• Hi. It’s great to see you. Welcome!

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life. Amongst our membership there is a wealth of expertise that has been developed through having to deal with mental health issues.

    We are an actively moderated forum with a team of experienced moderators. We also have a specialist safety team that works extra hard to keep the forum safe for visitors and members.

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

Hypnophobia (somniphobia) - fear of sleep

L

Lachy Balboa

New member
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
1
I'm often very afraid to go to sleep. Not because I feel as though I'll be attacked or killed, but because of that moment where I cross over into unconsciousness and I that I cannot remember it at all after I wake up. Its irrational, but it freaks me out. I'm not sure why I have this, whether or not its about loss of control. Even though I live with some pretty intense anxiety, I'm not at all an over controlling person.

I was hoping maybe there were some other people with something similar who could talk about their experiences and how they got over it. Even just having someone to talk to that understands what I'm talking about might help.
Cheeeeeeeeeeers
 
calypso

calypso

Well-known member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jan 5, 2011
Messages
44,692
Location
Lancashire
Hiya Lady Balboa

I don't have this specifically, but I suspect a lot of people on here have a great fear of this. In my case, I am afraid that I will dream and not cope, or even that I won't dream and miss out on hearing from my loved one who recently died.

Fear of sleep is not a fear in itself, its a fear of what might happen, the unknown, I would argue. Like all anxiety, it is not a diagnosis in itself, its a reaction to something else and its finding that "something else" which is the issue. I can't answer you in depth but I can sympathise. xx
 
F

findingmyownway

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
Messages
1,595
I used to go through stages of being very scared of going to sleep.

Sometimes when I couldn't sleep it was because of a fear of the experience of the sleep state itself - an anxiety perhaps about me not being in control? I don't know, just the idea of being asleep was frightening.

The idea of sleep used to be scary for me, because it's an unknown. We could all die at any second of any day - not necessarily from an accident, could be from anything ..heart defect, sudden cerebral bleed - god knows, there are so many things that could potentially in theory kill us. It was difficult for me because I was very anxious, and I always thought something bad would happen to me in my sleep. One of my family members who is very old now, in her 90's, is going through a similar fear right now. The only thing with her though is that it is probably fairly likely she'll die in her sleep given her age and state of poor health. She has the same fear though, and she is the only person I've ever spoken to who has had this fear. She also wants a concious death experience.

Any way I've changed my lifestyle so much recently that is far more likely I'll die in a dreadful accident than die in my sleep - so relatively speaking, it all feels very unlikely now.

I also feel less aware of myself physically since cutting down on smoking.

You're right though about it being irrational. But so many things aren't rational, and it still doesn't make us worry any less. What I can suggest is just to do things to make yourself feel as relaxed and comfortable before you go to sleep - I like to watch a film, or listen to some relaxing music. Mantras can be very helpful...


Try breathing slowly and being physically aware. When you're physically relaxing to enter a state of sleep we all have weird things that go on (like muscle twitches etc.). I think just being aware of those and thinking 'that's OK', and learning to feel comfortable with what goes on when our bodies start to 'switch off' is very good. You might even start to like it given time.

A reassuring thought for me is that sleep is not really a state of unconsciousness at all, it just feels that way sometimes when we wake up.
 
D

daviddoyle

New member
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
2
hey I really never knew anyone else got this I've only been on this forum for 5 minutes and seen so many people posting about issues I believed were unique to myself , it's such a relieving feeling.

what frightens me specifically I think is the images and dream scenarios that might await me , I think my conscious mind does create sometimes torturous semi-sleep states but I have found that if instead of jolting myself awake (or being jolted by an image) that if I really disengage from the process of falling asleep my subconscious actually creates very tolerable dreams.

not sure if our problems are exactly the same but I think we share an aversion to the chaotic and warping nature of semi-sleep states. Actually re-reading what you've written you could say our fears about sleep are polar opposites , I cannot bear to be mentally present at the transition whereas you are unsettled by your absence from it? perhaps we could teach eachother how to adopt the others approach
 
RainbowHeartz

RainbowHeartz

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2013
Messages
13,276
Hi I got this during phychosis
I would worry that I was getting to relaxed and if I went to sleep I wouldn't wake up so I didn't sleep for days

Sending you love and hugs xx

Ally xx
 
Q

Qiwemen

New member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
2
Hello everyone,

(Sorry for my english, its not perfect. My native language is hungarian.)

I am so grateful to find this thread. I almost cried when I read the first post. Finally someone has the same problem like me and possibly understands what I am going through for my entire life. I have other anxieties too, but the worst of all of them is the fear of sleep. It started when I was about 12 years old. I was thinking what will happen when I fall asleep. And then started the nightmare what I call the life. Nowadays I maganed to be able to work and live at daylight, which is a VERY bug success. In short: i fear of being unconscious during sleep. I dont know what happens when I fall asleep, and I cannot remember anything when I wake up. It means to me death and I feel I stop to exist every night. This is dreadful.

This ruins my life, my relationships and everything, because I am trying to avoid anything that would tire me. I can only sleep without trouble if I am not tired at all. The only thing that helps me is qigong and other meditation technics, but they are not perfect, altough I developed many strategies to be able to live with that fear.

