Many people cannot wait for the night to come so that they can go to bed and enjoy a resting until the morning, specifically, if they have a good quality mattress beneath them, the one that can give a good night’s rest. But for a few, that is a quite scary, almost a horrifying experience. Yes, here counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo is talking about the fear of sleep, or as it is also called Somniphobia, that can make your life miserable and affect your both physical and mental well-being.
For persons who have this phobia, the idea of falling asleep is unimaginable. There is no logical explanation for this, but for some reason, they are afraid to fall asleep and that they will never get up because something terrible might happen, or that the same old nightmare will be waiting to haunt them as soon as they close their eyes.
What is Somniphobia?
This phobia has several names such as hypnophobia, clinophobia, somniphobia, sleep dread, and sleep anxiety. It is an irrational fear of falling asleep because of what may happen while you are unconscious. The general scenario implies an individual worrying all day long about having to go to sleep, and then, when the moment arrives, their anxiety levels are so high that their body cannot relax enough for them actually to get some rest.
It is clear that at a certain point, the person will fall asleep, but their resting moment will be of low quality and frequently disturbed. If that pattern keeps happening, and it nearly always does when it comes to this phobia, after a certain time, the health of the individual will be jeopardized. So, if you recognize yourself in these steps, you need to know how to overcome somniphobia, because it is not a matter to ignore and it can have serious implications after some time.
Through this blog, India’s leading Psychologist and Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo talks about somniphobia and how to overcome it.
Things that Causes Somniphobia or Fear of Sleep
There could be various for this phobia Here are some prominent ones.
· Fear of Death
· Sleep Talking
· Sleep Paralysis
· Horror Movies or Stories
Fear of Falling Asleep Symptoms
Your body is always telling you if something is a bit right, one way or another. You need to listen to it properly, pay attention to every detail, and changes it goes through because it can lead you to the core of the issue. When it comes to your sleep deprivation caused due to fear of falling asleep, these are infallible signs. They are:
· Daytime Sleepiness
· Mood Swings
· Memory Loss
· Chronic Fatigue
Some of your body reactions will not so clearly point to having this sort of problem, but if you noticed some of those repeating actions, and you are aware you have been deprived of sleep, you need to think about consulting with the professional.
If you begin feeling distressed as the night time and the bedtime inches closer if you counter the urge to sleep and look to stay up as late as possible if you feel panic attacks or trouble breathing when the night arrives, this could be the problem you are facing. Also, if you find it hard to think about anything else, then the fear of sleep, or have a problem remembering stuff, it is likely you have clinophobia.
On the other side, some symptoms could be extreme nausea or other stomach issues when the time for bed comes, just as the feeling of great pressure around the chest area, and faster heart rate after a minute or two spent in the bed. It might happen you experience things like hyperventilation, extreme sweating, and shaking, while children can start crying and screaming when their parents look to leave the room.
Some Individuals often tend to consume alcohol or some other substances in order to get sleep. Some have strict rules that require to be applied, such as leaving television, lights, and the music on to distract them.
Is There Any Risk Factor?
If you or someone in your family who suffers or suffered from some kind of phobia or extreme anxiety, it is more likely for you to have this specific phobia of sleeping or some other. Though there are no clear thing claiming there is a genetic link, but the reality is chances are increased.
Also, having one of several sleep disorders or a serious medical condition might be a factor of higher somniphobia risk. For instance, if you have a heart-related problem that could lead to death, you may start being afraid of that happening in the night while you are asleep. Eventually, that kind of fear can lead to sleep phobia.
Consulting a professional is the best thing you can do if suspecting you have this sort of problem. They will need primarily to diagnose it properly, and then they will assist you to overcome it. It is not something that will go away all of a sudden, without help, and it is serious enough to impact your physical and mental health, as well as your regular life.
How Can You Treat Somniphobia?
Once it comes to a conclusion on the main source of your phobia, the therapist prescribes you a certain treatment. They could be:
This kind of therapy includes working with a psychologist on exposing your fear and slowly overcoming it. This means talking about the fear, experimenting with some relaxing techniques, and thinking about what it will mean to have a good night’s rest. Sometimes this method may include spending time in a sleep lab or with a professional who stays there while you sleep.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is based on your counter and challenging the bad thoughts that stop you from sleeping peacefully. That could be pointed to thoughts related to sleep itself or towards the fear that forces you not wanting to go to bed. Usually, the therapist will recommend a sleep restriction method, which means that you required to go to bed and get up every day at the same time, irrespective if you have slept or not.
There are not medications for phobia, but some of them can decrease anxiety and other symptoms. If there is no other method, then depending on your condition you may be prescribed some medicine.
People who have never experienced something like this cannot probably understand what you are going through, the agony of feeling extremely fatigued but countering the urge to sleep so hard while experiencing all sorts of unpleasant symptoms. The vital thing is not to develop a stigma around it, but to accept you have an issue, the one that is not so uncommon as you thought and is treatable. Be aware that if you keep continuing to ignore it, as several people tend to, you will keep exposing your body to extreme levels of stress that could and most likely will lead to some sort of health problem.
During the current challenging time, it’s common to experience anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and relationship challenges at home. While you are under lockdown and maintaining social distancing norms to help the country to control COVID-10 spread, your very own counsellor Shivani is now just a call and Skype video call away from you.
However, in this age of coronavirus, we hope to offer our therapeutic help. Change is difficult for all of us and changing the way you meet with your therapist is no exception. But try it before you disregard this option. This is a challenging moment in time, and fears and anxieties are running high.
You may find, telepsychology isn’t a second-rate option. Instead, it’s an effective and efficient upgrade to a valuable service!
Feel free to call Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo at +91-8860875040 for telephonic or video support and to book an online counselling session to address any relationship issues, emotional and psychological challenges.