closets and drawers for fix what I’ve forgotten to do. I find it very upsetting that this is happening. Any advice would be appreciated.

  19. Gwendolyn Alley Reply

    Hi All.

    Here’s what has helped me, and I’ve had night terrors chronically and acutely since my 20s and I’m now in my 50s.

    About 20 years ago, I started taking a lot of omega 3s for a different reason but I noticed that they really helped with the NTs. If I run out of omega 3s for a bit, I will notice the night terrors coming back again.

    Aromatherapy, particularly burning franinscence and myrhh resin help if used in the evening or when feeling stressed.

    More recently I have been drinking tea with tulsi and i think that helps as well. I’ve also been drinking more water, and water that is ozonated and alkaline.

    It helps to recognize the stresses: as a student and a teacher, they would tend to be worse at the beginning and the end of a term, but these simple (and not very expensive) treatments have made a huge difference.

    best, gwendolyn

  20. Don Reply

    Im 32 and a out 4 years ago tbe love of my life left me becouse of a drug addiction after getting clean ( im 17 montbs sober ) i have started experiencing these night terrors at first i had no recollection of even having them the people i live with (i stay in a sober living house with 5 other guys) would tell me i was screaming and tbrashing in my sleep and i would wake up in a partial paralysis and be exhausted after a few months the frequency and severity of these night terrors have increased 10 fold and tbey seem to be the same dream over and over just in different time frames and they dont make much sense but they all have one thing in common and thats my ex and the house we sharred it seems that the house itself is almost trying to consume my soul and i cannot escape running from room to endless room that have this demonic presence that i can feel in my body as if im actually thier they are becoming so real that i still feel the terror when i wake up its like im actually thier ive never been much of a dreemer when i sleep i can only describe these as being in another world or a hellish realm that is inescapable when i finally do wake up i experience full body paralysis for 30seconds or more and usually cannot go back to sleep out of fear of slipping back into the terror its effecting my job my health and my relationships with the people i live with ive tried medication talking to a therapist and sleeping on a regular schedule nothing seems to help

  21. Cherryl may Burgess Reply

    I have the most horrific night terrors all my life. Elements of the terrors have changed but most of it remains the same. I am fully awake in my ‘dream state’. I wake up (or think I am awake) from my bed. I even get up sometimes in my dream. Everything in the room is vivid down to the small marks on the wall next to my bed and the bits and bobs on my dressing table. But I’m not alone in the ‘dream state’. I feel terrified. I keep telling myself to wake up. Each time I find myself back in my bed at the same point of ‘waking up’ and going over and over the same situation. Most of the time with different outcomes. I go through the process of telling myself to wake up where I end up so scared I start to try and scream at my husband who I can see quite clearly lying next to me fast asleep. I cannot hear him breathing (more like snoring), but he is there. On the occasions that I have left the bed and tried to leave the bedroom, I have been ‘forced’ up against the wall next to the door. I cannot feel hands, nor see anything. It feels like something the same shape and size of me pinning me to the wall and I cannot move an inch. Again that is when I start to scream to my husband. I am also telling myself to wake up over and over and over again whilst the terror increases as I fear I won’t ever wake up again and continue this cycle infinitely. Eventually I do wake up. One experience I was cuddling with my daughter in her bed and she had to wake me as I was calling her name. She said I sounded like a drunk old man when I remember clearly in my dream screaming her name. I will admit, I am bipolar. Not depressed or manic as many people seem to think they are (this new fad). I have been like this before I was diagnosed at the age of 25 and all symptoms from childhood point to bipolar. It also runs in the family on my father’s side. I have had night terrors all my life, even before diagnoses and medication. I am exhausted with myself and do live in fear most nights. I take clonazepam every other night to help me sleep.

    • Josh E Reply

      THIS HAPPENS TO ME TOO!!! Finally someone! When this happens to me, I feel the worst fear in the world. I can remember everything, and I think I am awake while this happens. It feels like everything is backwards, including time, numbers, etc. (I know this sounds weird…). It happens to me about once every three months.

