Night Terrors

via Kids Health.

A night terror is a sleep disruption that seems similar to a nightmare, but it’s far more dramatic. Night terrors can be alarming, but aren’t usually cause for concern or a sign of a medical issue.

This article was recently passed onto me describing night terrors in children. While the author probably did not intend to target people with Hangxiety-filled Sunday Scaries (I mean, the article is from, he managed to do just that. While the article accurately describes my life from 10pm Sunday night until about 6am Monday morning, there are some issues that I take with it.

Night terrors happen during deep non-REM sleep. Unlike nightmares (which occur during REM sleep), a night terror is not technically a dream, but more like a sudden reaction of fear that happens during the transition from one sleep phase to another.

Uh, what kind of night terrors are you getting, bro? My night terrors are one steady stream during all types of my sleep. I’m talkin’ the entire REM cycle here. Nothin’ off limits. The second I shut my eyes, my thoughts immediately default to, “Why did you drink so many beers? Why did you drink so many beers? Why did you drink so many beers? Why did you drink so many beers?” Then at like 3am, my life officially feels like this:


Just pure unadulterated Scaries comin’ in hot from all angles. Sweat pouring off my brow, shakes, real life problems slapping me across the face with a white glove. This is all while I’m too lethargically tired to do anything about it other than crumble.

Night terrors usually occur about 2 or 3 hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. Usually this transition is a smooth one. But rarely, a child becomes agitated and frightened — and that fear reaction is a night terror.

W-w-w-w-w-wait. 2 or 3 hours AFTER I fall asleep? Pretttttty sure mine start occurring about 2 or 3 hours before I fall asleep. And I’m also pretty sure I’m not the only one feeling this way because I’m normally getting a flood of texts to my not-a-phone-because-I-still-don’t-have-a-phone iPad the entire night. I try to take my mind off of it and check twitter but everyone I follow is post-grad-problem’ing their life away and talking about how much they dread the upcoming week.

During a night terror, a child might suddenly sit upright in bed and shout out or scream in distress. The child’s breathing and heartbeat might be faster, he or she might sweat, thrash around, and act upset and scared. After a few minutes, or sometimes longer, a child simply calms down and returns to sleep.

Scarily on point until, “calms down and returns to sleep.” 99.9% positive that I’ve never fallen right back to sleep like that in my entire life. I always turn SportsCenter on in hopes that it will distract me from the devastation I caused to my body all weekend so I can fall back asleep, but then Stuart Scott and his weird-ass eye scream “BOOYAH” and startles the shit out of me.

Unlike nightmares, which kids often remember, kids won’t have any memory of a night terror the next day because they were in deep sleep when it happened — and there are no mental images to recall.

I’ma go ahead and say that everyone I’ve talked to that gets Scaries has short-term memory when it comes to them. You remember the shit out of them Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then you finally feel normal. Then Thursday you’re like, “oh, yeah, I’ll totally have a few drinks tonight!” Then Friday you’re all going “TGIF! TGIF! TGIF!” and the cycle is in full force again.

And “no mental images to recall”? You’re shitting me, right? My Monday morning thoughts are pretty much a giant highlight reel of Sunday Scaries moments that I know I won’t have to face for another week.

Night terrors have been noted in kids who are:

  • overtired or ill, stressed, or fatigued
  • taking a new medication
  • sleeping in a new environment or away from home

Overtired or ill, stressed, or fatigued? Check, check, and check. I didn’t stay up until 4am free-basing vodka-sodas because I wanted to be well rested come Sunday. Taking a new medication? Adderall count or…? And shit, sleeping in a new environment or away from home? Fuck, Inaccurate City on this one considering I live in my fucking parent’s house. Goddammit.

Night terrors are relatively rare — they happen in only 3-6% of kids, while almost every child will have a nightmare occasionally. Night terrors usually occur between the ages of 4 and 12, but have been reported in kids as young as 18 months. They seem to be a little more common among boys.

Yeah, “relatively rare” my dick, Take a poll of every 24-29 year old out there and tell me if you’re still rockin’ that 3-6% percentile.

All in all, I’m pretty much going to message my next Tinder match the entire “Coping With Night Terrors” section to see if they can handle my life come Sunday. They need to go into this eventually failed relationship knowing that my Scaries are large and in charge, and that they’ll definitely be taking a backseat to them when I’m simultaneously watching Sunday Night Football and having a full blown panic attack.

Now pardon me while I go prepare for the Paranormal Activity 5 that is my Sunday night.

Will deFriesHangoversComment