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Hypnophobia (somniphobia) - fear of sleep

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simas1

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2015
Messages
5
I have the same problem. Have you gotten any help. And if so what helps. Thanks
 
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simas1

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2015
Messages
5
I have the same phobia. If you got help please tell me what kind of help you got. Thank you
 
J

Jedizoomer

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
1
Another worried soul

Hi everybody.

I'm glad that I found this thread, as this is happening to me right now.

It is so weird...I had this for a while back in late 2014, but after a combination of medication and therapy, it went away. During that time, I was going through a very stressful time in my life...I was on the verge of a breakup (with my partner of close to 5 years), and I was experiencing my anxiety very strongly for the first time in my life. After this episode of somniphobia, I started treatment. However, my ex and I broke up several months later.

Fast forward two years later...I was very mindful of being aware of my grieving process and doing things in my life to keep me distracted and fulfilled.

Then...all of a sudden...last weekend, the somniphobia returned. Not sure why, as for the past two years I have been having decent sleep (at times, I would have a hard time staying asleep, but nothing as debilitating as it is now, and definitely not a fear of falling asleep). Heck, at times I even welcomed sleep, and would enjoy the part of sleep where I just closed my eyes and allowed peace to come...but I never thought about the "what will happen if I am not awake?" part.

Now the actual fear of dozing off has plagued me. Like other posters have stated, it's the fear of the unknown, the fact that I am not aware of what is going on around me and that it is a state of "nothingness" scares he heck out of me.

What I am scared now is of going "crazy." I know this is my anxious (catastrophic) thinking that is at play. I also fear that I will never be able to have the quality of life that I want because I can't shake this irrational thought and fear.

I recently called my psychiatrist and he re-prescribed a limited supply of Ativan (which helped before), but last night when I tried it, while my body started to calm down, I still couldn't grapple with the fact that I was going to doze off. What finally helped me sleep was going to my parent's home (I live alone, but I have the fortune of having my family close) and sleeping in the same room with them.

Note sure if this has to do with feelings of loneliness that I have struggled with since my breakup and the fact that the darkness of sleep is another "lonely state" or what (I have yet to explore this with my therapist).

But anyways, I wanted to resurrect this thread as many of the people who posted stopped updating us on their journey. I'm hoping that some of the old posters could update us on how they have managed. I'm hoping to hear some positive stories.

If anything, we can support each other through here.

Like I mentioned, in the past, what helped me get past that somniphobia of two years ago was a combination of medication and therapy; however, not sure if it can still help this time around as I am not sure why this has returned.

I keep telling myself that because it is based on a thought, it can be addressed through the changing of this thought and exploring other factors in my life that are causing me anxiety, whether conscious or subconscious.

Anyways, I'm hoping and wishing everyone well, and hope to hear from anyone. Thank you.
 
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Hope314

New member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
1
I'm glad I found this page. I don't feel so alone. I can't sleep because I am afraid of descending into unconsciousness. I think I am afraid of losing control. I am afraid because I fear that unknown that I can't control or be consciously aware of. This wasn't always the case for me; I used to enjoy sleeping. I wish it could be like that again.
 
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GardenofEve

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
5
Location
Hungary
Hi Everyone

I'm happy that I found this forum. It really eased me how many people has the same concern as me, despite all of them might be originated in different causes. My phobia is mostly related to my childhood and upbringing, what I had to face in my adulthood. It led me to being afraid of falling asleep, cause I might be hurt while "I am not taking care of myself", and not knowing what happens when "meeting the unknown". It is a terrible issue for me since about 3 years and I was unable to find any cure so far, though I've processed a big part of traumas from my past, apparently I wasn't successful enough. Additionally I do not believe anti-anxiety medication, and I am also quite frightened to take any of these stuff, trying to find a cure through a holistic and spiritual approach to life.

This is how one of my nights looks like: I'm going to bed at around 10:00. I already start to feel an awful amount of anxiety, plus my thoughts start to race and my heart is beating fast. While I strive to calm myself, I'm remembering that I am alone. Because I am. I have no family to count on, since the parents I've got are completely unable of love and attachment. They were always being the same since I exist, but somehow I never took it as bad as I do it now, since I faced my repressed feelings and took reality as it is.In my subconscious mind I've this fear, that I don't belong to anywhere thus I am alone.
No matter how I try to comfort myself I can't let go and sleep... even though I know sleeping is a vital factor. When I get exhausted in the morning I can only sleep an hour or so, and I cannot fully operate during the day. Like this it is immensely hard to hold a job, what I am soon going to do again very soon and I am terribly worried how I will manage. Well, this is my story. Thanks for having me here :)
please share your thoughts on this, if you feel like so.

