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 11/21/2012
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