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Somniphobia: how to deal with the fear of falling asleep


Somniphobia is one of the most complex and difficult fears to deal with. Let's find out what it is and how to deal with it.

As we all know, sleeping properly is essential to live well and to enjoy good health to the fullest. However, other problems can also be added to normal sleep disturbances . And, in the case of sleep, one of them is somniphobia. This particular fear concerns the moment of falling asleep. Let's find out better what it is and how to deal with it .

Somniphobia: what it is and how to recognize it

Also known as clinicophobia and ionophobia, somniphobia is a condition whose main characteristic is the constant and unjustified fear of sleep.
In particular, those who experience it strongly fear the moment in which they fall asleep and, therefore, into a state of unconsciousness. The fear is in fact that of suffering accidents or problems while sleeping and we cannot defend ourselves in any way.


This fear therefore leads to having great difficulty falling asleep . When sleep becomes more pressing, in fact, you run the risk of experiencing anxiety crises, panic attacks and problems that over time (together with lack of sleep) can compromise your state of health.

What are the causes and symptoms of somniphobia

To date, the causes that lead to somniphobia are not yet certain. According to some scholars, however, among the reasons there may be insomnia or the presence of nightmares during sleep.
Often, in fact, the fear of having bad dreams (especially if they are very scary) can lead to fear of falling asleep and running the risk of having others.

In some cases, it seems that even the awareness of being sleepwalkers is able to complicate the dynamics of sleep. Especially if among the fears there is that of hurting yourself when you go around in a state of unconsciousness. Always among the possible causes, there are also post-traumatic stress disorders , childhood traumas linked in some way to the moment in which one fell asleep, etc…
Going to the symptoms, among the best known we remember:

– Tachycardia
– Chills of cold
Anxiety crisis
– Excessive sweating
Panic attacks
– Mood swings
– Fatigue during the day
– Oppression
– Irritability

The symptoms obviously vary from person to person and get heavier and heavier based on lack of sleep.

How to deal with and overcome somniphobia

This phobia, if not extremely serious, can be stemmed by trying to relax just before going to sleep and therefore developing relaxation techniques suitable for avoiding feelings of anxiety or fear. In general, all the strategies to be implemented in case of sleep disturbances and difficulty falling asleep are useful.

When the fear becomes such that you really don't want to sleep, however, it is advisable to contact a psychotherapist. With the right therapy , to be chosen on a case-by-case basis, it is in fact possible to trace the triggering cause and work on it in order to be able to experience the fear of falling asleep in a constructive way.

In general, among the most recommended are cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Only in very extreme cases, the specialist doctor can consider whether to add, at least for the first few times, a drug therapy that helps to face the moment of sleep more easily. By doing so, little by little, the problem will be able to subside and bring you back to sleep peacefully, thus regaining a good quality of life.

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