Screaming while sleep

Nightmares and Night Terrors | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What are night terrors?

Night terrors are a sleep disorder in which a person quickly awakens from sleep in a terrified state. The cause is unknown but night terrors are often triggered by fever, lack of sleep or periods of emotional tension, stress or conflict. Night terrors are like nightmares, except that nightmares usually occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and are most common in the early morning. Night terrors usually happen in the first half of the night. Also, night terrors are most common in preadolescent boys, though they are fairly common in children three to five years old.

The following are common characteristics of a night terror:

  • Sudden awakening from sleep

  • Persistent fear or terror that occurs at night

  • Screaming

  • Sweating

  • Confusion

  • Rapid heart rate

  • No recall of bad dreams or nightmares

  • Unable to fully wake up

  • Difficult to comfort

How to help a child during a night terror

  • Try to help your child return to normal sleep.  Do not try to awaken your child. Make soothing comments. Hold your child if it seems to help him or her feel better. Shaking or shouting at your child may cause the child to become more upset.

  • Protect your child against injury. During a night terror, a child can fall down a stairway, run into a wall, or break a window. Try to gently direct your child back to bed.

  • Prepare babysitters for these episodes. Explain to people who care for your child what a night terror is and what to do if one happens.

  • Try to prevent night terrors. A night terror can be triggered if your child becomes overly-tired. Be sure your child goes to bed at a regular time, and early enough to give him or her enough sleep. Younger children may need to return to a daily nap.

In many cases, a child who has a night terror only needs comfort and reassurance. Psychotherapy or counseling may be appropriate in some cases. Benzodiazepine medications used at bedtime will often reduce night terrors; however, medication is not usually recommended to treat this disorder.

When to call your child's healthcare provider

While night terrors are not harmful, they can resemble other conditions or lead to problems for the child. Consult your child's healthcare provider if you notice any of the following:

  • The child has drooling, jerking, or stiffening

  • Terrors are interrupting sleep on a regular basis

  • Terrors last longer than 30 minutes

  • Your child does something dangerous during an episode

  • Other symptoms occur with the night terrors

  • Your child has daytime fears

  • You feel family stress may be a factor

  • You have other questions or concerns about your child's night terrors

In many cases, no examination or testing is needed. If the night terror is severe or prolonged, the child may need a psychological evaluation.

What are nightmares?

Nightmares are scary dreams that awaken children and make them afraid to go back to sleep. Nightmares may happen for no known reason, but sometimes occur when your child has seen or heard things that upset him or her. These can be things that actually happen or are make-believe. Nightmares often relate to developmental stages of a child: toddlers may dream about separation from their parents; preschoolers may dream about monsters or the dark; school-aged children may dream about death or real dangers.

How to help a child with nightmares

  • Comfort, reassure, and cuddle your child.

  • Help your child talk about the bad dreams during the day.

  • Protect your child from seeing or hearing frightening movies and television shows.

  • Leave the bedroom door open (never close the door on a fearful child).

  • Provide a "security blanket" or toy for comfort.

  • Let your child go back to sleep in his or her own bed.

  • Do not spend a lot of time searching for "the monster."

  • During the bedtime routine, before your child goes to sleep, talk about happy or fun things.

  • Read some stories to your child about getting over nighttime fears.

When to call your child's healthcare provider

Consult your child's healthcare provider if you notice any of the following:

  • The nightmares become worse or happen more often

  • The fear interferes with daytime activities

  • You have other concerns or questions about your child's nightmares 

Symptoms, Causes, and How to Stop Them

Night terrors are recurring episodes where you might cry out, move around erratically, or show other signs of distress while you sleep. And unless a startled partner or roomie relays all the deets of your shouting and flailing — you might not know it’s even happening.

But wait, aren’t night terrors just a kid thing? Even though night terrors are more common in kids, an estimated 1 to 2 percent of adults get them, too. And since many people don’t remember these episodes, this figure could be higher.

