Documenting & Researching Night Terrors

Posts tagged “sleep

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.


Scooby Doo & the Art of Coping Part II

Coping is a survival tool that helps us to manage situations when we are faced with high stress, anxiety, physical exertion, illness, grief, fear and confusion. Coping means different things to people but one thing we can all agree on is it’s a step towards altering the mechanics of the situation. For some people coping means doing something and ‘barely getting by’, or to others it is managing the present. But by changing our view, emotions or cycle of problem solving we are a step closer to finding a productive way of solving and bringing closure to the issue.

To me, coping is an action both physical and mental that is carried out in the form of a goal oriented task or cognitive process that lessons the physical stress and relieves the psychological stress from the self enabling a state of conscious present, awareness to promote problem solving focusing on the significant details of the issue in order to bring closure as quickly as possible.

As fancy as that may sound, sometimes gorging on a cheesecake is a fine coping skill that suits me just well. =)

Other times it is more like a coping plan of action that includes elaborate things like grocery shopping, eating, clothes shopping, manicures, pedicures, grooming, girls night out, eating, taking naps and long walks, luxurious bubble baths, eating and bakery shopping. (yes, like clothes shopping, bakery shopping gets its own category because I love going to bakeries more than anything).

It’s very important that you find what coping method works best for you. Sometimes my night terrors are so bad I just want to spend the morning crying or curled up in my bed in fetal position gnawing on my blanket but I can’t because I have bills to pay and unfortunately VISA doesn’t let me pay in magical dream coins (which have yet to be invented 😉 ) so it’s a rough morning, and because I have to be cheery, friendly and helpful at work it turns into a rough day because of the amount of energy it takes to fulfill social standards. With this energy consumed and having to shelf my fear and anxiety it becomes suppressed and lays dormant, but only for so long. With these things happening it feels like your basic needs aren’t being met and it drives you bonkers!

My own coping methods that seem to work quite well are:

1) Scooby Doo & the old Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers (they are low stress, low drama, funny and predictable)

2) Grooming (bubble baths, eyebrows waxed, manicures, pedicures, etc)

3) Good, wholesome food (I like Balkan yogurt with honey and pumpkin spice on top) or sometimes some baked goods like pie or cinnamon buns help. Other foods like a balanced meal.

4) Hot chocolate (I’m sure Carnation’s net worth is 20% thanks to me)

5) Reading (submerse myself in a good book!)

I have one golden rule for stress and coping: I refuse to think of or discuss anything stressful while fulfilling or meeting a basic need. Basic needs: food, warmth, shelter, love, sleep, grooming & cleanliness. This means if I am showering, cleaning my home, doing laundry, trying to get dry and warm after a cold rainy day, spending time with loved ones, eating, having something hot to drink, sleeping, or haven’t been home all day and need time to myself, I will not be dealing with issues during these times. I spend the rest of all 16hrs a day worrying. I see nothing wrong with taking 8hrs for my own mental health.

Scooby Doo & the Art of Coping Part I

Every night, 11:00pm, I bring the final steps of closure to my day while unwinding by watching an episode of Scooby Doo. The only Great Dane I have ever heard of who can dress up like a painter, ghost, pirate or when called upon, John Wayne, to cope with the stresses and demands of the world.

Tonight my favorite episode What a Night for a Knight was aired and I could not help but think how wonderful it would be if we could all be a bit more creative with our coping and stress management. At one point in the episode Scooby dresses up like a painter and begins to pretend to paint the knight, squirting red paint on the set up canvas and then in the knight’s face! To think the knight is trying to capture Scoob- and the Gang, and here he is so creative in his getaway. I suppose nothing grizzly or murderous or remotely treacherous ever happens in Scooby Doo except for a bump on the head and being dressed up like a tiki man, but I can’t help but feel there could be a lesson (obviously not psychology taught by Hannah Barbara) taught here. The lesson would be not to take stresses to heart. Even when managing what life has to throw at you, yes do what you have to do but do it with gusto or creative management.

I think one of the undervalued points and developing skills you should acquire while suffering from night terrors is coping. Often we settle on curing everything but as I have researched and read: Night Terrors can not be cured. They may be temporarily relieved but they will always return. As the subject gets older, he/she ‘s night terrors may subside or fade but there is no known cure. For me, as I know you have read many times, management is the key and a part of management is coping.

Night Terrors from another Blog

This is a post I copied from another blog that I really relate to and helped me to to feel “normal” for the duration of the reading. Hopefully it will help some of you as well.

Please visit the author here:

I woke up screaming last night. This hasn’t happened to me in a few months. I have night terrors, or what I like to call hallucinations. They come and go; sometimes they’re every night, sometimes I won’t have one for months. I’ve had them since I was little. I thought I figured out why I had them, but then I discovered I hadn’t.

I’ve always had very graphic dreams. My nightmares are worthy of horror status. When I was a little girl I used to have the worst nightmares. I remember when every night I was having a nightmare of being killed in a different way. This continued for a couple weeks. Sometimes I dream so much that I don’t feel rested in the morning. Some of my friends say they rarely have nightmares; I rarely don’t.

