Sleep Terrors are characterized by a sudden arousal from slow wave sleep with a piercing scream or cry, accompanied by autonomic (Controlled by the part of the nervous system that regulates motor functions of the heart, lungs, etc.) and behavioral manifestations of intense fear. Also known as Pavor Nocturnus, incubus, severe autonomic discharge, night terror.
What are the symptoms of Sleep Terrors?
A sudden episode of intense terror during sleep
The episodes usually occur within the first third of the night
Partial or total amnesia occurs for the events during the episode.
Associated features include:
Polysomnographic monitoring demonstrates the onset of episodes during stage 3 or 4 sleep
Tachycardia usually occurs in association with the episodes.
Other medical disorders are not the cause of the episode, e.g., epilepsy
Other sleep disorders can be present, e.g., nightmares.
How serious are Sleep Terrors?
Some people have episodes of sleep terror that may occur less than once per month, and do not result in harm to the patient or others. While some people experience episodes less than once per week, and do not result in harm to the patient or others. In its severest form, the episodes occur almost nightly, or are associated with physical injury to the patient or others. Consult a sleep specialist if you are concerned.
The materials provided at this site are for informational purposes and are not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional. Check with a physician if you suspect you are ill, or believe you may have one of the problems discussed on our website, as many problems and disease states may be serious and even life-threatening. Also note that while we frequently update our website's content, medical information changes rapidly.