Although sleep terrors (also known as night terrors or pavor nocturnus) are more common in children aged 3-12 years, they occur in adults as well. Sleep terrors are a specific sleep disruption most remarkable for their intensity and frantic appearance. Most episodes begin within the first 1-2 hours of sleep, during stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep, though episodes may occur later or during naps.
In view of the benign and self-limited nature of sleep terrors, most affected individuals require no specific medical intervention other than reassurance and education. The use of scheduled awakenings (waking the individual just before an event is anticipated) has been suggested as a possible means of reducing the occurrence of sleep terrors.
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