episode #126 nightmares & terrors

collage of pictures in purple and yellow orange hue

Night terrors and nightmares happen at different stages of sleep. Night terror, also called sleep terror, is a sleep disorder causing feelings of panic or dread and typically occurring during the first hours of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and lasting for 1 to 10 minutes. While nightmares and bad dreams are happening during REM sleep, in the second half of the night, and are a cause of feelings of horror or fear. Nightmares are relatively common during childhood, night terrors occur less frequently.

The universal feature of night terrors is inconsolability, very similar to that of a panic attack. There is a sense that the individuals are trying to protect themselves and/or escape from a possible threat of bodily injury. Sleep terrors don’t involve a full awakening; instead, a person remains mostly asleep and difficult to awaken. If awakened, they likely will be disoriented. In contrast, when a person wakes up from a nightmare, they tend to be alert and aware of what was happening in their dream. Occasionally, when a person with a night terror is awakened, they will lash out at the one awakening them, which can be dangerous to that individual. 

A nightmare, also known as a bad dream, is an unpleasant, threatening, upsetting, bizarre, or otherwise bothersome dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear but also despair, anxiety or great sadness. 

Nightmares can have physical causes such as sleeping in an uncomfortable position or having a fever, or psychological causes such as stress or anxiety. Eating before going to sleep, which triggers an increase in the body’s metabolism and brain activity, can be a potential stimulus for nightmares.

The word nightmare is derived from the Old English mare, a mythological demon or goblin who torments others with frightening dreams.

Spoken word

Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven


Cristina Vantzou: At Dawn

Slaves, Isaac Holman, Laurence Vincent: Acts Of Fear And Love

Bernard Herrmann: All The Animals Come Out At Night


Hot Chip: Dark Night

Say Yes Dog: Golden Nights

Röyksopp: The Fear


Oscar Peterson: In the Still of the Night

Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker

Thundercat: Inferno

Bernard Herrmann: The Night

A community radio midnight show Through the Bohemian Looking Glass is aired Sunday, Tuesday and Friday night at midnight (GMT), that means you stay late on Saturday, Monday and Thursday. A new episode is aired every Sunday midnight (the night between Saturday and Sunday) on Wirral Wave radio or AirTime. Later on SoundCloud for some time.