"The Sleep We Take for Granted: A Brief Look at Night Terrors and Their Sufferers" is a paper that was written for WRIT 121 class with Helen Draper in the fall of 2003 at Lansing Community College. A copy has been embedded below.


The paper was written as an essay paper by the Dozerfleet founder on Friday, October 10th of 2003 in preparation for presentation in class around 8:00 AM EDT on Saturday, October 11th of 2003. The selection was inspired by a group discussion in an earlier class session; and chosen due to the fact that the Dozerfleet founder knew Carly, a girl who had both suffered night terrors as a child and wrote a paper herself on them back in high school.

A topic similar to this, that of Type-II Multiple False Awakening, inspired the Gerosha Chronicles story Sorbet.


The paper was received with mild interest by the class, and slightly less by the teacher. Helen did, however, take issue with the use of some pronouns in the original. Mild fixes are reflected in the embedded version below. She found the ending line to be a "nice Stephen King touch."

Essay itselfEdit

The Sleep We Take for Granted:
A Brief Look at Night Terrors and their Sufferers

By: David Stiefel
WRIT 121
Essay #3
Helen Draper

David Stiefel
The Sleep We Take for Granted

Sleep—we all take it for granted, and most of us think little of it (except when we don't get enough of it.) It's very common for us to have nightmares; and most of us wake up and think little of them, other than how strange they are. For some, the nightmare doesn't end when they open their eyes. Instead, those unfortunates experience what is known as a night terror. In this paper, we'll briefly look at night terrors; and discuss how to deal with someone who has them.

There are many possible reactions that someone with a night terror may have to their perceived tormentor. For example, some of them will try to fight back against their adversaries. According to an article at[1], night terror sufferers can commit anything from sleepwalking to sexual assault while in a daze.

It is helpful to know what happens when a loved one develops these problems. Some reassuring findings include the following:

- Night terror likelihood runs in families.
- The terror itself isn't innately dangerous. (Although, the sufferer may become a danger to self or others.)
- Episodes usually last only 10-20 minutes.
- Children usually grow out of them.[2]

These rare occurrences usually happen when the sufferers in terror episodes wake partially from a nightmare after they've entered Stage 4 of sleep, just after Stage 3 of REM sleep ends.[3] Most who experience these problems have little memory of what frightened them, though some remember quite well.[4] One former sufferer, Carly Ojala, shared her experiences with these episodes, as she began investigating the causes behind them. She was once tormented by a creature that used to grab her leg during episodes:

" The 12 years [I spent] living with [the monster], I felt like I was living in a wasteland. There was a shadow behind all corners. Daytime was fine-in the midst of daylight. But after the lights went out...the horror began. It would begin with low-grade shuffling, followed by panicking streaks of frenzy at times. The nightmares and reality would intertwine, causing a fear I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

The final night, I got a good glimpse of my fear: standing in my doorway...a 9-ft.-tall monster with a long, black, snake-like body. It had two large white eyes that were staring at me, and two long arms with silver lining going from its hands to its shoulders. It had no visible mouth...only an elephant-like trunk for a nose.[5] "

Carly is far from being the only sufferer of such graphic episodes. A man named Tim, age 40, described seeing a "green monster blog" coming out of the ceiling.[6] These extreme episodes come from a particular form of sleep paralysis, called hallucinatory sleep paralysis. Embarrassing to the sufferer, and rarely mentioned, it's believed that this sleep disorder has existed for centuries. The demonic creatures interpreted are defined by cultural influences.[7] Various ancient cultures have interpreted these monsters as anything from witches and demons to cats, foxes, and ancestral ghosts.[8] Perhaps even more amazing is that nearly all who claim to see the creatures were sleeping on their backs, and claim their tormentors tried to strangle them.[9]

Usually, little can be done about the episodes. One relief is that as the victims age, the symptoms usually go away.[10] Perhaps the best you can do to suffering friends and family is comfort them while they suffer; but don't tell them nothing's happening. It is better to wait until morning to inform them of what went on.[11] It may take years of study before all sleep disorders are explained. In the meantime, all we can do is deal with them when they do happen to us—or our relatives. Sleep tight.


  1. 2003.
  2. Richards, David. Night Terrors Resource Center. 1996.
  3. IBID
  4. IBID
  5. Ojala, Carly. "Describing the Tinkle Tinkle" (phone interview). Friday, October 2nd, 2003, 7:45 PM EDT.
  6. Richards, David. Night Terrors Resource Center. 1996.
  7. IBID
  8. IBID
  9. IBID
  10. IBID
  11. IBID

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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