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Hypnophobia (somniphobia) - fear of sleep

Q

Qiwemen

New member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
3
@Jeditz
Third, at least with me, I’ve learned that somniphobia is not a cause, but a symptom or a manifestation of my anxiety, as I don’t experience it at all when my life and anxiety is stable and under control.
Exactly this. My fear of sleep is a symptom of my anxiety. In the last years I was able to identify some cause for my mental issues and fears and with that my somniphobia started get better. I have not beaten this yet fully, but I am in a much better state now than I was in 2015. I think the most important thing to work on yourself and develop senf-knowledge with a good therapist. Good luck everyone! I wish everyone could be free of this terrible fear!
 
J

Jedizoomer

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
6
@Jeditz


Exactly this. My fear of sleep is a symptom of my anxiety. In the last years I was able to identify some cause for my mental issues and fears and with that my somniphobia started get better. I have not beaten this yet fully, but I am in a much better state now than I was in 2015. I think the most important thing to work on yourself and develop senf-knowledge with a good therapist. Good luck everyone! I wish everyone could be free of this terrible fear!
 
J

Jedizoomer

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
6
Yes thank you for your response! And I feel that what you said is spot on. I hope this gives hope to those who are suffering from this condition. Because I realized that somniphobia was not an issue at all when my life was stable after having had experienced my second episode with somniphobia in 2015. I was able to fall back asleep in the morning and even take afternoon naps! During this time, sleep was so pleasurable and I even welcomed it! So I know that it is possible to reach this state again after having experienced it when one’s anxiety is at bay and one is able to work through other issues and therapy. Some to all my fellow folks who are suffering from this, please consider doing some therapeutic work with a therapist, I see it more as a blessing than a burden!
 
J

Jedizoomer

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
6
Hello everyone and happy new year. I posted about two weeks ago and wanted to give an update. Hopefully this will give hope to those who are suffering from this condition. Since my last post, I am still struggling with this condition, however it appears to have gotten slightly better as my somniphobia now is only limited to daytime sleeping. At night, I am able to fall asleep without any somniphobia. However, it is difficult for me to stay asleep as I wake up about two or three times a night. I see this as an improvement, as I am still able to fall asleep without any difficulties. However, if I try to take naps during the day, the somniphobia returns. Also, if I wake up in the morning after having gone to sleep pretty late (say, between 12-1) I am unable to fall asleep. What I have noticed is that it is a combination of both somniphobia and anxiety, as thoughts just come to my mind which prevent me from falling asleep. Also, during the day I become obsessed with the notion of sleep, almost to the point of not being able to fully enjoy my day and being “stuck in my head.” I believe this is a type of OCD that has resurfaced.

There are a couple of cognitive things that I’ve been doing that I think have helped. For example, I have told myself that I am not truly alone when I go to sleep at night. I think my fears of being alone as well as fears of abandonment may be at the heart of my somniphobia. Of course this points to deep-seated issues that I’m going to be processing in therapy. The good news is that I already have an intake lined up with a therapist and I think this will help tremendously. In addition, something that has really helped has also been praying. I know not everyone is spiritual/religious, but focusing on something that gives you peace can help. I have told myself when I pray that I have a God that is watching over me while I sleep and that is giving me comfort and companionship and this allows me to fall asleep.

For my daytime somniphobia, I realized that it is not only my random, intrusive thoughts that get in the way, but also thoughts of “you should be awake now, everybody is awake and getting ready to work and you’re still laying in bed trying to sleep” that also gets in the way. This points to unhealthy thoughts that I have developed around sleeping that I need to process in therapy.

Finally, this new bout of severe anxiety/somniphobia has developed while I am still on my anti-depression/anxiety medication, which I have been on the lowest possible dosage for the last two years. It is a possibility that my medication has somehow lost its efficacy, so I will be making an appointment with my psychiatrist to explore my options. While I really don’t want to increase the dosage, I feel that if this can help me get back to my normal state of mind then its worth a shot. I am truly considering this, as I noticed that this episode of extreme anxiety has also led to some depressive symptoms, as it did the last two times I developed this.

The last two times that this happened to me, a combination of therapy and medication as well as working out and being distracted at work helped. As I mentioned in my previous post, my somniphobia was not an issue anymore. Unfortunately, I’m still on vacation so I don’t have the structure and routine that work gives me. I am hoping that on Monday when I return to work I am able to have some sense of normalcy and continue the process of having a structured routine.

So I just wanted to provide this long update to show that there is hope and that getting over this irrational fear is a process and that one has to be patient with oneself. Also to continue to develop a sense of community with everyone out there who suffers from this irrational fear. I shall post updates within the next several weeks. Hope all have been well, and I hope that this new year brings many blessings to all.
 
J

Jedizoomer

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
6
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.
Yes! This makes total sense. I’m starting to think more and more that my somniphobia is a symptom of my OCD, which intensifies when I am going through periods of high stress and anxiety. Because when my life is relatively stable and stress-free, I don’t really have any somniphobia. I will be talking with my therapist about your perspective, which makes total sense!
 
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