Fear of sleep, meaning hypnophobia, somniphobia or oneirophobia, is the fear of sleeping abnormally. It should not be confused with the fear of hypnosis. Phobias are common anxiety disorders in general and are one of the main reasons for applying to psychology centers. They are disturbances of concern because individuals with this condition feel an unreasonable fear of a stimulus. Although the feared situation or object may seem absurd to other people, it is not the case for individuals with phobia. Sleep phobia is one of the most harmful phobias. Because sleep is essential for a healthy life. People who do not rest properly have a low quality of life both mentally and physically, and their well-being gradually deteriorates. People may be afraid to sleep and fall asleep for many different reasons. Some may not be able to wake up, while others may fear that bad things may happen while sleeping. Those who cannot sleep due to fear may have many health problems, especially depression, as they do not get enough sleep. During sleep, the body rests, and its strength and energy stores are replenished. It ensures the development of hormones to keep the body functioning normally. Sleep is a natural behavior such as eating and breathing. Individuals with fear of sleep cannot benefit from these benefits of sleep.
What is a fear of sleep disease?
Fear of sleep can be fatal. People are helpless in a dream and cannot resist an immediate danger. Individuals with this disease are afraid of having bad dreams in their sleep, that is, nightmares, or they may not sleep simply because they feel sad thinking that their sleep time is wasted. They may also be afraid to see him die in a dream and therefore try to avoid sleep. In other words, fear of sleep coexists with the fear of death and the fear of nightmares. The natural need of the human body is not considered natural in these patients. Individuals with this disease are on the alert, even worrying that they have to go to bed when it is time to sleep in the evening. In mild hypnophobia, people may fall asleep, but cannot sleep well. The person wakes up tired, exhausted. Gradually, he loses his interest in life, people and events and begins to show anger and aggression behavior. Individuals who do not get enough sleep because they are afraid of sleep start to have hallucinations. At the same time, panic attacks, vision and hearing problems begin to occur, on the other hand, problems occur gradually in the respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Severe hypnophobia, or fear of sleep, can be fatal.
Who gets the fear of sleep disease?
Fear of sleep disease is a disease that can occur in all ages and genders. It is often associated with fears of falling asleep, dying, and having nightmares. Fear of sleep usually occurs in people who live unstable lives or have constant nightmares. Individuals with fear of sleep are usually those who have had negative experiences with sleep. It is more likely to occur in individuals with a depressive illness or anxiety problem.
What are the symptoms of a fear of sleep disease?
Fear of sleep, that is, symptoms of hypnophobia can affect the patient both physically and mentally. Many patients feel anxious when talking about and thinking about sleep. In addition, symptoms usually occur when the person is preparing for bed or when they try to lie in bed. It is an ailment that manifests itself with anxiety, tension and, in the most serious cases, panic. Individuals with sleep afraid can sometimes take stimulant medications to stay awake. If those who suffer from this disease for a long time cannot avoid sleep completely and the patient may fall asleep at night. But this sleep is not peaceful and sufficient. Patients often have difficulty waking up and falling asleep again. Generally, symptoms of fear of sleep are as follows:
• Rapid breathing
• Shortness of breath
• Feeling of panic
• Clouding of consciousness
• Feeling of terror
• Dry mouth
• Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
• Migraine and headaches
• Cold sweats
• Blurred vision
• Difficulty swallowing
• Sudden blood pressure drop
• Advanced stages of depression
What are the causes of fear of sleep?
Although the cause is generally unknown, it is thought to be the cause of recurrent nightmares. It can also be caused by an underlying depressive disorder or anxiety. It is said to occur due to a traumatic past. For example, it can occur after a traffic accident, house fire or natural disaster. Patients may have experienced a traumatic event while asleep. For example, a patient who falls asleep while smoking may have been awakened by a fire.
What are the treatment methods for fear of sleep?
Phobias are one of the common diseases, but they respond well to treatment. Anxiety problem arises in all phobias. For this reason, as in all phobias, the most important point in treating hypnophobia, ie fear of sleep, is to reduce or eliminate anxiety. Options such as meditation or yoga have a positive effect on the treatment process. If a patient is experiencing hypnophobia because they feel unsafe while sleeping, it is recommended that they sleep next to someone to make sure nothing will happen to them while they sleep. Generally, psychological treatment and drug therapy can be applied to individuals with fear of sleep. Psychological therapy seems to help patients. As psychological treatment progresses, drug therapy, which gradually decreases, remains in the background. In addition, the medications prescribed by the doctor do not cure the disease, but only help the symptoms to be milder. These medications can cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms to occur. As for psychological treatment; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be a good option. This therapy is a common form of therapy for most anxiety-anxiety disorders. Different techniques are used in this therapeutic method, such as relaxation techniques and exposure techniques. It is a method that the patient is not really afraid of a situation, but can be effective in combating anxiety and fears that may arise due to the realization of the situation in question. The goal of this therapy is to change distorted thoughts or misconceptions about what is feared. Thus, it is said that changing these thoughts will provide anxiety and avoidance of some situations. Apart from these treatments, only anxiety management treatment can be used. In anxiety management, relaxation techniques aiming to control the anxiety attacks caused by the fear of sleep are generally used to manage the breathing and focus on it. Desensitization technique is a treatment method that occurs when the person is gradually exposed to the situation that causes fear. The patient gradually gets rid of fear. In psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic therapies can be used to confront the patient’s fear of sleep and to find the reason that causes it. For example, the reasons for a childhood event can be found. PNL, or Neurolinguistic Programming, is used to change the thoughts of the person who is afraid of sleeping, causing false beliefs. The recovery time may vary depending on the type of treatment applied and the personal characteristics of the patient. Sometimes, it may be necessary to apply more than one treatment method together in order for a patient to get rid of the fear of sleep disease completely.