What Is the Difference Between Night Terrors and Nightmares?


Quick Answer

Night terrors differ from nightmares in that the sleeper partially wakes terrified and confused from a night terror and fully wakes from a nightmare with the ability to describe the dream content. The two are similar in that they both cause feelings of fear and terror.

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Full Answer

Stressors such as anxiety, medication and illness usually cause nightmares, which are vivid events that wake the sleeper from REM sleep. A person with a night terror is difficult to waken from a deep sleep and usually does not respond to voices or remember the events in the morning. A night terror lasts roughly 15 minutes, then the sleeper usually falls back asleep.

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