  22. Jessica taylor Reply

    My boyfriend is 18 and he has been having bad dreams about his family and waking up screaming and getting out of bed and then dont realized what he did…. and the another day he had one dealing with a snake and woke up screaming saying there a snake right beside him… plz help

  23. Allison Reply

    I’m 23. I’ve been having night terrors since i was a child. Every time I have a nightmare/terror, its typically the same terror. I don’t ever remember them, I just remember waking up balling my eyes out, or being completely disoriented for a short amount of time. Yesterday, my boyfriend woke me in the middle of one (I didn’t know what was happening, or that I was even having one) because I was performing small acts of violence. This has never happened before. I’ve lived a rough life. I’m always under a ton of stress. This time of year always causes them due to a traumatic event that had happened 12 years ago. I’m afraid of actually hurting him, or anyone else.

  24. Laura Reply

    I’m 37 now and this has progressively gotten worse since my late 20’s. My husband and young son are terrified of me when they hear me cursing someone with fury they’ve never seen. (Until now anyway, it’s such a routine thing). My dad was murdered when I was 16 and I lived with my grandparents, both who passed many years ago. I’m always in my teens or early 20’s in my dreams and I’m so angry with my father and grandmother. It’s always something very hurtful that takes place, such as watching my boyfriend at the time sleep with other women or something completely fictitious, yet so real. My husband will wake me several times and have me turn over but i go right back into the dreams. I often wake believing i’m in my childhood bed and then lose all awareness and don’t know where i am until i realize i’m at my home in the year 2018 – not 1999. And then I sob for sometimes hours because I miss my family and wish they were still living.
    I’m under a ton of stress, take medicine for depression so I’ve always believed it to be caused by meds, but it’s like I’m living in the wrong realm of life somehow. I’m not sure which is the correct realm, but I feel much safer in the 90’s version than I do in 2018 regardless of the hell I’ve seen in the dream. My family wants this to stop as much as I do. I’m afraid of hurting my spouse or child. I become crazy violent as well as sound like something from the exorcist.

  25. David G Reply

    I began having recurrent night terrors (not nightmares) at around age 60. My mother reports that my father also experience night terrors in his 60’s. These almost always occur withing 2 hours of going to bed, never more than once per night and never after 3:00am. I often yell, kick and can literally beg my wife to wake me, all while in a sleep state. Sometimes I could have sworn I was already awake but when finally awoken realize I was not. I seem to hear the real world but am trapped in the dream world until firmly shaken. I can verbalize loudly but not very coherently – limited muscle control to speak real words. When I do wake I can have a very high heart rate and respiration because generally my life is being threatened by wild animals or people with ill intent. Last night a nice family in a convertible 60’s style Cadillac were about to blow up my store with me in it. I don’t own a store! But I was on to them and when approaching I yelled to get out and woke myself up and was scared to death!
    The thing that worries me is my father then also had Alheimer and died of the disease at age 76. The man was in otherwise beautiful health. All of this has made for some embarrassing events when I have had a night terror, not at home with my wife, but away at family member’s home or while bunked up with a bunch of men on a mission trip.
    So, now I have to wonder if this is all just simply signs of mental aging or possibly the first signs of alzheimer’s disease.

  26. Alena C Carnegie Reply

    I understand sitting up in bed and screaming is common amongst sleep terrors, but can it happen to people who have nightmares? Like a couple nights ago, I woke u screaming, I don’t know why I was screaming nor what I was screaming about. I found my mom in my room, sitting on my bed, Someone with sleep terrors wouldn’t wake up though, so how is it that I woke up? which makes me think it was a nightmare, but most people who have nightmares, remember them. How come I cant remember what I was dreaming about that made me scream?

  27. Kay...... Reply

    Hi Levi. Your terrors are my terrors. I notice my terrors when a soul or spirit is near by. I not have only suffer with night terrors or sleep paralyses for 40 years but I’m taken to another realm that scares the bajessess out of me. My only saviour I have to do is call out to archangel Michael to help me come around but everyone else may have their own saviour. I then spend time walking around trying not to fall asleep as the paralyses will continue for days. I’m an old soul and an empath so I truly believe this is all connected. Be safe and search for your truth like I found mine….

