Just a scary dream? a brief review of sleep terrors, nightmares, and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder

Mark Haupt, Stephen H. Sheldon, Darius Loghmanee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The clinical spectrum of sleep disorders in children is broad, ranging from primary snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome to complex sleep-related behaviors and movement disorders. Although snoring and OSA typically receive significant attention and discussion, other biologically based sleep disorders are as common, if not more common, in children. A general pediatrician is frequently presented with the complaint of sleep talking, sleep walking, or abnormal movements during sleep. Even more alarming is the presentation of the child suddenly and explosively screaming during sleep. Such complaints fall under the category of parasomnias. Exclusive to sleep and wake-to-sleep transitions, these parasomnias include arousals with abnormal motor, behavioral, autonomic, or sensory symptoms. Parasomnias can be noticeably dissimilar in clinical manifestations, but most share biologic characteristics. Three parasomnias associated with loud vocalizations associated with sleep that can present to general practitioners include sleep terrors, nightmares, and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Although usually benign, these sleep disorders can be disruptive and even potentially dangerous to the patient and can often be threatening to quality of life. In this article, we describe the clinical features of some of these disorders and how to differentiate between their alarming presentations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric annals
Volume42
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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