Hypnophobia (somniphobia) - fear of sleep

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gonedarb

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Jul 21, 2018
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Thank you for all that have put this information up. I have felt alone with this issue. I don't fear going to sleep because I am going to die, I don't really know the reason... Which is really stange, I have sleep apnia which I can die in my sleep... I fight it for as long as I can... I think it is the fear of the next morning coming so soon... Maybe the fear of the time going way to fast. When I do lay in bed my mind is all over the place fighting to keep me awake.... I close my eyes and focus on the blackness if I do that after a bit I do fall asleep. Then when I wake up it is like a big jerk which scares me... Anxiety it seems like but I am not sure if that is what it is.
 
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hannah578

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Jul 24, 2018
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Oh my god, thank you all for your posts here. I thought I was completely alone in this!
I struggle so much to identify what about going to sleep freaks me out. I’ve narrowed it down to maybe about not feeling like I’ve done enough with my day, fear of the next day coming too quickly, and maybe giving up control to allow my subconscious to take over. Maybe all.
 
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Roosje37

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Finally a diagnoses for my fear! Somehow it's nice to know I'm not the only battling this in the world. It's a crippling fear, because you just can't avoid sleep like you can avoid busy places if that gives you anxiety. For me it's the fear of just disappearing. Being here one moment to be gone the next. For me it's like being dead. I've been living with this for almost a year now and have given up it ever getting better. It's something I have to live with. I try to focus on all the fun things during the day which helps a bit. All too often I need a drink / sleeping pill to help me fall asleep which makes me feel more depressed when I wake up, because I want to be able to sleep on my own. Like I used to....
 
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ashley333

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this is EXACTLY how I feel, I am scared every day once I wake up about sleeping that night. it’s awful. :( i’m so sorry you have to deal with this too.
 
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Lipsofanangel

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Somewhat torn between gratitude that I'm not alone in this fear and disturbed that how many more people suffer in silence!

I've struggled with sleep on and off in my life, as a toddler I would fall asleep anywhere there are photos of me crashed out in the weirdest places and positions, and I would often sleepwalk. This escalated I. My late teens when my brother found me half climbed out his second story bedroom window saying that I needed to "ring a bell or the people wouldn't know" or something to that effect.

I have had some pretty rough issues with being unconscious, was drugged and raped more than once, I've woken up in bed to the sound of running water and realised I had passed out while washing my hands and somehow just gone back to bed. Always been terrified of anaesthetic and being forced into a state of unconsciousness and feared hypnotherapy and the thought of someone else having ckntr of my mind and body and being helpless to stop it. Yet through all those times I never had the fear that I have now.

It began about 18 - 20 months ago and was awake for like 4 days at a time, my mind was paralyzed to the point that even laying down started my heart racing and brought in panic attacks.

I realised during that time that it was sleep itself that I was afraid of, it was the fear of waking up after having been asleep... Which might be a whole seperate issue!? Who knows.

About 9 months ago I woke up one morning and found my wallet on the kitchen bench competely torn apart, the house was fully locked everything else was untouched and my partner was the only person home who swears he didn't touch it and I still bring it up and grill him about it - because I would feel so much relief if he admitted it was him than the unknown alternative.

A few weeks ago I remember waking at 3am and walking to our kitchenette to get a drink and I saw a flash of the brightest white light and then felt blood spitting out of my eyebrow - it was all through my eye and throught it was my eye! My partner was in bed when I got up and when I turned the light on the kitchen. I still have no idea how or what happened but it was a pretty forceful blow and left a dent which is still visible now that it's healed.

I was terrified to go to the hospital thinking that they would lock me up in the psych ward and never let me out again - yet I KNOW that I am sane but cannot explain what or how it happened.

I guess the main difference I have is that my fears are based on actual things I'm my past, which makes them technically "stressors" more than "Anxieties".

I haven't taken a decent photo in years, don't really use a mirror much but I feel fine but when I see my reflection I look EXHAUSTED!

I wish I could offer solutions than possibly just instigating more fear but I'm feeling pretty desperate to sleep now and jolt awake before I can relax enough to fall asleep, before I know it the sun is rising and I think I will be dead before I'm 40 if this doesn't end soon :-(

Anyone else have unexplained things happen when they do actually sleep and wake up disturbed and rattled?
 
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Rose1988

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Help!