  28. Levi Reply

    I see all these comments and nobody truly knows how to stop these things.
    I know how to stop them, but this is only my knowledge, each person is different.
    At the age of 9 I started to be plagued by these pavor nocturnus, night terrors.
    I see article after article saying that the sufferers don’t recall these things, they are wrong. There was a woman above my posting who said a medium told her it was a gift. This is not a gift, this is indeed a vision into a hell that can’t be described. Each is different, mine I could describe in vivid detail but mine won’t be yours.
    Trust me when I say this, whatever you meet in the inbetween isn’t a friend, a loved one, a guide. You are seeing a world not meant for the eyes of man. If you are god fearing then this will not sit well with you but you now see the demons that exist in the corners of the earth unreachable by human senses.
    I am rambling and I’m not helping much with what I am saying so let me get back on track.
    How do you stop these night terrors?
    Become aware of your triggers into this. You already know them, you sense them the second you lay your head to sleep. Do not ignore them, make yourself stand up no matter how tired you are.
    I will tell you my triggers so maybe you can understand yours. My body is heavy, I feel like my hands are of incredible size. Every single fiber of my body can be felt and it is heavy beyond words.
    This is sleep paralysis people, you will feel it as your body slips into the terrors. Fight that urge to sleep. Sleep doesn’t take that away.
    Each person is different. What do you feel when you are slipping? What hell is your mind going into slowly as you lay there?
    Ask yourself these questions truly.
    Know what you are feeling. Now take that knowledge and instead of allowing your body to rest when those triggers happen, get up.
    Get up and move and take your mind away from them. Do whatever makes you happy and let your mind drift far from those thoughts, far from those triggers. It might take 10 minutes, it might take 2 hours. Listen to your body, listen to your mind, let it all go and you will find rest without the descent into the shadow hell.

    Like I said, each is different but we all suffer this. My triggers aren’t yours, but ask yourself….. What are your triggers? Answer that question and take control of your life. I’m going night terror free for 10 years now, but they try to take me several times a week. I choose to stand up and change it. Will you?

  29. Marty Reply

    Hi all, well I have read through these and while there are a lot of people with these there does not seem to be any solutions posted. My 26 year old son has had these for years, they come and go but are more frequent now. Hoping to find a solution.

    • Levi Reply

      You should read my comment Marty. Your son needs to identify the triggers that set the terrors in motion. Trust me he has them and might not understand them fully yet. He is the same age I was when I finally figured it out. For starters he needs to sit and write it all down. Every feeling he has from the moment he goes to lay down to the moment he wakes, absolutely everything.
      It is time for him to be free of it, but it will never leave him.

  30. Maurice Kazembe Reply

    I just several this night. Am failing to call them nightmares or terrors. They started to manifest when i was thirty years old am now 37. I sometimes dreams someone or something fierce and in the process of being attacked, i start screening. Or sometimes i hold and idea during the dream which i don’t like, something like disagreeing with something or to someone’s opinion and they I screen. When I start screening, I am conscious of my sorounding. When i have a spouse on the same bed, i long for her to help me out by waking me up because am always in a panicking state. I don’t desire it because my brain is able to detect that am panicking and i sleep with fear but it keeps on coming. Unfortunately, am living in a country where psychiatrics are had to find. In our country, such problems are considered spiritual, as such people seek help from churches and witch doctors a thing i either don’t support. I am in Malawi, really bothered. I wonder if someone can help me here.

  31. Tori Reply

    The man of your dreams would never tell you to pack your bags and leave nor tell you he would beat the **** out of you. Night terrors are a condition and out of your control. He is suppose to love you with the good & the bad. Walk with you along the way.
    My 8yo son has night terrors and it’s very traumatizing for me to go through with him. & he has no recollection at all. Sometimes they last 20 mins. He can’t help it… but I can be there with him through it, & I always will be.

  32. Tori Reply

    The man of your dreams would never tell you to pack your bags and leave nor tell you he would beat the **** our of you. Night terrors are a condition and out of your control. He is suppose to love you with the food & the bad. Walk with you along the way.
    My 8yo son has night terrors and it’s very traumatizing for me to go through with him. & he has no recollection at all. Sometimes they last 20 mins. He can’t help it… but I can be there with him through it, & I always will be.

  33. LLL Reply

    December 25,2O17
    I’m LLL after a couple of horrifying relationships I have found the man if my dreams. But not for long if THIS keeps happening. Last night I had what I assume to be a night terror. It is not unlike me to yell out during my sleep. I have awful nightmares and have since age 6. Lately I have been under a lot of stress and I have kept it to myself so as to not freak Tom out. Although i have yelled out un my sleep since we meet. It has gotten worse. I actually struck him and the dog last night. I am VERY against violence,seeing i was I two abusive relationships . Tom has never hit me or made me fear him. He now fears me and is VERY VERY MAD at me. I dont remember what or why I did this. I only have what he has told me. After he told me to pack my things and leave. My heart sank and my mind is dealing with the pain of scaring him and the dog. Never in my 45 yrs have i harmed another person. I know I did not this on PURPOSE. He now says i am capable of hurting him. And if it happens again he will breath the fuck out of me. I as my normal self am NOT VIOLENT. I LOVE HIM AND WOULD DIE BEFORE I HARMED him. I know in his heart he know this to be true. But he is so angry at me he refused to talk about it. What do I do. I can’t lose him . If I Do I’m done with everything. I AM NOT A VIOLENT PERSON. AND I WANT TO MAKE THIS RIGHT. HELP ME PLEASE.