If you’re an adult with night terrors, here’s what to know.

What causes night terrors in adults?

Scientists don’t exactly know what causes night terrors in adults (or people of all ages). Mental health conditions, breathing issues, and other factors that impact sleep (e.g., restless leg syndrome and alcohol) may play a role.

Night terrors often begin with you sitting up and bed and crying out. These episodes can last from 45 to 90 minutes, though timing can vary a lot. Night terrors can also happen on the reg or just a few times a year.

Other night terror symptoms may include:

  • screaming
  • thrashing or flailing
  • breathing rapidly
  • staring blankly
  • fast heart rate
  • feeling flushed or sweaty
  • appearing confused or disoriented
  • jumping or running around
  • becoming aggressive (especially if someone tries to stop you)

Most night terrors happen during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which is basically a state between sleep and awake. In this state, you’re unlikely to wake up during the episode or recall WTF happened. But compared to kids, adults are more likely to get night terrors at any stage of the sleep cycle, which means they’re also more likely to remember what went down.

If an adult thrashes during a night terror, they may also injure themselves or anyone nearby.

Night terrors are a type of parasomnia — aka a sleep disorder that involves physical events or experiences that disrupt your Zzz’s.

No one knows why so many kids (about 30 percent) get night terrors compared to just 2 percent of adults. Here’s a look at some potential night terror causes if you’re all grown up.

Mental health conditions

Some experts believe adults who have night terrors tend to live with mood-related mental health conditions like:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • bipolar disorder

Night terrors may also be associated with trauma or chronic stress.

But since there’s limited research on the link between night terrors and mental health conditions, we don’t know if it’s a legit cause.

Breathing issues

Respiratory conditions like sleep apnea could potentially boost your risk of having night terrors.

In a small 2003 study of 20 people, researchers found that those with disruptive sleep disorders (like night terrors) were more likely to experience breathing troubles while sleeping. Scientists think the extra effort needed to breathe might trigger arousals and abrupt wake-up calls that look like night terrors.

Though the research is limited, they could be onto something.

Other factors that affect sleep

The research on what causes night terrors is pretty murky, but other factors that *might* cause these dreamtime episodes include:

  • restless leg syndrome
  • sleep deprivation
  • fatigue
  • travel-related sleep disruptions
  • meds like stimulants or antidepressants
  • fever or illness
  • alcohol use

They might both be frightening, but night terrors and nightmares aren’t one and the same.

Here are the main distinctions between the two:

  • During a night terror, you’re unlikely to wake up. You’re much more likely to wake up during a nightmare.
  • You’ll typically stay asleep during a night terror and won’t know what happened. When you wake up mid-nightmare, you’ll usually remember the gist of it. (Maybe that vampire was inches away from your neck, or your boss was just about to fire you!)
  • Night terrors typically happen during NREM sleep. Meanwhile, nightmares usually happen during REM sleep.
  • Your eyes will often be open during night terrors. Your eyes won’t look wide awake during your average nightmare.

While there’s currently no tried-and-true way to stop night terrors, the following prevention tips might help.

Create a healthy sleep routine

Getting more restful sleep on a regular basis might help halt your night terrors. To create a more peaceful sleep regimen, try these tips for better Zzz’s:

  • Ban blue light at night. You’ve prob heard this one before, and that’s because it really helps! Try to turn off your TV, laptop, smartphone, and all other electronics at least an hour before bed. Blue light and excess stimulation before shuteye can disrupt your sleep rhythm.
  • Relax and unwind. Try taking a bath, meditating, or reading a book before bed instead (preferably not true crime or a Stephen King novel!). Create a quiet, comfy, and dark space to sleep. Blackout curtains or white noise might help.
  • Curb caffeine and alcohol. Limiting caffeine and alcohol — especially later in the day — might help you rest more easily and avoid sleep disturbances.
  • Reserve your bed is for sleep and sex. Doing other things like working, watching TV, or taking stressful phone calls in bed can cause your brain to think that bedtime = awake time. Reserving your bed for sleep and sex may help create the cozy sanctuary you need to doze off more deeply.

