Night Terror

by admin Feb 28, 2006 16 Comments

Filed under: Dharma,Knowledge

Night terror, recently I had a chance to observe this phenomenon, which I had never heard of or seen before. A friend’s ten month old son woke up from his sleep crying, there was this look of terror in his eyes, and there was nothing we could do to calm him down. Eventually he stopped, after a good 10 mintues of crying, but it was confusing and new to us. Later, we learned that what he had gone through was a night terror.

It seems, night terrors can occur in about 3% of children between ages of three and five, and sometimes in children as young as 9 months. There is not a lot of information out there on what really is scaring the children who experience night terror, other than information on what happens after the fact. From what I could find, a night terror occurs during deep sleep, which is different from a nightmare, which occurs during a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

What is puzzling to me is what does a ten month old child dream about or see, that causes them such terror and fear?, especially when an episode can last up to thirty minutes! Could they be seeing something from a past life? Or could it be images from a memory they inherited genetically from everyone who came before them? Or is it the creation of a mind still learning to paint a picture in the mind’s eye? We can only speculate on this, as there is no way to know what a ten month old child is dreaming when they experience a night terror.


  • the little endian

    Feb 28, 2006 | 10:02 pm

    I guess thats where all the ‘boogeyman’ stories come from.

  • Alvin

    Mar 1, 2006 | 10:24 pm

    Hi KarmaDude! A little off the point, but I just wanted to say your site looks terrific from when I first visited! Looking good!

  • KarmaDude

    Mar 1, 2006 | 11:10 pm

    Thank you Alvin, now only if I can stop myself from constantly evolving it! It has been an exciting journey so far with this blog, and comments like yours provide the fuel to keep on going.

  • ij

    Mar 3, 2006 | 11:03 pm

    Back to the topic -do only small children experience night terror? I remember some night mares that I had as a child very vividly, but I gather from your post that night terrors are different?

    Weirdest thing is -google ads picked up on this story immediately! Now THAT is eerie!

  • KarmaDude

    Mar 4, 2006 | 12:23 pm

    IJ, according to the medical encyclopedia:

    It can occur in adults, especially with emotional tension and/or the use of alcohol

    I wonder if it’s a case of adults not reporting night terrors as frequently as it’s reported, in the case of children.

    As a child, the only nightmare I can remember is that of falling. But recently I woke up from a dream where I thought I was dead, and it felt like I could not wake myself up for a long time. It was a strange dream, and I am not sure whether it was a nightmare or a night terror. It will be interesting to learn about nightmares or night terrors others remember from childhood.

    As for google ads, they were starting to bother me, and your comment finally made me take them out, except the one on the individual post page. I feel they are a distraction for the readers.

  • Michelle

    Jan 6, 2008 | 1:43 pm

    They have documented cases on children with night terrors and links to past lives… One case involves a 4 yr. that has night terrors and as his parents ask him Q’s while in this state (are you alright ?, are you hurt ? ) the child claims he was in ww2, it was this case that incuraged me to ask my child Q’s while in his night terrors.
    My son has had these ( night terrors )his whole life, he is now thirteen and he claims he was in the hindenburg! he used to call it a blimp when he was younger( 6-7). The details came out the older he’s gotton… very twilight zoneish, I’m still doing research on this Michelle

  • Danielle

    Jan 31, 2008 | 6:41 pm

    Hey Karmadude,

    I used to have night terrors. They started at 6 days old. According to my mother I would scream for a full fifteen minutes every night at precisely midnight.

  • Kerry

    Mar 11, 2008 | 5:32 am

    My son, aged 8, has had night terrors intermittently from when he was about 4. The difference between night terrors and nightmares is that they don’t remember anything the next day. My son, although he knows I am there for him, as I am quietly talking to him and trying to soothe him, is terrified and tries to silence me by putting his hand over my mouth and saying shush. He says the most disturbing things, but mostly it is not something we can understand. I am not certain he is not speaking in another language, but I am a bit doubtful. He has said, ‘it hurts’ and his last night terror he very disturbingly said, ‘just kill me’. I was stunned. It has made me even more convinced that it is something he has experienced in a past life.