  34. Katg Reply

    I have night terrors. My poor family. It usually occurs in the first half hour of going to sleep. Most of the time I do not rememberthat I had one. My husband does wake me which is frightening. Many times I cannot go back to sleep because of fear of having another one. I have remembered some of my terrors in which I wake in my dream to a man from the early 1900’s in a overcoat with a top hat standing next to my bed. My sister went to a medium who told her that I am fortunate to have transference. Supposedly according to her my spirit transfers to the other realm and this man is my grandfather that died when my mother was 12. She says that he comes back with me to make sure I am okay coming back. She told me to tell him not to come back with me. I did try that but now I still have terrors without him. Any suggestion on how to stop these nights let me know. They have definitely become more frequent and intense since I have become older. Btw my father had these too so they do run in families. Isn’t that great, not really

  35. Kathy Reply

    My name is Kathy.
    I need some advice and comfort – I recently experienced this month 2 nights of sleep terror. All I do is within the first hour of sleep I start screaming like someone is after me. Last night I actually jumped off my bed to the floor in fear and then apparently got back in bed in sleeping position.

    I know this doesn’t sound like allot or a big deal to some people, but personally it has scared me to no end. I am now completely terrified of going to sleep.

    I’ve always had nightmares, some form of Insomnia. My father suffers from sleep terrors and I have suffered from Pure OCD over these past 9 years. And I’ve had the occasional night terror throughout my life. I have recently been diagnosed with anemia and I have had symptoms of sleep apnea.

    Again I know it doesn’t sound like much to be freaked out over. But I need guidance and comfort. I’m so scared I’m losing it, and I keep looking up things on google which doesn’t help.

  36. cynthia Reply

    After being in relationship with my husband for nine years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is } ) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

  37. Anne Reply

    I’m off work with a broken leg I’ve had night terrors in and off for maybe 30 years but since off work they’ve increased significantly at least 3 to 4 nights a week I’m exhausted with it

  38. Kristy Reply

    I don’t understand why not to wake us ? I’m so thankful every time I get woken wether I’m in bed screaming or standing aroundin t he house. I’d reather be awake in a safe place then left in my terror …

  39. elizabeth Reply

    has anyone ever tried the med prazosin to treat night terrors? used often for PTSD patients, but wondered if anyone without PTSD who has night terrors has any experience with it. age 23, having night terrors for about 6 yrs.

  40. sam Reply

    i used to have nightmares as child. usually , a person on a stair way descending down. the person is at bottom, saying a sentence. each step they take they scream the sentence louder, and louder yet i can’t understand them. by 3 steps from me there screaming In my face something incomprehensible. i wake up terrified.

    recently, well.. every night for 4 nights now. i wake up likely 2am terrified of something. (hornets, rodents, spiders) various lifeforms i imagine near me. or last night, 4 corpses folding in half against spine (broken back) suddenly they snap their spines back all at same time, i suddenly wake up terrified, heart rate thru sky, i run into doorway by hall. and just stand there (1 min to 10, depending on kevel ou’d confusion), completely confused and terrified.

    it’s been occurring nightly now. I’m actually afraid to sleep. but, gives me a chance to be courageous.

    I’d like to try, NOT running in fear. dunno if that’s actually possible, SINCE we’re in a sleep state during terror .

  41. Cindy Reply

    Mine have just started. I’m 52. I’ve had nightmares ever since I can remember but this is different. Apparently, because I don’t remember a thing, I am screaming and fighting with “someone” almost every night. It’s scaring my partner. My stress level is pretty high at the moment so that may be attributing to the issue. I tried to get out of bed during one (again, I don’t remember) and fell hard. I cracked my shin on the bed frame and messed up my leg. I feel so bad for scaring Scott. He says he can’t calm me down. It might be time to see a doctor. Good luck to everyone.

