|Horror/Scary: September 16, 2015 Issue [#7214]|
This week: Night terror Edited by: Arakun the Twisted Raccoon
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Quote for the week: They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
~Edgar Allen Poe
Every one of us has probably had a nightmare at some time in our lives, but fortunately few people have had to experience a true night terror. Night terrors are like nightmares on steroids. A night terror is actually a sleep disorder that happens during the transition from deep non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep to lighter REM sleep. REM sleep is the stage when dreams usually occur. Usually the transition happens without incident, but sometimes the sleeper has trouble adjusting, and the result is a night terror.
The person may sit up or thrash around in bed, and may scream or shout. Their breathing and heartbeat become rapid, and they may wake up in a cold sweat. Unlike a nightmare, the person may not remember the night terror at all the next day, but may just remember waking up feeling scared.
Night terrors usually happen to children, but adults may also experience them. Fortunately, they are rare, occurring in about 1% of children and less than 1% of adults.
In real life, most children seem to outgrow night terrors as they get older. In adults, they may be related to lack of sleep, poor sleeping habits, diet or sleep apnea. Medication and/or counseling usually help people with more severe cases. But a more sinister form of night terror might be a great subject for a horror story.
What if a demon or other monster is visiting your character during sleep? Or what if it is a more benign entity, trying to send the character a message or warning? In either case, the character may be afraid to go to sleep, but will have to face his fear in order to receive the message or fight the demon.
Maybe several characters are experiencing connected night terrors. They might have to work together to determine the meaning or fight off the monsters. Or possibly, whenever one character tells another about the dream, that person might have it him or herself the next night.
Something to try: Write a horror story in which a character experiences night terrors.
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