Night Terrors?

Night terrors, or sleep terrors, are a parasomnia, or undesired and abnormal behavior that occurs during sleep. Night terrors are distinctly different from nightmares, although they are such a rare issue that they aren’t well understood and are therefore often mistaken for bad dreams. Here’s a look at how night terrors happen and what some of the potential causes may be.

Exactly what instigates sleep terrors is difficult to pinpoint. There does, however, seem to be a significant genetic link to night terrors — a family history of sleep terrors means you are more likely to experience them. Additionally, a variety of medical conditions may impact the presence of night terrors. Hyperthyroidism, migraines, restless leg syndrome, sleep-disordered breathing (such as obstructive sleep apnea), fevers in childhood, encephalitis, and head injuries may all be causes of night terrors. Being extremely tired or not getting enough sleep may cause night terrors, as can sleeping in a new environment or with excessive lights and noise.

Stress can be a major cause of night terrors. While less than 2% of adults experience this particular parasomnia, it can develop in those who have a history of some mental illnesses. Sleepwalking and other parasomnias are often paired with night terrors, in fact, some people sleepwalk during periods of night terror. In large part, things that disrupt the way the brain functions or a predisposition for parasomnias seem to be the most common culprits for sleep terrors.

Featured Image SourceThinkstock / klebercordeiro

Posted on November 20, 2017


  • heartburn

    Heartburn Management

    Acid reflux is a condition where the acid in the stomach gets back to the esophagus. When this occurs, the affected person will experience “burning” sensation in the chest...
  • Headache

    Headache Types

    A headache is one of the most common types of health symptoms experienced by almost everyone at some point in their lives. On average, most headaches are not very...
  • Syphilis

    Syphilis: Causes, Stages, and Treatment

    WHAT IS SYPHILIS It is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It can present itself in several clinical manifestations and different stages. This disease is...
  • herpes test

    Herpes Test

    Genital herpes is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in North America. Despite its prevalence, most people are unaware of their status. In a majority of...