Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Jessica is six years old. Her parents recently saw her pediatrician because they were concerned about the sleeping difficulties Jessica has been having. Often she would scream out loud in her sleep. Her parents would rush to her room and find her sitting upright in bed, panting heavily in a state of panic. Jessica would not respond to her parent’s words of consolation, and the next morning she would have no memory of the incident at all. Her parents were worried about the anxiety their daughter was experiencing and asked the pediatrician what they could do about her nightmares. The pediatrician explained Jessica was likely suffering from sleep terrors and carefully described what that meant.

  1. What are the similarities and differences between nightmares and sleep terrors?
  2. What are the characteristics of motor, sensory, and autonomic function during REM sleep? What is thought to be the importance of this stage of sleep?
  3. Jessica’s pediatrician said that the careful management of sleep hygiene may help to decrease the incidence of her sleep terrors. What is included in an overview of the general features that demonstrate good sleep hygiene?

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