Some people remember that they had a night terror the next morning.
On the other hand, most sleepers have no memory of the night terror when they wake up.
Fever - Prolonged periods of high fever due to illness can result in a night terror.
Sleep deprivation - Long periods without sleep can result in a night terror when the person is finally able to fall asleep.
Medications - Some medications are formulated to cause a chemical reaction in the brain, which in turn, can result in a night terror.
Up to six percent of all children experience the night terror disorder.
What causes night terrors can vary from the stress felt by a three year old during a family divorce to a medication-induced night terror in an adult.
While experiencing the night terror the child is extremely disoriented and may stare straight ahead, eyes wide open, with the dark centers (pupils) enlarged.
The night terror may last from one to 15 minutes or more and is usually followed by a return to deep sleep.
Parents should not attempt to awaken a child experiencing a night terror.
Unusually heavy or spicy meals should be avoided before bedtime as indigestion might act as a trigger for night terror arousals.
Some pediatricians suggest that parents maintain a sleep diary and observe the child throughout several night terror episodes, noting the amount of time following sleep when the night terror begins.
After the sleep-wake pattern is determined, a series of 15-20 minutes prior to the usual occurrence of the night terror and keep the child awake and out of bed for a full five minutes.
The night terror might be triggered by a full bladder.
Assisting the child to the toilet prior to bedtime and even during the course of a night-terror might be beneficial in reducing reoccurrence.
The screaming, flailing, and kicking that accompany a night terror may frighten parents who fear the child is having a seizure.
A child experiencing a night terror will be difficult to awaken or comfort, will not recognize her parent or caretaker, and will usually have no memory of the terrifying emotions that caused the sleep disturbance.
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