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Definition of Night Terror

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Updated February 18, 2014

Definition: Typically affecting young children, a night terror is an emotional sleep disturbance that may involve anxiety, panic, gasping, moaning, or screaming. Unlike nightmares, these episodes occur in non-rapid eye movement (REM) or slow-wave sleep. The individual is not fully conscious and typically does not remember the episode in the morning. It is one of the parasomnias.
Also Known As: Parvor nocturnus, Sleep terror
Examples:
My son had night terrors when he was young. It was very frightening because he would suddenly be screaming and crying uncontrollably.
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