What is Somniphobia?
Somniphobia (also known as hypnophobia, clinophobia, fear of sleep, or sleep anxiety) is a lesser-known specific phobia that is a generalized fear of sleep. This condition is like a cross between generalized anxiety, insomnia, and specific phobias. Since sleep is essential for our wellbeing, this can lead to other physical or psychological ailments.
Somniphobia (fear of sleeping): symptoms, treatments and how to deal with it
Somniphobia, also known as sleep anxiety, refers to the excessive experience of fear or dread around the act of going to sleep. Often a consequence of insomnia, somniphobia causes stimulating thoughts and feelings that disrupt daily activities. People with somniphobia can also experience sleep disturbances such as hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and nightmares. These problems exacerbate feelings of anxiety and dread.
If you are afraid of going to sleep at night and would like to speak with a therapist about how this phobia affects you and your life, click here. Answer a few simple questions, and a Therapy Choice Client Navigator will help you find an experienced and caring therapist who is committed to your wellbeing. Getting started is easy and confidential.
Common symptoms of somniphobia are:
Feeling more distress at nighttime
Experiencing panic attacks
Fear of dying or losing control
Symptoms of somniphobia
The main symptoms of somniphobia are fear, dread, or panic about what might happen when you sleep. Unlike insomnia, which refers to problems falling asleep or staying asleep, people with somniphobia often have trouble sleeping because of their fears. As the day approaches bedtime, the painful symptoms usually intensify. to have a calm night of rest.” Find a phrase that feels optimistic without being entirely unrealistic.
Treatment for Fear of Sleeping
Practicing these self-help strategies can make a huge difference in your sleep quality. Keep in mind that these strategies take time, consistency, and commitment. However, that may not be enough. If you don’t notice improvement or your symptoms have worsened, it’s worth seeking professional treatment. Fortunately, many options can help, including different types of therapy, eye movement desensitization and reworking (EMDR), and medications.
A qualified therapist can help you understand the triggers of sleep anxiety. They may also work with you to discuss healthier coping strategies for managing symptoms. Finally, your therapist will establish a treatment plan to help you sleep better and establish greater wellbeing.
Experience therapy is an evidence-based treatment that helps people deal with their phobias gradually and safely.7 For example, you can start by taking a short nap with a trusted professional or loved one. Eventually, you will work to sleep through the night. When dealing with somniphobia, your therapist will likely establish a fear hierarchy as well, allowing you to rank your sleep-related fears from least terrifying to most terrifying.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a well-known therapy that works on the assumption that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. Ideally, by learning to change your negative thoughts about sleep, you will experience fewer painful symptoms. Using a CBT approach, your therapist can encourage techniques such as monitoring your emotions before and after rest, progressive muscle relaxation and challenging your cognitive distortions (i.e., examining evidence related to your fears).
Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR)
EMDR is a manualized training approach for trauma treatment. Because many people with somniphobia also meet the criteria for PTSD (or have a history of trauma), this can help reduce the severity of symptoms. A therapist will help you identify your goal (distressing memory) and inspire you to share. At the same time, engage in a series of bilateral stimulations. Over time, this process supports you in desensitizing yourself to the traumatic material.
If you suspect that you have somniphobia, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about potential drugs such as sedatives. Sleep medications also with symptoms related to insomnia, as they help sleepiness. However, keep in mind that you must always consult your doctor before starting any medications. In addition, these medications should only be used for short periods, as many can be addictive.
Common sleep medications include:
They may also prescribe psychiatric medications such as antidepressants (Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft) or anti-anxiety medications (such as Klonopin or Xanax). While these medications do not act directly on the symptoms of somniphobia, they can reduce symptoms that can exacerbate sleep problems. Your prescription will depend on your specific sleep condition, any co-morbid conditions (depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.), and your history with medications.
How to get help with the fear of sleep
Finding the right therapist is the first phase in overcoming the fear of sleep. While all therapists must have in-depth training and expertise, it is vital to find someone to help you feel safe and comfortable. Begin your search by looking through a directory. Each clinician will list their specialties, rates, and years of experience.
It is wise to understand the presentation problem when you contact a therapist. What is causing you the most distress right now? Also, what goals do you hope to achieve? Remember that sustainable results take time. It is normal to do a few sessions before you feel that you are making progress.
Final thoughts on the fear of sleep
Somniphobia is a type of phobia characterized by an excessive and irrational fear of sleeping.
Somniphobia is undoubtedly a challenging condition; however, you are not alone in your experience. Practicing the proper techniques and participating in the appropriate forms of treatment can help you. Get through this struggle. Then, it is possible to experience a restful night’s sleep. Contact a healthcare professional for support today.
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