FEAR of SLEEP: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

  • Jul 26, 2021
click fraud protection
Fear of sleep: causes, symptoms and treatment

Have you ever been afraid to sleep? When it comes time to go to bed, do you feel anxious or insecure? Although it is not very common, the fear of sleeping can be very problematic in people who already suffer from it. that rest is essential for the functioning of our physical capacities as well as cognitive. In this Psychology-Online article we explain symptoms, causes of fear of sleep and possible solutions.

You may also like: Celotype: symptoms, causes and treatment


  1. Symptoms of fear of sleep
  2. Fear of sleeping alone
  3. Fear of the unknown while we sleep
  4. Fear of sleeping and not waking up
  5. Causes of fear of sleep
  6. Treatment for fear of sleep

Symptoms of fear of sleep.

The hypnophobia or fear of sleep, as the name suggests, is the fear of falling asleepEither from the belief that you can die in your sleep or sleep disorders such as nightmares, night terrors, etc. that may occur.

Symptoms usually appear when it is time to go to bed to sleep, although they can also occur a few hours before going to bed since the event is mentally anticipated.

People who are afraid of sleeping feel anxiety, nervous feeling, or feelings of panicThese emotions are often accompanied by negative thoughts that lead to avoidance of sleep. These emotions provoke the insomnia, thus avoiding falling asleep. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches, memory problems or respiratory irregularity. Sometimes nausea, vertigo, and muscle tremors They appear because of the accumulation of tension before the act of sleeping.

Like the rest of phobias, the fear of sleeping is an irrational and excessive fear of something that produces unpleasant sensations. In the case of fear of sleeping, it becomes a disorder that affects our daily life, since lack of sleep is detrimental to our physical and mental health.

Fear of sleeping alone.

In the same way that most basic care, the habit of sleeping is acquired at an early age. On many occasions, adults are not sufficiently aware of the importance of the transmission of healthy habits, from a loving and serene vision, this implies that many of the teachings we acquire are through impositions and obligations.

For example, when we are small and we begin to sleep alone, going to bed or waking up at dawn can cause feelings of anxiety producing the feeling of fear. Depending on how adults teach us to manage this anxiety, it will increase or decrease.

We adults take for granted many aspects that we gradually acquired as we grew up and that we take for granted, one of them is consciousness. Consciousness is the ability we have to perceive reality and connect with it and therefore this implies understanding the difference between myself and the other. This, which seems so basic, is a capacity that develops over the years and especially with the knowledge of the world at different levels.

When we are small and we begin to develop our consciousness, the fact of being alone in a room or waking up at dawn alone, can connect with the feeling of loneliness. The physical loneliness of the concrete moment evokes the feeling of emotional loneliness, this entails a feeling of anxiety, sadness and fear.

Sometimes this feeling of emotional loneliness awakens in adulthood causing the fear of sleeping alone, therefore, this fear would be derived from anxiety and feelings of sadness.

Fear of the unknown while we sleep.

Sleep is something about which we have very little knowledge, there are many situations that we do not know how to define while we sleep, for example, sensations that seem real to us, lucid dreams, experiences known as "extrasensory" and many others with no apparent explanation. Many of these experiences that we do not know a priori, can be unpleasant, producing sensations that remain once we have awakened and last throughout the day.

At present we live in the belief that science is the only one that can provide us with reliable explanations, regardless of what It is limited, especially to the most profitable and subsidized studies, which are not always the most necessary for the knowledge of being human. This has meant that sleep or the processes that humans experience while we sleep are not of great interest or benefit to the current science, minimizing experiences during sleep and trying to control them only through medication when they are uncomfortable for the person.

In ancient times there were temples where people who experienced strange or unknown sensations went to sleep and later were accompanied by professionals who helped to integrate and understand what was happening to them, these professionals were therapeutes (therapeuein which means caring and -tes in the sense of the person) hence the term therapist.

