Sleep Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about sleep.

What are night terrors?

Night terrors are a kind of scary dream common in children, according to the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP). These dreams happen during deep sleep, usually between about 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.

When children have night terrors, they typically wake up screaming, according to the AAFP. Other signs could include sweating, heavy and fast breathing, and the child’s pupils – the black in the middle of the eyes – sometimes look larger than normal.

The child can still be asleep, having the night terror even if his or her eyes are open. It might be difficult to wake the child, and he or she might be confused or not answer when asked about what’s wrong, according to the AAFP.

Night terrors can last as long as 10 to 20 minutes, and children with night terrors usually don’t remember that they happened, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Talk to your doctor for more information about night terrors.

Learn more:

Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Mansi Amin, MD, SureCare Medical Center; Irina Gendler, MD, Troy Primary Care Physicians; Aaron Kaibas, DO, Upper Valley Cardiology; Christopher Lauricella, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Angela Long-Prentice, MD, Northwest Dayton Physicians; Erin Mathews, MD, Vandalia Medical Center; Katrina Paulding, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Melinda Ruff, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Tammy Taylor, MD, The Pediatric Group; Pam Werner, MD, Miami Valley Primary Care; J. Layne Moore, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Mark Ringle, MD, Beavercreek Family Physicians

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