What is night sleep terror, its symptoms, and triggering factors

What is night sleep terror, its symptoms, and triggering factors


Night sleep terror is among the abnormal sleep disorders that occur at any age, especially night terror, which is more common between the ages of 1.5 and 10.


Sleep is one of the most basic needs of humans. Although sleep is important at any age, it is much more important in infancy and childhood, which is the most intense period of brain development. 30% of children and infants have sleep problems.




Symptoms of nighttime sleep terror manifest themselves, especially in the first stage of sleep. The following symptoms give us information about sleep terror at night.


Symptoms of nighttime sleep terror;

  • Sleep terror is very common between 1.5 and 10 years of age. In preschool children, the incidence is 40%.
  • Because it is in the first half of sleep, it occurs in the early hours of the night. 2-3 hours after the child sleeps, screaming or crying in fear, sits in his bed. His eyes are open, but the gaze is blank and dull. This process can take from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
  • Because it is in the heavy part of sleep, in the morning the child does not remember it (if he/she is not awakened). Daytime sleep may be recommended, as it can increase when you are very tired.
  • Again, programmed wake-up can also sometimes work. This causes families a lot of anxiety, but it is easy to treat.
  • As a result of insomnia, there are problems in the person's attention and learning processes, and memory loss can be observed.
  • Night sleep terror, children's Development School, and social lives are negatively affected. For this reason, it is recommended to take children to a specialist so that they can be diagnosed with sleep disorders that are easy to treat.


Sleep terror at night, doctor's warning to parents who complain that children wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying; ‘there may be discomfort called sleep terror that your children experience’


Nighttime sleep terror appears more often, usually between the ages of 2-6, and can last up to 4-5 years. Sleep terror is a common problem in childhood. Nighttime sleep terror occurs early in nighttime sleep. Families describe the terror of sleeping at night as ‘their eyes are fearful, panicked open and screaming’. Signs of an autonomous system are present, such as rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and sweating. Although the child's eyes appear open in the terror of sleep at night, he seems confused and does not recognize those who are next to him. Typical night terrors can last 5-15 minutes, after which the child returns to normal sleep.



A person who experiences sleep terror at night has an expression of fear on his face and often sits in bed with sweating, frequent breathing, and palpitations, sometimes straightening up and starting to walk. These episodes occur during deep sleep and mostly in the first half of the night and are not remembered by the person. A person who experiences sleep terror at night does not hear what is being said and may try to walk away. These episodes can sometimes last up to 20 minutes. It is more common in children than in adults, and as age increases, the frequency of appearance decreases. Stress, certain medications, and sleep breathing disorders can trigger sleep terror.

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