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What exactly are night terrors?

Just wondering. I've always heard the term thrown around with babies, but I never knew what it meant.


Asked by caitxrawks at 11:56 PM on Jan. 23, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (3)
  • The only way for a parent to know which is happening to their child is... is the child aware you are there?
    With a nightmare, the child wakes up and is looking for you for comfort. When you walk in the room, they see you and want to be with you. You calm them down, they go back to sleep.
    With a night terror, the child never wakes up. She may be sitting up in bed, her eyes may be open, she may be screaming but when you walk in the room she doesn't see you and doesn't turn to you for comfort. This should be treated like sleep-walking - you stay nearby to make sure she doesn't hurt herself, you can softly say things like "it's ok, mommy's here" but you shouldn't wake her. Eventually, she will lay down and go back to full sleep.

    No one really knows what causes either. Stress, being overtired, and eating too big a dinner to close to bedtime have been linked to both.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:37 AM on Jan. 24, 2009

  • Okay I'm not sure, but this is MY understanding of them:
    A night terror is like a nightmare that turns ugly. A person will usually "wake" suddenly, wake up sweating, screaming etc. Its kind of like they are in almost a "sleepwalk" state of mind and they don't remember the sweating, screaming or shaking the next day!
    If I recall correctly it night terrors can be very severe and people can start hallucinating yet they are sleeping???

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:05 AM on Jan. 24, 2009

  • a night terror is a nightmare that takes place in stage 3 or 4 of sleep. not REM sleep

    Answer by aliciatron at 12:09 AM on Jan. 24, 2009