Somniphobia – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Somniphobia (sleep-related fear) is an intense and persistent uneasiness or apprehension when in bed, about to go to bed, or actually falling asleep.

Somniphobia patients who are diagnosed with sleep paralysis, which causes feelings of being held captive in the body, may suffer from somniphobia in addition to sleep paralysis.

However, some people with somniphobia do not have any history of episodes involving either sleep paralysis or waking nightmares.

There are several common symptoms of somnip hobia : – The person feels panic when they think about going to bed – They experience anxiety whenever they feel tired – They avoid sleeping by using alcohol or drugs


What is Somniphobia?

No one knows exactly what causes somniphobia. Some experts believe that it is learned behavior from previous bad experiences or from learning about the dangers of sleep paralysis . However, this theory does not explain why somniphobia develops in some people and not others. Somniphobia may also be caused by traumatic events in childhood, especially if they happened around bedtime. But there are also many adults who realize they have this problem after experiencing sleep paralysis for the first time.


Symptoms of Somniphobia:

The most common symptoms in somnis phobic patients include panic attacks , crying spells, nightmares when falling asleep (and waking up), excessive sweating when trying to fall asleep, delusions related to sleep paralysis , etc. Moreover, pregnant women with this phobia may also suffer from restless leg syndrome and insomnia.

Treatment for Somniphobia

The main goal of treatment for somniphobia is to help the person feel less anxious and fearful about going to bed, sleeping, or having sleep paralysis episodes. This can be done through a variety of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, and medication if necessary.

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If you feel like you may have somniphobia, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Untreated somniphobia can lead to other problems such as depression and anxiety disorders . With the help of a therapist, you can learn how to deal with your fear of sleep and get on with your life.


Background: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can include panic attacks, which are most commonly associated with agoraphobia , a fear of being in places where it would be difficult to escape or find help in the event of developing sudden panic-like symptoms. It is also seen in somniphobia. These attacks may lead to avoidance behaviors – for example, avoiding public transportation or using stairs instead of an elevator when alone – and other safety behaviors that are intended to prevent panic attacks.

There is evidence that sleep paralysis may result from disturbed REM sleep, which normally occurs at the end of the full sleep cycle, which begins four hours after falling asleep, regardless of the amount of prior sleep obtained.


Since the typical person who experiences sleep paralysis does not suffer from any psychiatric condition known to cause sleep disturbances or other symptoms associated with it, the cause of somniphobia is considered unknown. It has been suggested that an episode of hyperventilation during waking hours can trigger an episode of sleep paralysis because low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood stimulate nerves responsible for breathing while sleeping.

Others believe that sleep paralysis may be caused by a disturbance in REM (rapid eye movement) – the stage where active dreams occur , since its effects are virtually indistinguishable from the natural phenomenon. However, it has also been found this effect may result from stress and/or lack of sleep , which would explain why somniphobia patients often have difficulty sleeping even when they are not suffering from GAD .

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Somniophobia can be treated in several ways.

The primary form is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which trains patients to control or correct negative thought patterns and behaviors by replacing them with more positive ones. Medications used for this type of phobia include benzodiazepines , selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and beta blockers, depending on the symptoms presented by each patient.

For example, tranquilizers may be prescribed to reduce the body’s hyperactivity when faced with sleep paralysis episodes; beta blockers may be given to ease anxiety associated with somniphobia panic attacks; SSRIs target the physiological effects of anxiety – such as rapid breathing caused by hyperventilation – and calm the patient down.

Somniphobia is not yet an officially recognized phobia by the medical community, but there are support groups available throughout much of North America. These groups provide patients with information on symptoms, treatment, coping skills , and other helpful information in dealing with the debilitating effects of the disorder .

Background Information


Somniphobia is considered a specific phobia characterized by an abnormal fear of sleep. It shares many common symptoms with anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, which can be triggered by somniphobia stimuli (in this case, sleeping or dreams related to sleeping). The main difference between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and somniphobia is that GAD includes panic attacks specifically produced from exposure to nocturnal fears, while somniphobia is a fear of sleep itself.


In other words , somniphobia refers to the fear of going to sleep or dreams associated with sleeping.

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Somniphophobia symptoms typically include a mix of reactions that stem from a specific stimulus, which can be anything from an actual object, person, or situation that triggers the fear response. These symptoms may vary in severity depending on the type and cause of anxiety present at any given time.

In most cases, however , symptoms will be physical manifestations related to hyperventilation . For example, shortness of breath , rapid heartbeat, dry mouth , muscle tension, shaking, fatigue – even nausea – are all common among people suffering from nomophobia attacks.



Since there are many different causes of somniphobia , it is difficult to establish a set of preventive measures across the board. However, maintaining good physical health can reduce risk factors associated with anxiety disorders .

For example, eating a healthy diet that consists of complex carbohydrates and limiting caffeine intake will help ensure an individual has enough energy for daily activities without suffering from sleep loss or fatigue .

Limiting alcohol consumption can also be beneficial by removing substances that may trigger hyperarousal during sleeping hours. Finally, avoiding situations known to increase stress – such as overworking oneself or placing limits on one’s social life – will prevent further complications by giving the body time to rest and recover when necessary.


I am a practising physician and medical expert also a blogger and content creator

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