Health Tip: What is a Night Terror?

-- A night terror may cause a child to wake up sweating and screaming, and parents might think their child is having a "super" nightmare.

But a night terror is different from a nightmare, the Nemours Foundation says. It occurs while the child is in a deep sleep, and the child usually has no recollection of what caused the sudden outbreak of fear.

Night terrors are rare, affecting only 3 percent to 6 percent of children, the foundation says. It says common triggers of night terrors include:

  • Having a family member who had night terrors.
  • Having an immature central nervous system.
  • Being stressed out or over-tired.
  • Having a change in sleep environment, such as when spending the night away from home.
  • Being on a new medication.

Posted: December 2011


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