More than just nightmares, I also have night hallucinations. I will wake up, see my room as it is, but I will hallucinate something in the room that’s not there. Most often this is spiders, but sometimes its people. In real life spiders give me the heeby-jeebies, but I’m not terrified of them. I have no idea why this is the most common hallucination I’ve had. I will have my eyes open when I’m seeing this, sometimes be sitting or standing, but I won’t fully wake until I turn on the light or run out of my room. It’s like I’m stuck in this in-between state of sleeping and full consciousness.

I remember many of my hallucinations clearly, even if they happened years ago. One of the worst was when I was still living at home. I opened my eyes and saw giant spiders falling from the ceiling, one directly over my face. I screamed and had to slide out of bed without sitting up because the spider was close enough that it would hit my face. I flipped on the light and stood there hyperventilating until my mind processed that it was a hallucination. Last night, I woke up and saw a tarantula the size of my hand hanging from a web about a foot from my face, while one crawled out from under the blanket next to me. I screamed, jumped across the room in one leap and flipped the light on. I stood there scanning the room frantically, chest heaving. The dogs looked up at me confused and tired. I had to rip off all the sheets and blankets to make sure it was just a hallucination before I could go back to bed. Sometimes when I go back to sleep I hallucinate again, the same or similar thing, so I try to stay awake for a while or leave a light on.

Arachnids aren’t the only thing that haunt me. Sometimes I wake up and see people. The first time I remember seeing someone was when I was in high school. I had one of those butterfly nets around my bed, the kind that is just around the head of the bed. I woke up in the morning, with my face in the net. Crouching down next to my bed was a man, with his face directly in front of mine. I screamed and sat up. Since it was light he quickly vanished. Just a few months ago in my old house, I was sleeping on the couch for a while, just because sometimes it’s better for my back. Every night I would wake up and see someone standing in the middle of the room. At first I would jump up and turn on the light. After a while I got used to it and would just turn over and go back to sleep.

This makes for an awkward night if this happens when I’m not alone. Usually I warn people of my hallucinations if I’m sharing the bed, but it’s a weird thing to tell someone. I used to think it happened when I got hot in my sleep, but after keeping my room cold, I’ve realized that’s not always true. But, it is pretty much guaranteed if I get hot in my sleep, so it’s best to keep things chilly. I’ve hallucinated in the past with two different boyfriends. They learned the hard way not to try to hold me down. I don’t really process anything during that time other than, I need to get away from whatever is coming at me.

I’ve always wanted to do a sleep study, but there’s no way to guarantee I’d hallucinate and to be quite honest, it kind of creeps me out. Someone watching or videotaping me while I’m sleeping is just a little weird. I’ve sparked the interest of many people in the medical field. The most recent was a nurse from Salt Lake. He said he’d been reading about people with night terrors and even offered for me to come to the hospital for research. Someday it is something I want to look into more. I don’t know why I have them and I want to know. If I get really stressed the frequency increases. It’s obviously not normal. I don’t like waking up screaming. I don’t like being scared to go back to sleep. But as of now, it’s not something that disrupts my everyday life. It doesn’t prohibit me from sleeping. Before last night, I hadn’t had a hallucination in over a month. This was my first one in the new apartment.

So next time you can’t sleep be thankful you don’t have giant spiders falling on your face, or dark figures pushing you down in bed, or huge bees swarming around the ceiling, or someone standing in the room watching you every night. Sleep tight.

Toxic Dreams

I stumbled across this and thought “meh- wtheck, I’ll read it, post it and maybe it will be of some use to someone!”

A Toxic Dream is usually a very realistic, upsetting dream that is most likely to occur when your body’s cleansing system is overloaded during sleep. They are usually terrible nightmares and their purpose is often simply as a signal that you went to bed in a physically toxic state. These dreams can result from a number of factors the day before, including:

  • Eating refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour), processed or junk food, additives or preservatives.
  • Eating any foods within 2 hours before going to bed.
  • Ingesting drugs or other substances that stress the body.
  • Encountering environmental toxins (mold, exhaust fumes, etc.).
  • Being stressed (stress hormone by-products load the body’s cleansing system just like external toxins do).
  • Being emotionally toxic, such as going to bed angry or hateful (holding on to emotional upset creates a stressful physical state).
  • Not getting enough rest (sleep-deprivation robs the body of its critical nighttime cleansing cycle, leaving more toxins in the body).

Interpretation: Skulls, Death, Ghosts


(Thanks to dreamsleep)

Psychological Meaning: The psychologist Carl Jung decided to become a psychologist after dreaming of discovering a skull in a deep cellar under his house. The skull represented his desire to probe the secrets of the mind. To dream of a skull may also be a symbol of mortality and your spiritual contemplation of the meaning of life and death. It may also refer to finality and the things in life that cannot be avoided.

Mystical Meaning: To the gypsies a scull represents wisdom derived from their ancestors. To drink from a skull means sharing in their wisdom. In Ireland, it can be a symbol of truth for it is believed that if a man takes an oath on a skull but is lying as does, he will die soon after.

