What makes the monster under the bed look like a fuzzy puppy? Sleep Terror; the main reason is that the monster under the bed doesn’t really exist but Sleep Terrors do.
Pavor Nocturnus shouldn’t be confused with nightmares, they aren’t dreams and in fact happen during stage 3 or 4 of NREM sleep. An estimated 1 to 6% of children experience night terrors in their lifetime, usually between the ages of 4 and 12. They also occur in about 1% of adults between the ages of 20 and 30.
The symptoms of sleep terror are very similar to the physical symptoms of extreme fear; rapid heartbeat, sweating, and hyperventilation. A persons heart rate can increase up to two to four times their regular rate.
People experiencing sleep terror are not fully awake and are nearly impossible to bring to consciousness. Sometimes they are violent having elaborate motor activity, such as thrashing of limbs — which may include punching, swinging, or fleeing motions. In many cases, once the episode is over the person returns to sleep without ever fully waking. People often do not recall the episode after waking normally, although there may be a residual sense of fear. I imagine that anyone who witnesses these events would be the one traumatized, I would be and. in fact, it’s hard for me to watch the videos.
The average sleep terror episode lasts less than 15 minutes. Usually only one episode occurs per night, but in some cases terror episodes occur in clusters. The symptoms of Sleep Terrors are similar in adults and children but treatments vary. Diazepam (Valium) has been used to treat sleep terror with varying degrees of success but there is little evidence that medications are useful in treating the condition.
Sleep Terrors might be linked to diet, stressful events and sleep deprivation. There was no connection found between Sleep Terrors and mental illness, but may be associated with hypoglycemia. Sufferers have many characteristics of depression such as self-directed anger, passivity, anxiety, impaired memory and high tolerance to pain.
Sleep Terrors often decrease with age which is most likely due to a reduced amount of slow-wave sleep and why such a small percentage of adults suffer from the disorder.
With a higher percentage of Sleep Terror sufferers being children, it’s no wonder that stories of boogeyman, monsters under the bed, Freddie Kruger are so scary to them. Halloween is just around the corner so Night Terrors may very well become real.