One of the few killjoys when it comes to sleeping, I must admit. Sleep expert Kiera Pritchard from Each Night Mattresses explains the differences between the two and offers tips on how to cope with night terrors when they occur.
Night terrors and nightmares are frequently mixed up. However, it is simple to distinguish between the two due to the timing and nature of each.
Night terrors are much more common in children than in adults, who are much less likely to experience them. On the other hand, both children and adults frequently experience nightmares.
Night terrors vs. nightmares
Nightmares are different from sleep terrors. A person who experiences a nightmare wakes up from the dream and may recall specifics, but a person who experiences a sleep terror episode does not. Children typically don’t remember their nighttime nightmares in the morning.
Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) (non-REM) are the two main categories of sleep. Typical nightmares happen during REM sleep.
According to the sleep foundation, REM sleep is characterized by heart rate acceleration, rapid eye movement, rapid breathing, and rapid eye movement behind closed eyes. When you are in REM sleep, your brain is very active and your brain waves become more erratic, in contrast to other stages of sleep when they slow down. And (non-REM) is deep sleep.
During Stage 3 of sleep, night terrors occur. Deep sleep occurs at this stage. It is more challenging to wake you up at this point, and if you are, you’ll probably feel confused for a while. and are believed to be brought on by an overstimulated central nervous system.
Your eyes are closed during stage 1 of sleep, but you are still easily roused. This stage might go on for five to ten minutes. Stage 2 of sleep is when you start to nod off. Both your heart rate and body temperature decrease. Your body’s getting ready for a restful sleep. This could go on for 10 to 25 minutes.
The majority of our dreaming happens in the last half of sleep, which is when nightmares typically happen. Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay
It is quite common for people to have no recollection of experiencing a night terror, while nightmares are typically easy to recall.
Someone experiencing a night terror will seem alert and awake even though they are still asleep. During a nightmare, there is no change in alertness, and you often cannot tell if someone is experiencing a nightmare.
But how do we cope with night terrors?