Nobody understands that. I feel that I am in a different universe than the other people around me. I want to speak with anybody who has the same phobia or at least knows what I am talking about. Please, if you feel the same than contact me anyhow. You can find my S kype name on my profile or reply here.
 
S

Sabertooth26

New member
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
1
Hey Qiwemen I know exactly how you feel. I've been feeling that way for quite some time now and I have no one to talk about it with. I wish i knew why this is happening.
 
pepecat

pepecat

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
13,818
Location
middle earth
I used to get nightmares and sleepwalk when i was a kid, and when I was a teenager I went through a period of being frightened of going to sleep in case I got nightmares. I forget how long it lasted, but it completely freaked me out for weeks.
I think I got so tired eventually that I slept anyway, but i think fear of sleep - for whatever reason, is pretty scary. Sleep is meant to be healthy and healing, and to have that interrupted can be awful.
 
S

samlehmann

New member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3
Hi everyone, I share the relief to know that I am not alone dealing with the fear of sleep. I could use the same words Lachy Balboa used, I'm afraid of being unconscious, of falling asleep, of anesthesia, etc. Especially when I'm really tired and I know it's a matter of minutes before I'm unconscious for the next 8 hours or so. I can't picture myself during these moments, and I feel like I'm going through the process of being put to death like an execution. I am 30 now, and falling asleep has always been a problem as far as I can remember, sometimes I just don't think about it, but if I do, I immediately freak out.
 
S

samlehmann

New member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3
I feel the same ! Exactly the same fear of being unconscious, of falling asleep, of knowing that you can't do anything about it (you can't reasonably live without sleep), which is worse when I'm tired and I have not much time ahead of me before I loose consciousness...
 
S

secretsurvivor1

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
306
Location
SW UK
I know someone who falls asleep easily but is shouting in the middle of the night but his body is paralysed. I have to physically shove him to wake fully and he is grateful as he remembers a vivid attack in his sleep. He believes he is being attacked by ghosts / aliens and they paralyse him to interfere with him (he was sexually abused for many years as a child and is unable to talk about it). The Psychiatrist has explained that the state between proper wakefulness and proper sleep in "hypnogogic", when the paralysed state that comes with deep sleep is still hanging on, and with it night terrors in appearance and sensation, but he is awake enough to moan and eventually shout. Left alone, he can sometimes fall back into deep quiet sleep, but most often he shakes himself awake as his shouting gets louder and louder. It is a very frightening noise he makes.
 
S

samlehmann

New member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3
I'm not afraid of being attacked or mugged or anything, I'm just not comfortable with the idea of falling asleep, I fear the transition from consciousness to unconsciousness like crazy. Being under anesthesia is my worst fear.
 
S

secretsurvivor1

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
306
Location
SW UK
My own fears about sleep have cost me a job, where I am so anxious to sleep that I lie awake, pace about, check things are ready or secure, and maybe fall asleep with the dawn and wake with my alarm very soon after. Sometimes I stay asleep and just can't hear it. Sometimes I try to press snooze but can't see straight, I'm so tired, and I turn it off by mistake and instantly fall back to sleep. If I am anxious about the next day, especially if I have a commitment or appointment, it makes me wake up with a gasp, bolt upright, after maybe half an hour's sleep. I have ended up with my body-clock totally upside down, when I dread the dark but end up only able to sleep with the comfort of the sun. Then when I am awake everyone else is asleep and I am alone. I can't go anywhere in the cold and dark. I can't ring people who are asleep. There is nothing on TV. It is total misery.
 
P

PsionicFrost

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2
I found this thread Googling around and I experience the same thing as y'all. I had to join when I saw that. It's 5:45am and I'm dead tired, but after being so anxious Thursday/Friday night, I wasn't able to sleep and can't sleep at night. I spent 3 days up, panicking trying to sleep and was finally able to sleep during the day with the sun out. This is by no means an isolated occurrence, it happens pretty often until my anxiety levels eventually lower weeks later, it's just that I'm dealing with it right now.

Nothing like feeling like you'll die in your sleep then having a panic attack which feels like your going to die, creating a vicious cycle of horrible thoughts on sleep. A big part of it is that I live alone and the thought that if I died, it could be a week before someone found out I was dead. Even worse, if it was something that could be helped with fairly immediate attention within a couple hours, knowing that if someone was nearby I could be alright.

Bleh, I guess it's the security that the day brings that it's warm and people are active that is comforting over the cold bleak darkness of night. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep today. I may just have to drink myself to sleep one night to get everything back to normal, haven't drank in a long time so shouldn't take a whole lot, just a 6 pack.
 
N

nomee76

New member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1
I have adult ADHD & borderline personality disorder. I get somniphobia for months then i looked wiped out & it catches up on me then ill fall asleep anywhere..floor for e.g. as im so exhausted. I know its anxiety relayed. Iv had benzodiazepines, Hypnotics & even nytol 1 a night (i take 3), but i battle & fight the tiredness and go msny a 24-48 hrs without even a nap. Its affecting my relationship too as iv had to stop working so i appear lazy as im tired all the time. Im also on ritalin & lamictal..but that just helps me focus & help level my moods. I wish i dlrpt when tired...dont know why i dont.. i just dread sleep so much.
 
Top