Monday, December 8, 2008

Night Terrors

I know, this sounds like something I should post about during October. Sorry. This wasn't in our house during October. We'll call it, "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Oh, wait! That one's been used. So, we'll stick with what we've got.

"A night terror is characterized by extreme terror and a temporary inability to regain full consciousness. The subject wakes abruptly from slow-wave sleep, with waking usually accompanied by gasping, moaning, or screaming. It is often impossible to fully awaken the person, and after the episode the subject normally settles back to sleep without waking. A night terror can rarely be recalled by the subject. They typically occur during non-rapid eye movement sleep.
Night terrors are distinct from nightmares in several key ways. First, the subject is not fully asleep when the night terror occurs. Unlike nightmares, which are frequently dreams of a frightening nature, night terrors are not recalled dreams. Usually there is no situation or event (scary or otherwise) that is dreamed, but rather the emotion of fear itself is felt. Often, this is coupled with tension and apprehension without any distinct sounds or visual imagery, although sometimes a vague object of fear is identified by the sufferer. These emotions, generally without a focusing event or scenario, increase emotions in a cumulative effect. The lack of a dream itself leaves those awakened from a night terror in a state of disorientation much more severe than that caused by a normal nightmare."

So, for those of you wondering why I would post such a definition, I'll let you know that Layla has been having 'night terrors.' Lovely, I know. She's experienced them nearly five times in the past couple weeks. She starts screaming and will often make it out into the hall and just stand there. The other night I actually had to take her face in my hands and, speaking VERY loudly, tell her to wake up and that it would be all right. Her eyes were glazed over, so I knew she didn't really see me and my comforting wasn't doing any good. Once she finally woke up, she didn't remember what happened to get her in my arms. And when she woke the next morning, she didn't remember it at all. It was fairly bizzar. But night terrors are typically genetic, (Shane's mom and her siblings have them) and most people grow out of them by the time they're 12. So I guess we'll just wait and see. Until then, I'll plan to wait until after 10 to go to bed!


Amy said...

That's scary. Abby used to wake a lot with screaming. I'm not sure if it was night terrors, but it kind of sounds like it. I hope you all can get better sleep soon.

THE BOWMAN'S said...

Yuck, that's no fun. I'm glad that she doesn't remember it though. Your tree looks beautiful!