I also have fear of sleep due to wanting control of my thoughts at all times. When you sleep you dont have control. For me it started in 2013 my boyfriend at the time was suppose to be getting out of prison. Instead he got extradited and the night I found out he wasnt coming home is when it started. Usually, after that, I only experience this hell of a phobia for a week or so a year, then the racing thoughts dissipate and I forget I even have it. Not this time it's been going on for over a month. I have tried meditation, yoga, positive affirmations and sleep hypnosis via YouTube videos which seem to only help a handful of times since this last psychosis has taken over. I even take sleep vitamins and benzos and at best I fall asleep at 5am if I'm lucky. I cant get anything done because when I finally awake from my drug induced sleep its 4pm and the day is ending, cant get anything productive done. It's so bad I have lately been thinking about a permanent way out which is scary for me. To think it has taken over to that point. I have no faith in the medical community because they never take it seriously. If anyone has advice please write me. I am desperate, this is living hell. I use to love sleep.
 
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lathrodectus

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I think this is not just a phobia but it's also a part of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The obsessive thinking and the constant need to control the thoughts, always trying to do something to prevent another thing which makes you anxious. That sounds more like OCD. It sounds like a brain who is in constant loop which cannot break, a loop which is constantly fed by anxiety (greater the anxiety greater is the fixation on the sleep). It reminds me of the somatic OCD. In this form of OCD the patient fixes his/her mind of ordinary body functions as breathing, blinking, etc. The patient has the fear (it doesn't matter how irrational it is) that if s/he stop thinking about the breathing for example it will stop (and as we all know breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and no conscious control over it is necessary). This is a perfect example of OCD about a natural process which people try to control when it is not needed (because our body knows its work). Here 'the hypnophobics' are trying to control their sleep or something bad will happen. Hypnophobia reminds me of another form of OCD also called 'existential OCD' where the sufferer's thoughts are always centered about philosophical topics like the nature of reality, the life after death, nothingness, the loss of consciousness, the meaning of life and so on. In this case the existential dread is projected on the sleep. It doesn't matter that everyone has slept countless nights in bliss waiting the falling asleep to come. Now it's all changed. Now this so expected blissful moment is marked as danger (it doesn't matter the reason). When there is a high level of anxiety, the mind is ever alert because it considers the trigger as danger and cannot find a suitable way to shut off (from biological point of view it shouldn't - no one wants to fall asleep while being chased by a lion after all). I am not an expert but the hypnophobia in my view is more like existential dread/form of OCD and generalized anxiety disorder than pure phobia like the fear of cats or dogs.
 
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Mum23

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I have hypnophobia and my doc has sent me to sleep clinics etc I take 15mg of zoplicone at night and I get about an hour if I’m lucky mine has been caused by being involved in a roadside bomb while I was serving in Afghanistan now the minute I relax I hear the explosion every night and I’m awake again mine is a mixture of ocd and ptsd
 
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lathrodectus

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Mum23, you sleep only an hour or it takes one hour till you fall asleep?
 
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Phebe123

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I have suffered from this somniphobia since I was about 8. I can completely identify with many of the thoughts described by others; dread of falling and being asleep, unconsciousness anaesthetic, loss of control. And it has been there all my life and affected my whole life.
I am now 56 and only within the past 8 years have I discovered that others suffer from this.
I have realised that the cause of it was being dragged from sleeping at night by my father and beaten on some pretext such as i had done my homework wrong. I then developed bed wetting and facial ticks and my father beat me severely round the face every time I bed wet or I was blinking or doing the other ticks.
Various psychotherapists have told me that all this is clearly the cause of my problems, and it makes sense.
I say all this because I want to ask if anyone else had a similar childhood experience which triggered this terrible thing (somniphobia). It helps to know at least what has caused something has happened.
 
daffy

daffy

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I never knew it was called this I always said I had insomnia. I suffer from night terrors/panic attacks and have woken up the neighbours with my screaming. It got to the stage like a lot of others that I was scared to go to sleep as I knew what would happen. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not but since I’ve stopped the quetiapine the nightmares/panic attacks have really eased off. I’m still an insomniac only sleeping about two hours at a time but at least I’m getting some sleep
 
Parayana

Parayana

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Wow, I suffer from this from time to time which is why I'm up now - I usually don't sleep until I'm completely exhausted.

@daffy - the nightmares happen to my ex - she's taken Quetiapine for years and has some times woken up screaming, the vivid and scary dreams seem quite common, she gave me 25 mg once when I'd been awake for a couple of days as it's really sedating - it knocked me out but I had some crazy dreams on it.
 
Tim

Tim

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Thank you for all that have put this information up. I have felt alone with this issue. I don't fear going to sleep because I am going to die, I don't really know the reason... Which is really stange, I have sleep apnia which I can die in my sleep... I fight it for as long as I can... I think it is the fear of the next morning coming so soon... Maybe the fear of the time going way to fast. When I do lay in bed my mind is all over the place fighting to keep me awake.... I close my eyes and focus on the blackness if I do that after a bit I do fall asleep. Then when I wake up it is like a big jerk which scares me... Anxiety it seems like but I am not sure if that is what it is.
I too suufer from Night Terrors.
 
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