  42. Lori Reply

    My son has had night terrors since he was young but now he is still having them as a young adult and it’s scary. He is 27 now and he is a pretty big guy, hefty and strong. Anyway, last night was an episode that really shocked me because it became a bit physical. The usual things is that he calls out my name in this horrible monster like voice, mom, mom screaming and turning all lights on including my bedroom light. His eyes are gazed over and dilulated and I ask him what’s wrong but he won’t answer he stares and I walk next to him and bring him back to his room. Then he usually just falls asleep almost immediately and doesn’t REMember anything. So last night I was watching tv in the living and his bedroom is right off the living area, I was standing getting ready to go to bed when I hear a loud screaming in that monster voice and he stomps hard off his bed and clumsily hear things falling in the way, he proceeds toward me and grabs my arm and says what r you doing why are you scaring me and I did not say much but I’m not scaring you. I then turned around to look at him and he had his fists at my face almost going to punch me. I said it’s me mom!!!! He finally snapped out of it. It was very scary and many of your stories are the same for me in the household. The people who don’t have them suffer just as much because you are always on alert for “an episode” to happen so you don’t fully sleep well. Anyway, thought you would want a by standers thoughts, it’s frightening and usually happens at least 2-3 a night or a week. It depends. Sometimes not for weeks. Then every night! I took him for sleep studies and they found nothing!!!! Go figure! These are real… I think post trauma has effected him . Thanks for all your posts. Oh he won’t take any meds either. Again thanks for all your input. Thought we were losing our minds..

  43. Dianna Reply

    ive always have had night mares as a child and they were very vivid i could always remember wakin up and screaming but sometimes i did this and did not remember a dream or anything but i know i screamed and cryed so much my facwe was wet and even my clothes but i couldnt tell you why but i felt sorrow in myheart my chest hurt and it kinda felt like anxiety, my doctor dignoised me at 31 with ptsd and when i explained this feel and the reoccuring dreams of the same situation that happen to me where i wittnessed a friend get murder he called it night terrors, now this explantation of night terrors arent what my doctor explained brought out from my ptsd becasue i remember the dream of waht happen, but what i dont remember is waking up all throught the night screamin and crying and yelling for help and etc, and never knew i was doing this until i started staying with my mother and and she said i would do that with complete fare in my face and eyes and i wouldnt remember ever doing that but i did remember jumping up crying right before i woke up and what i jumped up and cryed about like what the dreams were that made me jump up and wake up, but then as well there was times that i do wake up heart pounding scared of something tears streaming down my face and not having a dream that i could remember atleast, im not sure if im having night mares or night terrors could someone help me please?

  44. RunningWhileSleeping Reply

    I can relate to so many of the crazy stories in this feed. I have had night terrors since the age of eight. When I was a kid they were just screaming and bad dreams. As I got older they involved sleep walking, running and other crazy things. In college is when I first hurt myself by jumping off a bed in my sleep. Now that I am married I have injured my wife and myself and scare the living daylights out of neighbors and friends when I wake up screaming bloody murder. I went to several doctors and a psychiatrist, had an MRI, had a 72 he EEG, and tried every medication recommended by a parasomnia specialist at Mayo clinic. I even tried hypnotherapy ontheir reccommendation. I found Ambien/Zolpidem is the only thing that can knock me out enough that I don’t act out in deep rem sleep. Anyway life is tough with night terrors. Maybe I do have mental problems? I don’t feel anymore stressed than the next person though. The best results come from avoiding stress, no alcohol, caffeine or large meals before bed, have a light on near the room so I wake up faster and get regular exercise. I am 35. Good luck to you all and I feel your pain!!!

    • RunningWhileSleeping Reply

      I should add though that even with trying the above remedies I still have night terrors often and they come in fits where it will be every night, then not for a few weeks. No clear solution from my view. But lots of hilarious stories and sleep talking insanity…on the bright side.

