The Difference Between Nightmares and Night Terrors

The Difference Between Nightmares and Night Terrors

We understand how tough it is to get great rest. Some barriers to sleep are external like barking dogs or loud music, and other times it's nightmares or night terrors. Dr. Richard Bogan at Bogan Sleep Consultants in Columbia, SC is dedicated to helping you get a better night’s rest and bounce back from nightmares or night terrors.

Understanding the difference between a nightmare and a night terror

Nightmares are dreams that can occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle. They are usually visions of persons, places, or events that evoke strong emotions like sadness, anger, or grief. These images can be recurring at a certain point in the sleeper's life or can appear once and never again.

Sometimes nightmares can be brought on by triggers in the patient’s waking life such as stress over school, work, or other concerns. Lifestyle choices and/or poor health unrelated to sleeping may also render one susceptible to nightmares when slumbering. At times, certain images will disturb the sleep, or just abruptly stop and go away. Most of the time, details of the nightmare stay with the dreamer.

So what are night terrors?

Night terrors are intense bouts of fear that usually affects children aged younger than 10. They are caused by a partial awakening during the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) cycle. They can be recurring and equally as dramatic as nightmares, with patients screaming, mumbling, and exhibiting other behaviors while experiencing the episode.

While these terrors are not dangerous by themselves, parents need to protect their children from falls and other injuries as their child experiences this. Still, adults have night terrors too. According to Stanford Children’s Health, night terrors can be avoided by getting adequate nap time and having a set sleep schedule.

Sleep disturbances can interfere with normal functioning in everyday life. Lack of sleep can be uncomfortable and causes symptoms that can exacerbate other conditions. Bogan Sleep Consultants in Columbia, SC can help you figure out how to get better sleep. Call Dr. Richard Bogan at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an appointment today.

Our Location

Office Hours


8:30 am-5:00 pm


8:30 am-5:00 pm


8:30 am-5:00 pm


8:30 am-5:00 pm


8:30 am-12:00 pm





Sleep Lab: 08:00 PM - 06:00 AM

Phone Number: (803) 251-3093