Seek support from loved ones

If your night terrors tend to go down around a certain time, try setting an alarm or having a loved one wake you up about 15 minutes before an episode. Stay awake for about 10 minutes before falling back asleep.

Experts usually advise against rousing someone mid-episode, since there’s always the possibility that the person experiencing the night terror could react violently.

Alleviate stress and deal with trauma

Since night terrors could possibly signal underlying stress, trauma, anxiety, or depression, it may help to address these concerns. Some potential ways to heal include:

  • visiting a therapist or another mental health professional
  • meditating regularly
  • practicing yoga
  • hypnotherapy
  • doing deep breathing exercises
  • practicing mindfulness

How to help a partner with night terrors

  • Don’t wake up your loved one mid-episode. They could become confused, upset, or violent.
  • Lend nonphysical comfort. Talk to them in a calm, quiet voice. Maybe gently suggest that they return to bed.
  • The day after the incident, try to offer support and understanding.
  • Consider encouraging them to track episodes in a sleep journal, visit a therapist or doctor, or take up a mindfulness practice like meditation.

Night terrors aren’t technically a part of a diagnosable condition according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Instead, they’re a combo of conditions like nightmare disorder, NREM sleep arousal disorder, and REM sleep behavior disorder.

Though night terrors don’t always require treatment, you may want to see a pro if you:

  • feel they have a negative impact on you, your roommate(s), partner, or family
  • often wake up still tired
  • feel the episodes affect your day-to-day life
  • think your actions during episodes could harm you or someone else

Visiting a sleep specialist or reaching out to a doctor or therapist may help you find the relief you need.

Night terrors are episodes that can cause you to shout, flail or do other things in your sleep. Even though they’re more common in children, adults get them, too.

No one knows for sure what causes night terrors, but underlying stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions could play a role.

If you feel like your night terrors are negatively impacting your life or could harm you or a loved one, talking with a doctor, sleep specialist, or therapist may help you find the support you need.

Why dream of screaming - the meaning of sleep screaming from the dream book

Why dream of screaming

A dream in which you had to scream indicates your anxious state. Most likely, you are afraid of an upcoming test, doubt the correctness of your decision, languish in anticipation of the results of a medical examination, or worry about the fate of a loved one. The confusion that reigns in your soul will negatively affect relationships with others.

Do not drive off the anger that has accumulated lately on colleagues and friends. They are not to blame for the problems you are experiencing.

Screaming according to Miller's dream book

Hearing screams of suffering in a dream means that you will have big worries, but your discretion and sober mind will help you put things in order, which will have a healing effect on your state of mind.

If you dream of a screaming person, such a dream portends dubious pleasures that are likely to plunge you into a depressed state of mind, which will affect your business and heart life.

Hearing a cry of surprise in a dream means that you will receive unexpected help.

If you hear the cries of wild animals, then a serious accident with someone you know is possible ahead.

A cry for help when you recognize a familiar voice means the illness of the one who called you.

Shouting according to the newest dream book of G. Ivanov

Shouting - to changes in life; to the disease.

Shouting according to the Spring dream book

Shouting in a dream means trouble.

Shouting according to the Summer Dream Book

Shouting in pain - not giving away your secret illness.

Shouting according to the Autumn Dream Book

Shouting from pain in a dream - to suffer from something in reality.

Screaming according to the Esoteric dream book

Screaming - from fear, grief to great joy. Calling will help you a lot.

Shouting according to the dream book of a modern woman

In general, the cry of a person in a dream portends dubious pleasures that are likely to plunge you into a depressed state of mind.

Hearing a cry of suffering in a dream - to numerous worries and troubles. Fortunately, your discretion and reasonable behavior will help you put things in order.