Wishing you good health,

Éva
 
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spiritfriend

Guest
Have you tried therapy for this? When it comes to phobias, it's usually good to try therapy. Good luck. :goodluck:
 
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GardenofEve

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
5
Location
Hungary
Hi,

I haven't find a specific therapy yet. But I didn't give up on it.
Thanks :)
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,100
Location
USA
Hi,

I haven't find a specific therapy yet. But I didn't give up on it.
Thanks :)
Have you worked through your childhood in therapy?Doing so has made a huge difference in my sleep patterns.I still have times where I struggle at night but it's way better than before.

I began sleeping with weapons when I was 7 years old,always slept with a knife under my pillow and weapons within reach,and it continued into adulthood.When I talked about it in therapy,my therapist said I sleep with weapons because I'm afraid,I told him no,it was because they made me feel safer and we disagreed back and forth,but in the end he was right and once I worked through those old fears things improved.
 
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GardenofEve

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
5
Location
Hungary
I must say, I haven't yet. I still could not fully let go. It is also hard to find the right person, as I am not really able to open up sometimes, when it is needed.

That's great to hear you got your way and can sleep better. How long did it take for you?
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,100
Location
USA
It took about 5 years of therapy.It was a long,hard road to walk.
 
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GardenofEve

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
5
Location
Hungary
That is a long period indeed. Thank God it worth it.
 
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Alex22

New member
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Messages
1
Location
UK
I too am suffering from a fear of sleep.

My fear first began in 2010, when I was 21. it was around this time that I started to experience a constant mild headache which has been there ever since, every day. I also seem to get palpitations and tightness in my chest regularly. So I start worrying though there is something wrong in my brain or something wrong with my heart. I have been to the doctors many times over the years. I've had at least 3 ECGs, a couple of 24-hour heart monitors, a CT scan, and all of the tests have come back fine. But the symptoms persist, and I still have anxiety about it.

It is this anxiety which causes my fear of sleep, as one of my greatest fear is suddenly dying, especially in my sleep. So I have health anxiety which causes another sleep anxiety, which is not a good combination.

After all the tests keep coming back fine from the doctors and they referred me to get Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the health anxiety. My thinking is that if I can get rid of the health anxiety the fear of sleep will go away, hopefully. But of course this is easier said than done.

I did about 3 or 4 sessions of CBT, but I don't think it really did anything to help my health anxiety. In CBT you need to identify the negative thoughts that you have and challenge them with more positive thoughts. My problem was that sometimes I would not have specific thoughts such as "I'm going to die", but it seems like a vague sort of awareness in the back of my mind that something bad could happen if I get to sleep. So I tend to resist falling asleep. Sleep is almost like this impenetrable glass wall in my mind that I can't get through. Or that I don't want to get through. At time of writing I did not sleep at all last night and I feel exhausted right now. It is the 2nd time this week that I've gone through a sleepless night.

But for me it's not there all the time. I find I often go through phases of managing to sleep well without much problem, and then I would go through a phase of being scared to fall asleep.

I think the things that work best for me are getting into a sleep routine.Such as going to bed at about the same time every night, not using the computer right up until I go to bed, meditating. Meditating in particular I think is very helpful as it is a way to distract the mind when I'm lying in bed. Before I started meditating I would lay awake for at least an hour thinking before I fall asleep if I'm lucky. But when I meditate I often on a good night manage to fall asleep within half an hour.

Routine gives me comfort, as I can say to myself that as I managed to sleep the other night without anything bad happening then the same thing should happen tonight. But I am not good at doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I usually only stick to my sleep routine when I'm going through a bad patch, and then when I get back to normal identify back to my old ways and end up staying on the computer for longer than I should do.

If I can manage to relax myself before bed and keep my mind distracted with meditation it helps me to sleep, but the fear is always there somewhere in the back of my mind. As long as I can keep it at bay I'm okay, but the fear all too often manages to come to the front of my consciousness and wreak havoc, until I can quieten it down again.

It's great to know that there are other people out there suffering with this because when I'm lying there unable to sleep I feel so alone.
 
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GardenofEve

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
5
Location
Hungary
Hi,

Thanks for sharing.

I was thinking about what you wrote about distracting the mind of certain intrusive thoughts.May it be that these thoughts has a specific, underlying message that needs to be faced and deal with? Is there something like a bad experience or event that led you to these thoughts, or they occured on their own?

You are definitely not alone :)

Get well soon.
 
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Helen1960

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
183
Location
Scotland
This is my big problem. I knew it existed and it's horrific. Mine stated 16 years ago when I was seriously ill with depression and anxiety. Just as I was going into a dream state my goes into alarm and jerks me awake. It can do it over and over and I try not to fall asleep as it's so horrible. Coming out of the depression got rid of it but perioically it tries to come back. A week ago it kicked in and is gathering strength. Im taking sleeping tabs every 3rd night and managing to stay awake the other 2. That's ok but I don't know if that will last given how strong this can be. Im keeping busy (it's amazing how little sleep we can live on) I know it's because of the trauma of my mental illness that time and Im frightened it will return. I hope i can learn to cope with it. The fear of being driven into that place again is awful.
 
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