Sleeping not-so-soundly


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Night_Terror.jpg

Talking to a friend this afternoon in the Hub, we got on the subject of nightmares and night terrors. I had explained to her that I've been experiencing a lot of terrifying dreams lately, that seemed worse than usual, and that I had attributed the cause to stress only because I wasn't sure what the cause could actually be. My friend had told me that while that might be true, the temperature of your room or your body temperature when you sleep can be the deciding factor on whether you sleep soundly or wake up screaming. What she had said had struck me as interesting, but I had never woken up from a bad dream sweating or at an uncomfortable temperature, I had always just woken up really scared.

I never heard of this temperature theory, but I found an article about a little boy having terrible night terrors. A 9 year old boy named Lewis had had episodes of night terrors since he was three years old. After six years of terrifying nights and a lot of stress on his family, a friend had told his mother about bed sheets that can help control the heat in his bed while he sleeps. The sheets were dermatological sheets that are made to wipe away sweat so as to control body heat. After the boy's bedspread was changed he no longer had night terrors and was able to sleep through the night.

These sheets the article talks about are called DermaTherapy sheets. They are produced to help with things like psoriasis, acne, night sweats and eczema. The bedding is made from a special type of fiber that helps to keep a bed cooler, dryer, smelling better and free of dust and lint. The website gives a lot of information about the details of the bedding and how it can help certain skin conditions, how it also can eliminate night sweats for workout enthusiasts and even women going through menopause.

The home page boasts the accomplishment of "Yes, we are the sheets that help Lewis deal with his night terrors! We will put his case study on the site soon..." and then they go on to talk about how great their product is. The night sweats tab of the website doesn't really provide any connection between the night terrors and the bedspread, the only conclusion I could half-ass-ly put together is that if you're hot, then you're going to have a terrible dream. Also, the article about Lewis was written in August of 2011, so I feel as though DermaTherapy has had plenty of time to collect their information and post the case study on their website....no such luck, though.

With further research, I was able to find a parenting website that addresses parents on how to help a child through night terrors. The website (Essortment), though I'm not sure how credible, tells parents:
"Night terrors are caused by a disturbance in normal sleep cycles. ...Illness is sometimes a factor, as children who suffer from a high fever have been known to have night terrors. It is believed their body temperature rises too high and causes a disturbance in the normal sleep cycle."
Obviously, this idea goes hand in hand with the theory that temperature has the ability to cause night terrors. The temperature theory in most of the articles I read was just a result of an illness or a fever, and it's not like it's not out of the ordinary to be scared or have "scary" thoughts when one has a fever or is sick.

There are a number of sites and doctors who blame night terrors on things like anxiety, a recent traumatic experience, or even genetics. Night terrors can be suffered at any age, when experienced by children, they are usually grown out of, but having these episodes as an adult usually requires a little medical attention.

http://www.dermatherapybedding.co.uk/index.html
http://www.essortment.com/night-terrors-can-child-through-one-66359.html

2 Comments

I found your article very interesting which made me want to research night terrors further. While looking up about information about night terrors, I came across an article on kidshealth.org that describes the differences between nightmares and night terrors. I personally did not know that there was a difference but night terrors and nightmares. Night terrors generally occur during the first 2-3 hours of sleep while nightmares occur later on during your sleep. People who experience night terrors generally do not remember the terror, but on the other hand you can sometimes remember your dreams or nightmares.

A night terror is a sleep disruption that is very similar to a nightmare but to a more extreme, according to http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/sleep/terrors.html
This is due to certain activities in the brain during REM (Rapid eye movement) a deep stage of our sleep. This may also happen during certain transitions of sleeping stages due to a specific fear. They usually occur two to three hours after a child falls asleep. During a night terror a child may sit up in their sleep and start to scream. Their breathing may be heavier and their heart rate may increase. Eventually the child calms down and goes back to sleep. Kids typically don't remember night terrors, like they do nightmares. Night terrors could be caused by being overtired, sick, stressed, medication etc. Do you ever remember doing something like this? Waking up mid sleep screaming and not remembering why? Or do you remember why? I feel like I have woken up before and remembered a bad dream but I have woken up by hearing my self talk in my sleep or sweating.

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