This is the latest installment of a regular feature here at SleepBetter.org: Sleep Myth Monday, where we bust sleep myths wide open, or verify that they’re actually not myths at all.
Myth or Truth: Bad dreams, no matter how scary, are harmless.
Not all bad dreams are the same, and not all bad dreams are actually real “dreams”. One of the more disturbing parasomnias, or sleep disorders, is the night terror. Most common in children, night terrors usually occur at the start of the night, during slow-wave sleep. The sufferer usually awakes in a state of physiological and psychological terror, often accompanied by a loud scream. Unlike nightmares, most sufferers have no recollection of the episodes in the morning. A recent study’s preliminary findings indicate that night terrors in children may actually be a sign of sleep apnea. If you or your child are experiencing frequent or even occasional night terrors, we recommend you discuss it with your family doctor.