Nemo was a bright, energetic, and hilarious clown fish fingerling. During the day he loved frolicking through the vibrant ocean corals and sea anemones with his angelfish friends. Although Nemo was a happy fry by day, he seemed to be spooked by night. Several times per week, Nemo experienced night terrors.
One night, Nemo was tucked into his sea anemone bed safely with his siblings. His parents were close by to keep an eye on their babies.
Nemo was in the middle of a wonderful dream, he was frolicking in the ocean with his brothers and sisters when suddenly, a giant sea creature appeared from behind some coral, ready to strike. Nemo tossed and turned, trying to fend off the creature from his family. He swam quickly out of his safe bed to chase off the creature letting off a large, loud, stream of bubbles.
Nemo’s parents immediately woke up and swam towards Nemo see what may be the matter. Nemo was drifting in the ocean, away from his safe nest, with his eyes wide open. He seemed to be awake but was very disorientated.
“Nemo, are you okay? Did you have a bad dream?” His dad asked.
Nemo did not respond. His parents grasped Nemo by his fins and tucked him back into the anemone. They kissed and comforted Nemo until he eventually settled into a deep, peaceful sleep.
This was not the first time Nemo’s parents had been woken by their son’s shouting and found him in the ocean. In fact, Nemo was having these sleeping problems almost every week.
In the morning, Nemo did not remember sleep swimming or having any bad dreams at all! It all seemed a little peculiar and Nemo’s parents decided they ought to see Garra rufa, the Doctor Fish.
“Good morning Nemo, and Mr and Mrs Nemo, please come in to my coral cave.”
Nemo’s parents told Dr Rufa all about what had been happening to Nemo. Dr Rufa thought long and hard about the story.
“It sounds like Nemo has been having night terrors”.
“Night terrors are dramatic awakenings that happen during the night in the first few hours of sleep. Even though the terrors are frightening to watch, Nemo is asleep and will not remember anything about the episode of the bad dream in the morning.”
“You must remember that night terrors are different to night mares. Nightmares occur in the second half of the night when fish do most of their dreaming. During a nightmare, a fish wakes up fully and can remember the scary dream. They can be settled by your hugs but they will remember the dream in the morning”.
“About 5 in every 100 fish fry will experience night terrors just like Nemo’s and they commonly happen in fish around Nemo’s age, preschool and primary school aged fish. They are a part of normal development and happen in healthy fish”
“Fortunately, night terrors do not have any long term bad affects on fish and your fry will usually outgrow them.”
Nemo and his parents were feeling very reassured by Dr Rufa.
“What can we do in the mean time to make sure Nemo is safe and to prevent the night terrors happening too often?” Nemo’s mum asked.
“It is important to have a regular sleep time with good bed time habits! Being too tired can make night terrors more frequent,” Dr Rufa continued, “also, during a night terror stay calm and don’t try too hard to settle Nemo because this can make the episode worse. Keep your sea anemone safe and perhaps find a more secure place so Demo doesn’t swim off into the ocean and put himself in danger.”
“Thank you so much Dr Rufa”, Nemo’s dad bubbled, “We feel so much better that Nemo is a completely healthy and happy fish fry and he will grow up to be a completely normal beautiful clown fish with his siblings”.
Nemo and his parents swam back to their home and their family frolicked through the rainbow coloured corals, without the intrusion of any sea creatures what so ever!
For more information about night terrors:
The purpose of this site is to help people understand that there are medical solutions and reasons for Night Terrors.