(thanks Experienceproject’s Dream Dictionary)

To dream of skulls grinning at you, is a sign of domestic quarrels and jars. Business will feel a shrinkage if you handle them. To see a friend’s skull, denotes that you will receive injury from a friend because of your being preferred to him. To see your own skull, denotes that you will be the servant of remorse.

(thanks dreammoods)

To see a skull in your dream, symbolizes danger, evil and death. Alternatively, it represents the secrets of the mind. You may be keeping things hidden.

To dream that a skull is talking to you, suggests that aspects of yourself that you have suppressed or rejected is starting to come back to the surface. They will not be denied any longer and must be dealt with on a conscious level.


(thanks dreammoods)

To dream about the death of a loved one, suggests that you are lacking a certain aspect or quality that the loved one embodies. Ask yourself what makes this person special or what do you like about him. It is that very quality that you are lacking in your own relationship or circumstances. Alternatively, it indicates that whatever that person represents has no part in your own life.�

To dream of your own death, indicates a transitional phase in your life. You are becoming more enlightened or spiritual. Alternatively, you are trying desperately to escape the demands of your daily life.

(Experienceproject has some interesting thigs to say, but also long and “iffy” check out the link here:

(thanks Smartgirl dream dictionary)

Dreams about death are not necessarily bad omens, but they usually represent anxious or angry feelings. To dream of your own death is actually positive – it means renewal and letting go of an old stage of life. This is also a common dream when you are getting over an illness – and it’s a good sign that you are getting better. However, if you dream that you are dying slowly, you need to drastically change your routine and reenergize your life. To dream about the death of a loved one suggests that you are lacking a certain quality that the loved one represents.

(thanks Astrocentre@msn)

1. An imminent transition, perhaps a move, or change of job or lover.
2. An impending death in the world of the dreamer – usually a relative, friend, or admired public figure. The dreamer’s death, however, is never shown.
3. The need for change in some department of the dreamer’s life. As to what: Watch for other symbols in the dream.
Astrological parallel: Scorpio
Tarot parallel: Death

Not a portent of DEATH per se.
1.If you dream of dying yourself, then all your troubles will soon be over and you can start anew. However, it could also mean that a part of you is dying and, if the other symbols in the dream tell you that it’s a part of you that you like, you’d better find a way to resurrect it, and fast.
2.Sometimes this can be a wish-fulfillment dream, if you dream that someone who is causing trouble for you is dying. Don’t feel guilty; this is a better way to manifest that wish than other ways!
3.Dreams in which the dreamer talks with dead people imply that very welcome news is on its way.


(thanks thecuriousdreamer)

  • Someone you knew (or wish you’d known) in real life who is now dead
  • Something that has changed or doesn’t exist any longer, such as a former relationship or former job

A scary ghost can represent a fear or concern about something in your life, or it can be an indication that your having a toxic dream (please see Toxic Dream Post for more info)

(thanks petrixdreams)

Spiritual aspect of self. Memory. Past coming back. Beware of enemies.

(thanks smartgirl dream dictionary)

In general, seeing ghosts in your dreams symbolizes aspects of yourself that you fear. This may involve a painful memory, guilt, or some repressed thoughts. You may be anxious about your ability to achieve something in real life. Or, you may be afraid of death and dying.

(thanks experienceproject)

For a ghost to speak to you, you will be decoyed into the hands of enemies.

(thanks to astrocenter@msn)

1. Dreaming of a haunted house indicates that guilt from the past is holding you back from accomplishing something you really want. Actually seeing a ghost, however, is an omen of good luck.
2. If you are frightened by a ghost, this could mean that mistakes in your past have “come back to haunt you.” It could also mean that intense pressure to do something against your principles could be put upon you by someone in a position of authority.
3. If the ghost is someone known to you who has passed on and who speaks to you, listen. The message is important. See Dying.

Alice be Dead

Well these last two nights have brought on very peculiar dreams… One in particular I will name “Alice be Dead”… I think… The phrase kept on repeating itself in my dream, but it was not a death threat, it was a description of how things felt in my dream. I vaguely remember it all but there are some creepy things that stick out. The first is the unknown gendered person with the shaved head, gaunt and dark eyes and deathly pale like they were dieing. They were very thin and the eyes were so pale…. It was like this unknown peron was some sort of ghost. It accompanied me through my walk in the wild and when I would be unsure of my sorroundings and search for the spiritual being accompanying me they would be doing something incredibly creepy. Many times when I looked at the apparition they were wearing a skull over their own head like a mask. Another time I glanced over, they had an animal mask over themselves. It wore an oversized fur coat, the fur was grey, black and white. In fact now that I am recalling this all, I am remembering that everything in the dream was mostly grayscale. But anything that was lighter or white, was a kind of a hazy glow. I remember being out in the wild, exploring, not searching, but unsure of what I was doing. I felt like there was a story being told in my dream, but what I don’t remember. The feelings in the dream were distress, fear, anxiety, curiosity and I was cold. so cold. Talk about distress, what does it all mean?