Nightmares vs Night Terrors
Nightmares and Night Terrors are two types of sleep disturbances that can leave a person feeling exhausted and anxious. Although both can be unsettling experiences, nightmares and night terrors differ in their causes, symptoms, and treatments. In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two types of sleep disturbances.
Nightmares are vivid and disturbing dreams that often involve fear, anxiety, and intense emotions. They usually occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the stage of sleep when the brain is most active and vivid dreams are most likely to occur. Nightmares can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, anxiety, trauma, and certain medications.
Symptoms of nightmares may include sweating, rapid heartbeat, and feelings of fear or anxiety upon awakening. People who experience frequent nightmares may also have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Children are more likely than adults to have nightmares, and they may occur more frequently during times of stress or significant life changes.
Treatment for nightmares may involve addressing any underlying causes of stress or anxiety, such as therapy or medication. Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, may also help reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares.
Night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, are a type of parasomnia that causes intense fear and terror during sleep. Unlike nightmares, which occur during REM sleep, night terrors occur during non-REM sleep, usually in the first few hours after falling asleep.
During a night terror, the person may sit up in bed, scream, and appear to be in a state of panic. They may also thrash around and appear to be sweating or breathing heavily. Despite appearing to be awake, people experiencing a night terror are actually still asleep and unaware of their surroundings.
Night terrors are more common in children than adults, and they may occur more frequently in people who are sleep deprived or have an underlying sleep disorder.
Treatment for night terrors may involve addressing any underlying causes of sleep disruption, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine before bed, may also help reduce the frequency and intensity of night terrors. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of night terrors.
Nightmares and Night Terrors are two types of sleep disturbances that can cause significant distress and anxiety. While nightmares are vivid and disturbing dreams that occur during REM sleep, night terrors are a type of parasomnia that causes intense fear and panic during non-REM sleep. Treatment for these conditions may involve addressing any underlying causes of stress or sleep disruption, practicing good sleep hygiene, and in some cases, medication. If you or someone you know is experiencing frequent nightmares or night terrors, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.
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