What Are Night Terrors?
Night terrors are the nightmares that occur in the time between being awake and falling asleep. This is an age old problem that has only recently been studied.
What are they? For anyone who has ever been awakened in the middle of the night by an intense nightmare you may already know of them. Night terrors are like dreams but are so much more intense that they are hard to describe.
A common symptom of night terrors is the inability to move. Some individuals, while in a state halfway between sleep and waking, often report that their mind is still very active just before they fall asleep but when they try to move their body they find that they are immobilized. If you can imagine being fully alert in your mind and not being able to move, those are some of the common symptoms that usually occur.
Research on this age old phenomenon has only started. Most individuals are too embarrassed to come forward for fear of ridicule so the exact number of cases cannot be determined but many people throughout history have had similar experiences.
A few of the other symptoms that are associated with night terrors are the sound of a door slamming and the feeling of being pulled out of body. Speaking from first hand experience I can say that often when it happens you just know it's happening, there is no way of verbalizing it, as you fall asleep, a loud clap like a door slapping tends to accompany the event.
Scientists have tried to discount night terrors as simply hallucinations or sleeping with too many blankets. The growing body of evidence suggests that this is a natural state that transcends race, country of origin and age. In more spiritual countries like India and Tibet, night terrors are more an act of divine intervention than a terror as we tend to call them in the west. People that have them believe that spirits are visiting them while they sleep.
Little is known about why night terrors occur and as of yet there are no known ways to stop them once you have begun having them. The only advice that has been handed down is if you are having them stop fighting them and simply relax your body and go along for the ride and realize that nothing serious is going to happen.