|A night horror or night fears (Lat. Pavor nocturnus) is an unpleasant dream, characterized by the abrupt waking-up in a state of strong fear. A person sits on his bed or jumps-up, screams, swings his arms, walks in his room or in the apartment. Eyes are open widely, the heartbeat is quick, and the person sweats and shakes. Episodes can last from one minute to several minutes. At this point of time, it is very difficult to talk to the person since he does not realize the presence of other people. After some time, the person once again falls into sleep and as a rule he does not remember anything the next morning. Night terrors occur within one to four hours of sleeping, during the time when the deep sleeping phase dominates.
The difference between night terrors and nightmares:
It is not necessary to confuse a night horror with nightmares. Nightmares occur in the rapid-eye movement phase of sleep and usually have a complex scenario, the consequence of which is the sensation of fear experienced by the sleeper. Unlike nightmares, night terrors occur in the non-rapid eye movement phase of sleep, when dreams are almost not there.
Night horrors more often occur in preschool children and young schoolboys. The occurrence of night terrors in children is not due to deep psychological problems but because they can be disturbed more often during a phase of life filled with a turbulent emotional experience. Occasionally occurring night horrors are the norm; however, if night horrors occur almost every night of the week then it is necessary to consult a pediatrician. Never shout at the child nor try to wake him, shake him this will frighten him even more. Take him quietly to wash his face by holding his hand. Items and people in the room can appear frightening to the child. It is necessary to quietly make the child go back to sleep. Singing a song in a tender low voice and gently caressing the child’s head can be useful. Attempt to find out the child’s dream is of no use, after all, the child cannot recollect anything in the morning.
Night horrors occur much less in adults than in children. In many cases, night horrors indicate excitation, anxiety and aggression. The symptoms are precisely the same as in the case of children.