If you recognize the voice of a person calling for help, this portends the caller's illness.

Hearing a cry of surprise in a dream means that you will receive unexpected help.

Cries of wild animals - dreams of an accident with someone you know.

Shouting from the dream book of Evgeny Tsvetkov

Screaming - hard times, the harder it is, the louder and longer the scream.

Scream according to the Modern Dream Book

The dream in which you scream means that your illusions will be broken by the cruel truth of life.

Screaming according to the Eastern Dream Book

A dream in which you scream means that your illusions will be broken against the cruel truth of life.

Shouting according to the Noble Dream Book of N. Grishina

Shouting is an unusual fear; you will be the subject of ridicule.

Moaning very plaintively and bitterly - an accident.

Screaming from the dream book of the healer Akulina

You dreamed of Screaming - Doubtful pleasures can end too sadly. Imagine that you no longer have a reason to scream. Everything is fine. Ask for forgiveness from those you yelled at.

Screaming from the dream book of the sorceress Medea

Screaming (see also hear) - Screaming in fear - What you fear does not threaten you. Rest now will not hurt you Screaming, calling someone - you lack the friendly participation and warm attitude of loved ones. Invite friends to your home

Screaming according to Stuart Robinson's dream book

When it happens to scream loudly in a dream, the dream book believes that this is the very cry of the soul, which, due to circumstances, is not allowed to break out in reality. A dream reflects the accumulated negativity that does not find a way out in reality.

Shouting according to the Women's Dream Book

Shouting, screaming - In general, the cry of a person in a dream portends dubious pleasures, which, most likely, plunge you into a depressed state of mind. Hearing a cry of suffering in a dream - to numerous worries and troubles. Fortunately, your discretion and reasonable behavior will help you put things in order. If you recognize the voice of a person calling for help, this portends the illness of the caller. Hearing a cry of surprise in a dream means that you will receive unexpected help. The cries of wild animals dream of an accident with one of your friends.

Shouting according to a housewife's dream book

Shouting, shouting - a desire to be heard; big worries. A screaming person is a depressed state of mind that will affect business and heart life; cry of surprise - unexpected help; a cry for help is someone else's worries.

Screaming from an online dream book

If you scream in a dream, you live in an imaginary world, and it is difficult for you to accept the harsh reality.

This is how you express your fear – you worry in vain, nothing threatens you, just try to have fun.

Screaming from a dream book for a bitch

Screaming or hearing someone scream is a lot of worries and troubles, you will cope with them and get significant valuable life experience.

Seeing a screaming person - a bad mood will affect your work.

To see how a person screams, but not to hear him - nothing will interfere with the performance of work duties.

Shouting according to the dream book Veles

Shouting - victory / for worse; someone screams - family squabbles.

Screaming from a dream book 2012

Screaming is a reflection of a feeling of helplessness. Reflection of the desire to prove one's case (also the need and / or opportunity to do this).

Screaming according to the ABC of dream interpretation

Screaming in fear - what you fear does not threaten you. You can rest now.

Shouting, calling someone - you lack the friendly participation and warm attitude of loved ones. Invite friends to your home.

Dream come true today


31 October,



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Dream Interpretation notes that in most cases, screaming in a dream is for those who, due to their beliefs, upbringing or other circumstances, are forced to play by someone else's rules. The inability to give vent to true feelings and desire in reality is transformed into a scream. Explaining why such a surge of emotions is dreamed of, interpretations mention real unconscious anxieties, which the sleeper so far only intuitively guesses.

In any case, a dreamed scream indicates an emotional imbalance. Events, people, familiar places, and other details of a dream often give clues to where to look for the root of evil. As you know, the sleeper is free from all sorts of conventions, sometimes he manages to see what he carefully hides in real life even from himself.

When it happens to scream loudly in a dream, the dream book believes that this is the very cry of the soul, which, due to circumstances, is not allowed to break out in reality. A dream reflects the accumulated negativity that does not find a way out in reality.

