Nightmares and night terrors, parasomnias most common

Written by: Dr. Diego García-Borreguero Díaz-Varela
Published: | Updated: 16/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders formed by all those alterations of the patient's behavior while sleeping. Nightmares and night terrors are some of the most common parasomnias.


The nigthmares

Nightmares are a very common disorder in childhood, affecting between 10% and 50% of children between 3 and 6 years of age. Occur during REM sleep , in the second half of the night. These are dreams with terrifying content that awaken those who suffer from them. This awakening occurs rapidly and moderate agitation is experienced, with palpitations and an increase in respiratory rate. Normally the subject remembers the content of the dream.

If the nightmares are very intense and appear frequently, they have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of the patient. Although they are more common in childhood they can also occur in adulthood. In this case, stress and traumatic episodes make them worse. In the treatment of the disorder techniques of relaxation and confrontation to the content of the nightmare are used. The problem can subside in a short space of time if the process is actively followed.

parasomnia nightmares
Nightmares and night terrors are some of the most common parasomnias and are frequent in childhood 


The night terrors

Night terrors are also frequent in childhood, between 3 and 5 years. They usually disappear once they reach adolescence, being uncommon in adults.

Children who suffer from the disorder wake up in phases III and IV of sleep, during the first third of the night. The awakening is accompanied by a loud scream and, unlike in nightmares, occurs in a state of confusion. In addition, there are signs of more intense autonomic activation, such as tachycardia and sweating.. The parents will come to the child's aid when they hear their screams and will notice that they are not aware of what happened and have difficulties in responding to them. Unlike in nightmares, the content of the dream is not remembered in the morning.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Diego García-Borreguero Díaz-Varela

International reference in Movement Disorders during sleep, Dr. Garcia-Borreguero is a neurologist expert and specializes in sleep disorders psychiatrist. With over 20 years of experience, currently coordinates the multidisciplinary team at the Institute of Sueno, reference center for research, disclosure and treatment of various pathologies of sleep. Author of more than 100 international publications, teaches and lectures in Europe, USA and Asia, also is one of the opinion leaders of the movement disorders during sleep.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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