‘Running’ Night Terrors


The Croaking Raven doth bellow for revenge.”–Hamlet (3.2-250)

This is a blog on ‘running‘ night terrors, which I have suffered from personally for 38 years. [Please do not confuse them with nightmares.] I still manage to work every day, but having them four or five nights a week, felt like a huge truck hit me overnight. I was diagnosed three times over the years through extensive sleep studies. Many times, I was harmed physically while running while asleep. Since my first, I have learned triggers that can bring them on: exhaustion, extreme stress, eating late at night, sugar products or white products, like bread, cake, cookies, etc. Mine have minimized to a few a year now. But this is for those of you who have them and have no answers. If you check out the links below, you will see there are two possible reasons and help available. I have never shared this publicly, but I’m hoping it will help others. [Yes, I am very normal during the day.)

This is a night terrors excerpt, chapter 8, from my book . . .

. . . About thirty minutes later, Nick settled into one of the guest rooms down the hall since Charlie had returned home. After a chilling scream that caused Nick to run to the doorway, Dana ran like lightening past the guest room and yelled, “Help, I can’t breathe!” Arms in the air, she tore down the long hallway and turned at the stairs. Nick rushed behind her and called her name, but reached the stairs too late. Pressing the emergency number, he took the stairs two at a time to where she lay unconscious at the bottom. Her pulse rapid, her chest heaved as she drowned in sweat.

“Dana, wake up. Talk to me,” he begged, as he removed his shirt and dabbed at her face and neck. Unable to move, she murmured, her eyes half open. Her body quivered as she fought to get a full breath.

Charlie rushed down the stairs, Choco right behind. “Mom’s having another night terror?” The dog licked her face.

“A what?” Nick asked.

Disoriented, she struggled to sit up.

“Don’t move. The paramedics are on their way,” Nick said. “Charlie, your mom ran by me and flew down the stairs like a meteor hitting earth. It happened so fast, and she appeared to be asleep.”

“This is not new,” Charlie said. “When she’s fully awake, she makes an effort to breathe again and remembers nothing of how she got here. She’s disoriented and fearful at first. When I turned twelve, the sleep doctors told me not to touch her, but follow her at a distance to make sure she didn’t hurt herself.” Charlie held one of his mom’s hands, patting it. “One night, her screams woke me, and I found her outside running around on the porch. When she hit her toe, I guess it woke her. At first, she wasn’t able to breathe, shaking and sweating. That’s when they had performed a lot of tests and diagnosed mom with night terrors.” Charlie shook his head. “Mom, are you awake now?”

Opening her eyes slowly, she worried once again that Nick wouldn’t stand by her if she lost the mask that would reveal her secret life. Loss of control wasn’t an option. Hand to her stomach, she thought of the baby and prayed.

When the paramedics arrived, she looked up into Nick’s worried eyes.

Please leave a comment or question if you have one, and/or hit like. Thank-you.

Have a great day and stay safe!



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