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whats the difference between night terrors and nightmare?

there is an active post on here asking about a 2 yr old and nightmares, someone responded there is a difference in terrors versus nightmares, regarding the timeframe. what is the difference between the two asides from the timeframe (she said terrors occur 1-2 hours after sleep, nightmares occur about 5 hrs)? my son has lately been waking up an hour or 2 after bedtime and he screams. we rock him back to sleep and once back in the crib he screams, but we leave him be for a few minutes and he falls back asleep for the rest of the night.


Asked by Owl_Feather at 2:13 PM on Aug. 25, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (5)
  • Then I'd say if he can recognize you and is aware, then what he had was a nightmare...I'm getting this from a friend who is a shrink and when my dd was doing thi(non-aware and terrified) that is what she told me the difference between a terror and a mare.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 2:23 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • Sounds like aterror. Nightmares seem to occur in the REM part of sleep I think.

    Answer by jenree33 at 2:14 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • Night terrors...they don't wake from them...they stare blankly while terrified and usualy if you pick them up, it will make the terrors more intense as they don't know it's you.

    Nightmares...they are awake and recognize you immediately

    Answer by Jademom07 at 2:16 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • oooh I see! anything else besides when they occur? like a nightMARE for example, might be a bad dream about monsters...would a nightTERROR be the same thing, but it just occurs earlier in sleep? I know sometimes when i'm falling asleep, it's literally a falling sensation and I wake up gasping. is that a night terror i'm having?

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 2:18 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • ok jademom...once I enter his room he stands right up wanting me to hold him as if he was in a panic state prior to me coming in.

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 2:19 PM on Aug. 25, 2009