Spotlight on Sleep terror

Sleep terrors consist of abrupt arousals out of sleep stage 3 NREM, primarily in the first third of the night, with disordered motor agitation, screaming, fear, and autonomic activation. Sleep terrors affect between 1% to 6% of prepubertal children with a peak incidence between 5 and 7 years of age and a strong familial clustering. Sleep terrors are usually benign and tend to spontaneously decrease in frequency or cease during adolescence.

In this update, Dr. Federica Provini of the University of Bologna and IRCCS Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna addresses the latest clinical and polygraphic criteria for the differential diagnosis between sleep terrors and other motor phenomena occurring during sleep, focusing on sleep-related hypermotor epilepsy in which the differential diagnosis poses particular problems.

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