  • Ben

    May 21, 2008 | 5:47 am

    I am curretnly 29 years old. I had night terrors regularly from a very early age (1 year) right up until I was about 13 or 14, by which time they were so often I was finally taken to a doctor by my mother. I quite often would never remember what had happened the night before but from my mothers descriptions it sounded l hellish for both of us. I can however, remember some of them and what I would see…with absolute terror. I recall being walked down our hall way to try and snap me out of it and seeing a group of rugged men at our kitchen table ripping meat off the bone and they were there as real as my mum holding my hand and evoked pure feelings of terror. I could write pages about these things as I’ve spent years wondering what they were all about. Occaisionally they would happen in the middle of the day in the split second of a blink of the eye….they seemed to come less and less and my last one was probably about 5 years ago now. But I too believe the whole past life thing could very well be a big part of it.
    Night night.

  • Gale

    Sep 5, 2008 | 5:18 am

    What Ben wrote on March 11th corresponded the best with my son’s night terrors. It’s been happening almost every night now and my son is 11. He used to stay in bed but now he gets out of bed and will be standing, shaking, sweaty and mumbling a different language. You can’t understand anything except once in a while, while I’m trying to console him, he’ll say, “I love you, Mom.” He won’t let me touch him, and he’ll be rocking back and forth. It’s as though he is looking at something, wide-eyed, that just TERRIFIES him!
    My husband thinks he’s a “freak” and will shout at him, turn on the lights as bright as they go, and nothing will wake him out of this horrible phase. He doesn’t remember anything after the fact.

  • Srikanth

    Oct 20, 2008 | 3:46 am


    you have a nice site, maybe later on you can email me on what theme for wordpress you are using.

    coming back to topic, my son is facing night terrors. the longest one he ever had was yesterday where he screamed for 45 mins with eyes closed, then he woke up dazed, and then screamed off and on for another 30 mins. both of us parents were terrified, and took him to a hospital where they gave him a bit of sedative syrup and made him sleep. as usual morning he does not remember the events.

    he is one year old and i am going mad to find out what to do to get this cured. every paedratician i ever meet only says, it will go away with age. which does not solve my problem at all.

    one suggestion was to give vitamins daily morning and that helped a bit. possibly it was a problem of not getting into the right state at sleep time. (sleep disorders types) but i m still hunting for a solution.

  • KarmaDude

    Oct 25, 2008 | 5:51 am

    @srikanth, the theme on is a custom one which I designed.

    Night terrors do go away with time. The kid I mention in the post, who is around three now, does not get it anymore.

  • Andrew

    Nov 4, 2008 | 9:47 am

    Maybe they also experiance the sinking evil feeling….
    The way i get it is..

    I kinda feel like I wake up…I can tell I’m consious cause I can identify the way I’m positioned in my room.

    When its bad…I feel like I’m sinking into a dark evil void…And i have a massive loud vibration/sound in my ear…

    The only way to discribe it is…It feels like evil its its most pure form…is trying to steal my soul….

    and drag it to the dark black void…that has no bottem I havn’t gone far down…but i know it gets harder an harder to get out of…

  • Deanna

    Nov 25, 2008 | 8:39 am

    My now 8 year old son has been having night terrors since he was about 2. When he was younger he would sleep walk around the house. We had to put gates up so he would not fall down the stairs and hurt himself. He even had terrors during the day at nap time. It scares the heck out of my husband and I. It’s like he’s in the middle of a battle yelling and screaming. My husband who does not believe in the super natural at all fell asleep in his room while tucking him in. He woke in the middle of the night and was stricken with fear , there were lights moving around the room. He tried to debunk them (looking out side for cars going by and such) nothing. My husband is now convinced that something is in my sons room and is no longer a disbeliever.

  • Amy

    Jan 28, 2009 | 8:11 am

    My son is 8 yrs old and has had night terrors since he was about 2. We have spoken to dr.s several times about this and always got the same responce..It will go away on its own. My son can have several terrors in one night and for several days in a row. He has bad nightmares almost on a daily basis as well. After several years my pediatrician finally agreed it there was more to it than just a “normal ” case of night terrors. He was put on Vistiril as a short term remedy. On the night he takes his medication he sleeps so soundly. No night terrors and rarely nightmares. Unfortuneatly it is only used short term so his dr only lets him take it every other night. On his off nights it is pure hell for everyone in the house. When he does have terrors he is drenched in sweat, shaking and speaks in broken sentences. He make no sence at all. He will look at me or behind me with such fear that you can help but believe that the devil himself is right behind me. I can only hope that he will out grow this. He is supposedly at the age where he starts to out grow this “condition”, but for me it seems to be getting worse. He now has alot of anxiety and fears that start up as soon as the sun starts to go down.

  • jake!

    Jan 18, 2010 | 10:59 am

    I hate night terrors I have them every night it feels snakes are slithering all over me I hate sleep!!!

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