Sleep terrors

Common Name(s)

Sleep terrors, Night terrors

Sleep terrors, also known as night terrors, are episodes of intense fear, thrashing or screaming while asleep. Symptoms of sleep terrors usually have to be seen by someone watching the affected individual sleep. Sleep terrors are most common in children ages 3 to 12 years, but can also affect adults. Children usually do not remember anything about their sleep terrors, but adults may recall a part of the dream they had. During a sleep terror, an individual may sit up in bed, scream, kick and thrash, sweat, and be hard to awaken. Even though sleep terrors seem alarming, they typically do not cause harm to the affected person. Sleep terrors have many causes, including not having enough sleep, stress, fever in children, lights, or even an overfull bladder. They can also be caused by other conditions, such as sleep-disordered breathing (obstructive sleep apnea), migraines and head injuries. Risk factors include having a family history of sleep terrors and having anxiety or depressive disorders.

A diagnosis of sleep terrors is usually made by a doctor based on the description of events. A physical or psychological exam may be used to find conditions that may be causing the sleep terrors. A sleep study (polysomnography) may be ordered if your doctor cannot diagnose sleep terrors based on the description alone, or if a person might have sleep-disordered breathing as the cause. A sleep study is a test that is performed in a sleep lab and uses sensors placed on the head and body to record brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing, and eye movements. Treatment is not usually necessary for sleep terrors, especially if they are infrequent. Treatment options for frequent night terrors include improving sleep habits, decreasing stress and medications. If you or your child is experiencing sleep terrors, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Sleep terrors" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Sleep terrors" returned 7 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Scalp and Source Power Topography in Sleepwalking and Sleep Terrors: A High-Density EEG Study.
 

Author(s): Anna Castelnovo, Brady A Riedner, Richard F Smith, Giulio Tononi, Melanie Boly, Ruth M Benca

Journal:

 

To examine scalp and source power topography in sleep arousals disorders (SADs) using high-density EEG (hdEEG).

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Sleep terrors antecedent is common in adolescents with migraine.
 

Author(s): Libânia Melo Nunes Fialho, Ricardo Silva Pinho, Jaime Lin, Thais Soares Cianciarullo Minett, Maria Sylvia de Souza Vitalle, Mauro Fisberg, Mario Fernando Prieto Peres, Luiz Celso Pereira Vilanova, Marcelo Rodrigues Masruha

Journal: Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2013 Feb;71(2):83-6.

 

Migraines and sleep terrors (STs) are highly prevalent disorders with striking similarities. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the antecedent of STs by comparing adolescents suffering from migraines with healthy controls in a large consecutive series.

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Dreamlike mentations during sleepwalking and sleep terrors in adults.
 

Author(s): Delphine Oudiette, Smaranda Leu, Michel Pottier, Marie-Annick Buzare, Agnès Brion, Isabelle Arnulf

Journal: Sleep. 2009 Dec;32(12):1621-7.

 

Sleep terrors and sleepwalking are described as arousals from slow wave sleep with no or poor mental recollection.

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Sleep terrors" returned 0 free, full-text review articles on human participants.

 
 
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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Pain Sensitivity in NREM Parasomnia (NOCISOMNIE)
 

Status: Not yet recruiting

Condition Summary: NREM Parasomnia; Sleepwalking; Sleep Terror

 

Last Updated: 14 Sep 2016

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