Given the paucity of knowledge surrounding the presentation of, and factors associated with, sleep terrors
in children with DDs it is a shame that the clinical descriptions of the children and their episodes are limited and the diagnoses of sleep terrors
are based upon the opinion of a single clinician, without any polysomnographic data to support the diagnosis.
Unlike sleep terrors
, nightmares are remembered vividly the next morning and often involve themes such as fear, failing, danger, confusion, and being assaulted or chased.
Non rapid eye movement sleep arousal parasomnias include confusional arousals, sleep terrors (pavor nocturnus) and sleepwalking (somnambulism).
Sleep terrors are characterized by abrupt awakenings from sleep accompanied by loud screaming, crying, apparent panic and agitation (2).
Sleepwalking may be preceded by confusional arousals or sleep terrors (2,3).
Compared to sleep terrors, there is less autonomic activation, and tachycardia and tachypnoea, if present, are not as severe.
In all, the team observed that 37 per cent of the twin sets had sleep terrors at 18 months, and that the problem disappeared a year later for about half of them.
In contrast to nightmares) the onset of sleep terrors is abrupt and frightening, usually sudden arousal with screaming.
The triggers for Sleep Terrors are also similar to those for Confusional Arousals.
Sleep Terrors most frequently occur in children aged 5-7 years, and appear with equal prevalence between boys and girls.