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Nightmares Overview

Most people have experienced nightmares, but this phenomenon seems to occur most commonly in children, especially preschoolers between the ages of 3 to 6.

This may be because this is the age at which normal fears develop and a child's imagination is very active. If nightmares occur repeatedly, the possibility of a nightmare disorder should be considered. Nightmares can be distinguished from night terrors as children waking from nightmares are able to recall their dreams vividly both upon awakening and in the morning. In contrast, when children experience night terrors, they remain in a deep sleep and do not recall the event. Each of these can be equally upsetting to parents.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2015

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Nightmares:

Nightmares - Causes

What do you think causes your nightmares?

Fear of Going to Bed

An abnormal and persistent fear of going to bed. Sufferers of this fear experience anxiety even though they realize that going to bed normally should not threaten their well-being. However, because they worry about having nightmares or wetting the bed, they often remain awake and develop insomnia. Insomnia then can become a real threat to their well-being.

Fear of going to bed is termed "clinophobia," a word derived from the Greek "klinein" (to bend, slope or incline, as one does during sleep) and "phobos" (fear). Another medical term containing "clino-"is "clinodactyly" meaning a finger that is curved to the side.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Sleep Disorder: Nightmares »

Sleep disorders occur in 35-45% of children aged 2-18 years.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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