Night terrors and memory loss

by Sarah

My husband and son both have a learning disability. They can learn something and go to sleep and the next day it is gone.

memory problems story
I have always thought it had something to do with their sleep. I have tried almost every memory tactic with my son.

But here is another thing I recently found about both of them. They both used to dream when they were real little but both suffered from night terrors.

The night terrors stopped for both of them but after the night terrors stopped for both of them, they don't dream.

My husband thinks that their minds have blocked that somehow to protect their mind from having anymore night terrors. The only time they seem to have dreams is after a loss of someone.

My husband dreamt of his father after his passing and my son just lost his best friend due to the swine flu and he has been dreaming of him.

This is only really the only time they dream. Are their any studies out there about this? And do you think it would help my son to have a sleep study done on him to see if he is sleeping right? If there are no studies done, do you know anyone who could study this?

I really believe if we can do a study of children with learning problems and sleep studies done on them, it may change a lot of people's lives. If you don't know of anyone that does studies, do you know someone I can contact to try to get a study done? Thank you.

Doug's Reply: There is no question that dysfunctional sleep patterns can
interfere with consolidation of new memories. For that reason alone, I think you should consider having sleep studies done on your husband and son.

I am skeptical that they do not dream. Maybe they simply don't remember their dreams - many people don't. As this article mentions:

"People equate not remembering their dreams with not dreaming and think they don't fall into a deep sleep. But the study may show they did enter what experts call a dream sleep."

Could be some other kind of underlying sleep disorder going on. If so, a sleep study should shed some light.

As a side note, are day-time naps an option for their situation? You might want to read this article which mentions:

"The body is on a basically 24-hour body clock that winds down once in the afternoon and once in at night.... A daytime nap can boost learning and memory by helping us tune-out interfering information".

I wasn't able to find any studies that specifically link night terrors to memory loss. But that is a fascinating question... you might be able to convince some researcher to study it.

The Mayo Clinic was the first place that popped into my mind. Check out their sleep center webpage here:

Sleep Disorders Center

There is a "Research" paragraph at the bottom along with a Contact Us link at the bottom of the page.

Good luck with this. If you solve it or make any discoveries, please let me know.

This is information only. It is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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