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Introduction

Night terrors are medically referred to as Pavor Nocturnusand are a clinically diagnosed sleep disorder. Those who experience symptoms ofnight terrors should ask for medical help because it will improve the abilityto sleep and the overall quality of life. Night terrors are a condition inwhich a person experiences a sudden fearful occurrence in the sleep for noparticular reason. Night terrors can easily be confused for a bad nightmare andthose who experience them do not remember anything, have no clue what ishappening to them and see no reason why is it happening. If left untreated thecondition can worsen and become more frequent which ultimately disrupts thequality of life. Night terrors can be recognized by a few common symptoms andthey include no recollection of any nightmares or bad dreams whatsoever. Aperson wakes up suddenly with an extreme level of terror and fear.

As aconsequence of the sudden occurrence, a person is usually very afraid of goingback to sleep. Confusion, sweating, increased breathing and a faster heart rateare also common, and quite often a person wakes up screaming although unawarewhy the screaming happens. In most cases it is very difficult, if notimpossible to calm and comfort the terrified person. In some rare cases aperson may remember some images experienced in the dream, but it is usuallyonly for a short amount of time. When the next day comes a person has nomemory of the terrifying event at all.

Symptoms

The symptoms of night terrors usually occur during the firstthird of the night. They can last up to half an hour, but in most cases they donot last that long. When the symptoms disappear a person that falls back intonormal deeper sleep.

Night terrors are very common in children that are underfive years of age. If a child suffered from night terrors, it is very likelythat they will reoccur in the preadolescent period. In order to understand andrecognize the condition properly the parents must know the symptoms. The child usuallywakes up suddenly, does not respond to vocal instruction or touch and it isimpossible to establish any type of communication. The child wakes upfrightened screaming and thrashing around and after these symptoms he or sheeither goes back to sleep or stays awake and responsive.

One must know the difference between nightmares and nightterrors. Nightmares are reflections of one’s individual stress, emotionalstrain and daily impressions and they only occur during the REM sleep phase.Night terrors are not associated with any particular circumstance.

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