Night terrors are episodes of intense screaming, fear, and moving without control while sleeping. It is an undesired occurrence during sleep. They usually last for a few minutes or seconds, but some may last longer. Children may have constant night terrors, which they ou grow over time, and adults can also have night terrors.
Night terrors causes
Following are some common causes of night terrors:
- Being tired or unwell
- Sudden noises while sleeping
- Wanting to urinate at night can affect your sleep
- Frightened, anxious, or worried about something that happened recently
- Certain medications
- Mental health conditions like PTSD
- Conditions like sleep apnoea or restless leg syndrome
- Brain conditions like dementia
Night terror in children
Often night terrors get better over time, but the following are some tips to prevent night terrors:
- Help them to have a relaxing routine for bedtime
- Track the causes with a sleep diary so that you can avoid them in future
- Try and deal with the things that cause them anxiety or stress
How to help people with night terrors
- Stay calm and wait for that person to cool down.
- talk to them.
- Don’t stop them from moving unless they risk hurting themselves.
- Don’t try and wake them up.
- If they have regular night terrors, note down the time and wake them up precisely 15 minutes prior every night for a week.
Night terrors treatments
Treatments depend on the reason behind the night terror. If you are having night terrors because of experiencing a traumatic event, a doctor will refer you to a psychologist for counseling.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022