Fear of Sleep

All of us have trouble sleeping from time to time. This is often caused by stress or concentrating too much on things you have planned for the next day. You might be excited about an event that will be taking place soon or you may be worried about something. When the fear is out of control it is referred to as Somniphobia .

It is not uncommon to feel a sense of sleeplessness. The trouble can be when the source of the sleeplessness is identified. If it is a case of insomnia based on a short-term issue you will likely be fine (if not a little sleepy) once the temporary stress is gone. If this has become a long-term pattern and you don’t sleep because you are afraid to do so then you may need to accept some help.

What Causes Somniphobia?

There are two primary causes for somniphobia and there are occasions when these causes overlap.

1) Fear based on dreams. This fear is based on recurring and disturbing dreams that leave you in night terrors. The fear of dreams can be the originating source of fear when it comes to sleeplessness.

2) Fear based on what might happen. This fear suggests that because when you sleep you are not aware of what may be happening around you that something could harm you or invade your sense of privacy and protection while you are asleep.

When these two overlap there can be a significant sense of fear that draws on multiple sources to add power to the phobia.

Symptoms of Somniphobia

Much like a fear of the dark an individual with this fear may look for social opportunities that will keep them awake. They may be very reluctant to call it a night and may refuse to turn the lights off.

Other symptoms may include…

  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Air hunger
  • Weeping
  • Screaming
  • Self-inflicted pain in an effort to stay awake
  • Panic attacks

Living with this fear can cause some to wrongly believe that the individual is the life of the party when they may actually be running away from their fear in the most visible way possible.

How to Overcome Somniphobia

No matter what fear we ultimately have it all comes back to a fear of the unknown. When we fear sleep we fear those things that may or may not occur while we are sleeping.

By spending time with a trusted therapist we can begin to unmask those things that are unknown so we can face them honestly and personally. By taking this approach we can begin to understand more about who we are, where we’ve come from and a more constructive way to get to where we want to go.

No fear is beyond help, but no fear can be addressed unless you agree to allow it. This can be a frightening possibility for many who live with fears, but the alternative is to be bound by fear indefinitely.

The fear of sleep is also referred to as:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep fear
  • Somniphobia
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