Imagine the person sleeping next to you suddenly sitting bolt upright and screaming wildly. You try to console them, but they don't respond. Then, after a few minutes, they fall back asleep as if nothing happened. No, they didn't have a nightmare. It's called a night terror. Here's what you need to know about this bizarre and often frightening sleep disorder.
Night terrors are a largely misunderstood and neglected parasomnia, or a category of sleep disorders that involve abnormal physical movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and dreams. Much of this has to do with the fact that it's a very challenging condition to study and that it's often confused with nightmares. But the only similarities between the two is that they happen during sleep. A common problem with assessing or diagnosing night terrors is that most people don't realize what's happening to them.