  45. Anonymous Reply

    i just had an episode last night where i completely broke my head bored on my bed and walked around my room screaming fxxx this over and over hitting my head on my door… should i seek medical treatment… i’m a 14 year old male

  46. Paula Riggs Reply

    I also have Night Terror , I didn’t know that they had a direct link to sleep-walking. In the last three (3) years I have been caught sleep-walking by my BF and I will be out the door and we have an alarm system and apparently I used the code to go outside. I had my black, house cat in my arms and turned the porch light off , my BF came running with a baseball bat thinking someone was breaking in the house. That alone woke me . I also sleep eat and the reason I know this is because there is evidence lying around. I would sleep walk when I was a young teen-ager and my younger brother did too but he was much younger when he did. I also have a son that sleep-walked quite often and he would look like a zombie and didn’t answer me. I learned don’t wake a person sleep-walking just turn them towards their bed. Okay I had two siblings , both were brothers and both of them died within a month of each other, I was extremely close to the bother closest in age to Chris (2 1/2 years apart) I was and still am devastated. This when I began having Night Terrors , when they come I do know what I am in a panic about and I wake my BF and tell him what is going on and when I woke him I was talking the night terror out to him , He called the ambulance because of this and I don’t know for what reason but when I was taken to the ER all 3 times The doctors always thought everything was pointing to a stroke but never was . the neurologist said nothing is wrong so if it isn’t broke don’t fix it . All three times I ended up in the ER for 3-4 days each time , and each time my b/p was extremely high pulse was in the 100’s dehydrated, and still no sleep in the hospital. I go for atleast 3 days without sleep and if I wait and don’t get to the doctors office I land in the hospital again and the doctors don’t listen to what is told to them about the Night Terrors , and the way states are on prescribing controlled substances People can end up dying from extremely high blood pressure and pulse rate . I am at a loss to know what to do about these horrifying attacks. If it is because of the devastation of my brothers dying within one month apart I don’t know what to do and it certainly isn’t going to a group therapy/psychiatrist or therapist. I may have unresolved emotions about my brothers but I have had sleep-walking issues before this and the sleep-eating and I always have talked in my sleep as clear as if I was talking to someone , as I have been told. I feel like I am so exhausted from lack of sleep, and I fight sleep too because I fear of having another one , it feels like a double-edged sword. I know sleep problems of all kinds will interfere with day to day life and work. The stigma of “mental” health issues certainly keeps me from just saying nothing and I am very isolated from people except my BF of 17 years. He doesn’t understand because he isn’t subjected to these horrible NIGHT TERRORS .

  47. Jenny Dale Reply

    I can relate to Rosemary’s comment of waking to a boom! I always wake myself screaming and I’m usually convinced it’s the end of my life. I’ve always had night terrors but they’ve taken a turn over the last few months where I am physically crying when I wake myself up screaming and am overcome with sadness. I’m 43 with an unhappy marriage, stressful job and two teenagers. My husband says I must have mental health issues. I know my fear is in relation to death and a futuristic black hole of nothingness for me and those I love.

  48. Mellissa Reply

    Last I had a very fearful episode that left me dazed, confused once it passed. I even grabbed my phone to dial 911, but ended up calling my boyfriend instead. I was just falling asleep and al of a sudden I wake up in a state of fear and panic, throw the sheets off me and dart towards my bedroom door and into my kitchen. Breathing heavily in fear and my heart about to explode out of my chest. I start feeling like I’m going to pass out. My arms get tingly, hands were shaking, limbs feeling weak and tunnel vision closing in. I couldn’t find my boyfriends name in my phone (since I freaking out) so I manually remember to dial his number. I found myself thinking to run outside so someone can find me passed out and call 911 for me. Nobody was home when this happened. I have a 16 year old that was with his dad for the weekend. Finally I spoke with my boyfriend who was also terrified bc I never call him for anything. Sat in the dark and took slow deep breaths until my heart rate slowed to a normal beat. I was woken up in sheer fear! Running from something. It’s almost as if I were going to die and my body jolted up right before death. Terribly odd. I had a crazy stressful work day and long commute home, so I think that could have been my trigger. I was scared to fall back asleep and this morning I feel lethargic and depressed.

  49. Lauren Reply

    Hey guys I’ve been having these pretty frequently over the past few years and something silly that seems to work is wearing a sleep mask, having something covering my eyes keeps me from opening them in my sleep

  50. Susan Reply

    I am 24, and I started to experience night terrors and sleep walking around 18. My farther and two of my sisters have similar episodes. Some I remember, and some I do not. Usually they involve bugs in my bed or all over me! One particularly horrifying one involved a dog faced man chasing me around my room by smell. Whenever i turn on the light the images go away. Sometimes I wake up in different rooms or in a completely new outfit. I have apparently had conversation with people while asleep too. I am just wondering if there is someway to control these episodes or if I should go to a Dr!
    I don’t have any traumatic issues in my past, and I am pretty sure I don’t have anxiety or anything like that! Although I have night terrors more when I am stressed or in a new place!

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