Sleep terror is also known as night terror. It is a sleeping disorder that is often characterized by low, medium or extreme levels of fear. Causes for night terror are not determined by experts. However, stress and living environments often lead to night terrors. A sleeping person experiences night terror in NRE (non-rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. Sequences of night terror come with the person moaning, gasping and even screaming. The sleeping person irregularly wakes and falls asleep due to the feelings of fear and terror. Night terrors occur in children as well as adults. Deprived sleep, change in medication or substance abuse, increased metabolism, abnormal blood pressure and depression are some of the commonly known causes of night terror. Besides, sleep disorders and violent image/film watching during late night hours also lead to nightmares. Sentimental and over-emotional people are often known to see nightmares because of being in trauma due to experiencing some real life tormenting events. Medication, yoga and lessened substance abuse help prevent sleep terror. Read on to learn more about the different causes of sleep terror.  

Causes of Sleep Terror 

  • Improper sleeping hours often lead to nightmares and night terrors in adults. Deprivation of sleep is a major cause of nightmare. Healthy sleeping hour can minimizes the chance of sleep terrors.
  • Violent videos, films and image viewing often lead to sleep terror. People and children with tender mind get affected by the tormenting videos which give rise to disturbed sleep and nightmares.
  • Traumatic experiences of the past or a fresh event leads to nightmarish sleep. Images or fabricated images of the real life experiences come back during a person’s sleep. Nightmares arise from here.
  • Disturbed or troubled mind experience night terrors. People with depressive behaviours often see nightmares.
  • Abuse of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine can cause disruptive sleeping patterns. These include nightmares. The toxic substances remain in the body even during sleep and cause problems in the brain. Night terror or sleep terror gets developed from here.
  • Ghost stories often influence the mind to hear imaginative noises. Nightmares also result from these stories. Sleep terror becomes a common occurrence.
  • If a bedroom is not a peaceful place to relax then night terror turns out to be quite a common occurrence.
  • Hereditary nightmare symptomsare common in people who see nightmares.
  • Improper blood pressurecauses sleep terror.
  • Suffering and pain immensely causes nightmarish tendencies. Nightmares and suicide are often found to be related.
  • Erratic heart rate and breathing difficultiesalso lead to sleep terrors at night.
  • Personal or professional stressis a great source of deprived sleep leading to sleep terror. New experiences, high tension work, job and personal stresses, divorce, family problems are major causes of night terror.
  • Chemical reactions happening in the brainpopularly known as ‘misfire’ may lead to night terrors.
  • Frightening images of wild animalslike snakes, crocodiles, spiders can lead to night terror in many people. Some night terror dreams are often recollected in the morning. However the frightening images mostly remain vague.
  • Reactionsof certain drugs can cause night terror. There are several types of medicines which are strong and cause certain reactions in the brain and the central nervous system. Increased brain activity leads to night terror occurrences.
  • Prolonged illnesses and fevermay give rise to night terror.
  • Increased metabolismthat arises from the bad habit of late night snacking is another common cause of night terror. The brain gets signalled to remain active which leads to the increase in night terror frequencies.
  • Withdrawal from alcohol and medicationslead to night terror.
  • Antidepressants and narcoticsactively work on the brain’s chemicals. This results in nightmares and sleep terror.

Night terror is not an illness. Changes in lifestyle and living environments can erase sleep terror completely. Since night terror is a sleeping disorder, positive sleeping hour changes must be implemented for eradicating the problem. Consult a physician if you are bothered too much with night terrors.