Documenting & Researching Night Terrors

Posts tagged “night terrors

Does it feel like you were just hit by a truck? You probably were.

One of the many stressers of night terrors is feeling the after effects of your dream. I know for myself that there are times when my dream causes me physical pain and when I awake in the morning I still feel the pain.

Some years ago I had dreams that I was running far away from something and when I got to a set of stairs, kept on falling and could not make it up the stairs. Every morning when I woke up the tops of my legs hurt and upon inspection I found multiple bruises on them. One night I awoke in the middle of my dream and found myself walking repeatedly into the desk in my room. This now made sense, the bruises were in perfect alignment with the top of my desk.

Recently I have been having dreams that I am rock climbing (without support or equipment) and fall off in a crushing blow to the ground. I do not die and sustain no injuries. However even in my dream I feel the wind knocked out of me and my body is aching in pain. When I awake in the morning I feel the same way, as though the wind has been knocked out of me and my body is quite sore with cramping in places like my neck, colar bone, back, rib cage, fronts of shins and the sides of my thighs. I have to admit, the scariest things I have ever seen have taken place in my dreams alone, and after many years of watching reruns and going through the same horror, sometimes I wake up panicked and frightened and other times just annoyed and angry that I had to dream at all. The pain issue is by far the most annoying effect of it all.

I was reading that waking with numbness can be due to lack of circulation, more so in feet, toes, fingers and hands. I admit I have woken in some Olympic winning positions and one side of my body will be completely numb. I know though, and can feel, that I have been laying on that particular limb or side of my body for extended periods of time. But what is it that makes you feel like you’ve been hit by truck in your dream and feel the affects when you awake?

I have been researching the appropriate medical term for this. As far as I have come I have read that when you dream of physical pain/hurt in your dream and awake with the pain it is due to physical/muscle recall. For myself I have been hit twice by a Ford150, so I am experienced with the crushing pain one can experience from it. From this I would currently gather that falling from a cliff has triggered muscle memory and psychophysical recall causing me pain. But even with this explanation, it’s very limited and only answers 15% of my questions. Surely there must be a medical/formal term for this no?¬†Unfortunately¬†I do only have limited resources to me as I am not a doctor nor do I have a crystal ball unto my path. But if I find or come up with anything else, I’ll be sure to post.

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Night Terrors Are Genetically Inherited, Study Finds

I realize that this primarily covers children’s issues with night terrors, but never the less an update on the issue.

By Tudor Vieru, Science Editor

1st of December 2008, 10:07 GMT

A new research, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, showed that genetics played a very important role in the onset of night terrors in children aged under 18 months. The results were obtained after researchers at Montreal’s Sacre-Coeur Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, in Canada, studied 390 twin pairs, both identical and fraternal.

However, Dr. Bich Hong Nguyen’s team failed to identify the exact genes that trigger these manifestations, which often end up with children waking up in screams. This kind of terrors were proven to be more likely to appear in identical twins, seeing how their genetic make-up is very similar, and that they grow under the same circumstances throughout their childhood.
This closeness that identical twins display led scientists to believe that environmental factors could be at work to trigger these episodes. But further studies of fraternal, or dizygotic, twins revealed that they also experienced similar behavior, though they were living separately and shared very little experiences in common. Having noticed that, the researchers hypothesized that genetic factors can also play an essential role in such conditions as sleepwalking and sleep talking.

“The onset of sleep terrors is abrupt and frightening, usually sudden arousal with screaming. During these events children seem confused and disoriented. Any attempt to awaken them may increase their agitation and prolong their episode,” reads the recently-published paper, where the researchers try to distinguish between night terrors and nightmares. They also say that, in the kids they observed, most pairs seemed to move past night terrors when they were 30-months old.

Nightmares are usually remembered the next morning, and people tell their stories all the time. But terrors are mostly a thing of the subconscious, the researchers say, and could represent an outbreak of our ancestral brain, similar to that which causes most children, and even grown-ups, to fear the dark.