This reflects us the importance that dreams and sensations that occur while we sleep can have, since our mind relaxes and our level of consciousness decreases, we stop receiving external stimuli and they can emerge internal perceptions of our subconscious, providing very useful information about ourselves and our own development as beings humans.

As an exercise, you can keep a dream diary, where you write down what you experience, the sensations and scenarios that you evoke in these dreams and try to see if they are related to each other. It is advisable not to look in books or on the internet for the meaning of what you dream, although it is true that there are cultural codes that can be seen reflected in our way of expressing ourselves in dreams, it must be taken into account that each individual experiences the reality of a different way according to your own experiences, so there is no universal language that can respond to your own subconscious perceptions.

Fear of sleeping and not waking up.

The fear of sleeping and not waking up is basically the fear of death. Death remains a taboo subject especially in Western society. Somehow we have all questioned something about death, to a lesser or greater degree, almost always of superficial form and from a distant look, as if it were something that happens to others but that remains far.

Very contrary to this superficial thought, death is something that all people will experience sooner or later, and that in most cases it will be a transit lived with fear, rejection, discomfort and many other negative feelings. This desperate vision in the face of a natural transit such as death, is due to the fear that this issue produces in people, fear of the unknown that we find latent in individuals, culture and education.

For example, in Hindu culture, death is lived with respect and acceptance, this being one of the bases of death. spirituality that characterizes this culture, since if you consider your death it is because you consider your lifetime. Becoming aware of the fragility of life brings us closer to the appreciation, respect and love of ourselves and of other forms of life.

When we sleep we stop having control, both of ourselves and of the environment, to a certain extent this is an act of relaxing, surrendering and allowing whatever needs to happen to happen, without anxiety mental. There are people who feel panic at the fact of being carried away, stop controlling and just allow yourself to be, leaving the pretenses aside, this can lead to a connection between sleeping and dying, due to the parallelism of deep attitude.

In the following article you will find more information about How to overcome the fear of death.

Causes of the fear of sleeping.

The causes of fear of sleep can come from various factors. As we have seen, the fear of sleeping can be caused by sleep problems such as night terrors, nightmares, sleepwalking, etc. Ignorance of these or other facts causes anxiety and insecurity in unfamiliar situations. Searching for information, consulting with truly qualified professionals with practical experience can be some of the solutions to consider.

It can also be derived from fears related to anxiety and stress or fears Deeper related to existential emptiness or lack of meaning in this case self-knowledge, the search for meaning and inner growth can help you resolve the discomfort.

Treatment for fear of sleeping.

Treatments for fear of sleeping can be diverse depending on the case and the degree to which the person is. If you have anxiety symptoms or you think you are afraid to sleep, it is essential that you consult your doctor, a professional and effective assessment is necessary to determine why the causes occur. It is advisable to have tests ruling out any type of physical problem, since a hormonal deficit can cause insomnia, leading to anxiety due to the fact of not being able to fall asleep, this confusion can cause the mistaken belief of being afraid of sleeping as such.

Acquire knowledge about our body, physical functioning, psychic, mental and bodily functions helps us understand what happens to us and why, answering these questions from ourselves and not from consensual statistics, favors us in our development human.

Psychological treatments can be effective, professionals specialized in sleep disorders or anxiety they can accompany you during the recovery process.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Fear of sleep: causes, symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Clinical psychology.


  • Andr√©, C. (2005). Psychology of fear: Fears, anxieties and phobias. Barcelona: Kairos.
  • Frankl, V. (2015). Man's Search for Meaning. Barcelona. Herder.
  • Krishnamurti, J. (1997). Total freedom. Barcelona. Kairos.
  • Longaker, C. (1998). Face death and find hope. Mexico. Grijalbo.
  • Nuland, S. (1995). How we die. Madrid. Alliance.
  • Panikkar, R. (1999) The Tree of Paradise. Madrid. Siruela.
instagram viewer