According to the interpretation of the old Noble dream book, the one who had a chance to scream and cry in a dream, troubles, fear and even an accident await in reality. So take care of yourself when you see something like this.

Brawlers are on the alert

If you had a chance to shout and swear, but in the end the squabble came down to a constructive dialogue, the Wanderer's dream book promises a successful turn of events with which you will be pleased. The feeling of incompleteness is a harbinger of failure in current affairs.

Everything that you dream of yelling at a person who you not only know well, but also managed to annoy in order, portends the first steps towards a truce and mutual understanding, it is you who can become their initiator.

In women's dreams, the image of a husband reflects the acceptance or rejection of oneself - Freud's dream book believes. The dreamer, who had to scream at her husband in a dream, is apparently dissatisfied with herself, worries that she is not feminine enough to please men.

What dreams of yelling at his wife reflects the dual nature of the sleeping person, and different facets of his personality are in conflict with each other. The dream book recommends in the morning to try to comprehend the causes of the internal conflict in order to find peace of mind.

When it happens to scream at a mother in a dream, the dream book warns that the probability of being deceived in the current period is higher than usual. It is strongly recommended to avoid quarrels and scandals: this technique is often used by scammers as a distraction.

However, if you happened to shout at your mother, the dream sometimes contains a grain of positive meaning. Why dream of such a plot, personifies the adult beginning of the sleeping person, reflects the desire to get rid of overprotection and make independent decisions.

If you happen to yell at children, consider what you see as a warning. An extremely undesirable event may come to your house. Do not rush to blame yourself or someone from the household, the dream book warns in advance that it is unlikely that you will be able to find the true culprits.

Subconscious call for help

When it happens to scream in fear, the dream book calls not to panic. What you most fear will in reality bypass you.

The dream book of the sorceress Medea is encouraging, explaining that what she dreams of screaming in horror means that all the worst is already behind, it remains in a dream.

What dreams of shouting "help" is interpreted by the dream book in a very life-affirming way. It is very likely that your cry will be heard, and in reality you will indeed receive unexpected support.

Usually in a dream, crying out for help happens to those who are actually used to hiding their sorrows so as not to burden loved ones or for fear of looking helpless in the eyes of others.

Why dream of screaming in pain in a dream is sometimes explained by a physiological factor. Such signals are visited by stubborn people who do not want to recognize themselves as sick because of a minor ailment. The dream interpretation warns that in reality everything can turn out to be much more serious if measures are not taken in time.

Cry stuck in throat

Often, dreamers who are accustomed to hiding the truth even from themselves have to scream in a dream without a voice. The dream interpretation believes that screaming silently in a dream is akin to self-rejection, while reminding that the situation will not change by itself, and after waking up everything will return to normal.

The state "I can't scream in my sleep" testifies not only to repressed desires, but also to the problems of the dreamer, which he does not want to notice point-blank. It's better to be like an ostrich and dive into the sand than to face an impossible mission.

In a dream I want to scream, but it doesn’t work out - the voice seems to disappear - a similar plot is familiar to people who are restrained by nature, who are in no hurry to flaunt their emotions in reality. It is no coincidence that such dreams are often referred to as nightmares: they show how repressed feelings choke and tear from the inside.

When you cannot scream in your sleep, as a rule, you realize in reality that it would not hurt to put things in order in your own life. There is clearly something wrong with her, but what exactly? The details of the dream often contain clues as to which aspects to pay attention to.

Sacred exclamations

Everything that you dream of shouting in a dream the name of a person whom you really know indicates that in reality he will soon play an important role in your life. It is quite possible that it is he who will help solve the very problem that has been haunting you for a long time.

If you are lucky enough to shout “bitterly”, the dream book is encouraging that family relations will gradually improve. A negative situation in which you tend to blame yourself will change for the better.

👉 Dreams come true by day of the week.


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