trouble as soon as our heads hit the pillow, there are those of us who also have real problems falling asleep. There are a variety of disorders that have been studied and researched for decades, one of them being somniphobia. In this article, we’re going to breakdown everything you need to know about somniphobia. We’ll explore what it is, some common , who is likely to get it, and much more! So, read on to learn everything there is to know about somniphobia. is a fickle friend of humankind. While some of us have no
Somniphobia is the extreme of . People with somniphobia may worry, , or obsess all day long about going to at . Sometimes, these individuals are afraid of what will happen once they do fall asleep, fearing nightmares and .
Somniphobia is a specific form of . A s of a certain object, situation, or activity. Most people who face specific phobias know that their is somewhat over-exaggerated compared to the actual threat the situation poses to them. However, it can still be difficult to manage their . An estimated “is an uncontrollable, irrational, and lasting 9.1% of Americans” faced specific phobias sometime in the last year.
Common of Somniphobia
Somniphobia can cause a variety of , both mental and physical. These symptoms can make it especially difficult for someone facing somniphobia to go to at . Let’s explore the mental and separately.
- Individuals suffering from somniphobia may feel and every time they think about .
- They may experience increasing distress and as approaches closer and closer.
- They have trouble focusing on things besides -related worry and .
- It’s possible that they feel irritable and have mood swings throughout the day.
- They may have trouble remembering things.
- Those facing somniphobia might feel nausea and other stomach issues related to persistent around .
- They might experience tightness in the chest and increased heart rate when they think about .
- They might have a .
- Their may cause sweating, chills, and hyperventilation or other trouble breathing when they think about .
- In children, it’s possible that they exhibit excessive crying, clinging, and tantrums.
- They may also not want to be alone at .
- They may get up multiple times throughout the
Both somniphobia and involve excessive worry about may not worry for the same reasons as those with somniphobia. The former may feel because they’re worried about not getting enough , while the latter worries about what may happen to them while they are asleep. Those with somniphobia are likely to experience more intense related to than those with .. However, those suffering from
Causes of Somniphobia
Now that we’ve examined what somniphobia is and we understand its key , we can move on to what causes this . While science is unsure why phobias exist for certain, they have some idea as to its root causes. According to Mayo Clinic, specific phobias are caused by one of three factors:
- Negative experiences: Many phobias develop due to having a negative experience or related to a specific activity or situation.
- Genetics and environment: There may be a link between a and the or of a person’s parents – this could be due to genetics or learned behavior.
- Brain function: Changes in brain functioning could also contribute to developing specific phobias.
They also list some other risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing a . Those are:
- Age. Specific phobias can first appear in childhood, usually by age 10, but could also occur later on in life.
- Relatives. If someone in the family has a or other family members are more likely to develop it, too. This could be an inherited tendency, or children may learn specific phobias by observing a family member’s phobic reaction to an object or a situation.
- Temperament. A person’s risk may increase if they are more sensitive, more inhibited, or more negative than the norm.
- Negative experiences. Experiencing a frightening traumatic event, such as being trapped in an elevator or attacked by an animal, could trigger the development of a .
- Learning about negative experiences. Hearing about negative information or experiences, such as plane crashes, could lead to the development of a .
While those are risk factors and causes of specific phobias in general, we still don’t know what causes somniphobia in specific. To understand this, we need to know what kind of individuals tend to develop somniphobia. Those with “ and post-traumatic ” are more likely to face a of . Both of those disorders arise in connection with traumatic experiences. According to a study by Nicole A. Short, individuals with these disorders are “more likely to suffer from nightmares.”
Another that could increase your risk of developing somniphobia is is the feeling of being conscious but unable to move. These experiences are understandably traumatic, and can contribute to an individual developing a towards .
Who Could Get Somniphobia?
The biggest factor that puts an individual at risk for somniphobia is a history of parasomnia. Parasomnias are disorders that involve a variety of unusual and often undesirable physical events that disrupt an individual’s . A parasomnia can happen before or during your , or even during arousal from . If you have a parasomnia, you might experience abnormal movements, talk, express emotions or do unusual things. While you are truly , your bed partner might think you’re awake.
Other disorders such as also increase risk for somniphobia. A person has a higher risk for developing somniphobia if they have:
How Is Somniphobia Diagnosed?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is a publication by the American Psychiatric Association that outlines key criteria of disorders and how to diagnose them. It is used by all professionals to diagnose such disorders, including phobias. The DSM lists seven criteria for diagnosing a :
- Unreasonable, excessive : The person experiences excessive or unreasonable, persistent and intense that is triggered by a specific object or situation.
- Immediate response: The reaction must be exaggerated in comparison to the actual danger, and appears almost instantaneously when presented with the stimuli.
- Avoidance or extreme distress: The individual goes out of their way to avoid the object or situation, or endures it with extreme distress.
- Life-limiting: The significantly impacts the individual’s school, work, or personal life.
- Six months duration: The duration of must last for at least six months.
- Not caused by another agoraphobia, obsessional-compulsive (OCD), and separation before diagnosing a . : Many disorders have similar . A professional would first have to rule out similar conditions such as
Once a healthcare provider is made aware that their patient thinks they are experiencing somniphobia, it’s likely that they will ask a series of questions related to the of affects quality, and if it distracts from completing daily tasks. They’ll inquire how long the symptoms have been occurring and if it has been interfering with the patient’s life in a major way. They’ll ask if it has led to excessive and , or if it has negatively impacted physical and .. They may ask if there is a
How Common is Somniphobia?
Experts are unsure about exactly how many people in the United States experience somniphobia. Research does show that over “40 million adults in the United States have a chronic ,” and more than “12% of adults in the U.S. have a .” Hopefully those figures give you some idea as to how many individuals are affected by this across the country.
The first strategy that can be effective in treating somniphobia is . The American Psychological Association states that exposure therapy is a “psychological that was developed to help people confront their fears.” When individuals are afraid of something, they tend to avoid the feared stimulus for as long as they can. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of in the short term, it can make the worse in the long run. In such situations, a psychologist might recommend a program of in order to help break the pattern of avoidance and . In this form of , psychologists create a safe environment in which to expose individuals to the things they and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce and decrease avoidance.
has been scientifically proven to combat of a variety of disorders. Some of those include:
Three out of six of these disorders are at high risk for developing somniphobia, which is why . There are several variations of that can be done; a healthcare provider will know which one is best in a particular situation. Here are the different types of : is so effective in battling
- In vivo exposure: This is directly facing a feared object, situation or activity in real life. For example, someone with a of spiders may be told to carry a harmless spider in their hand, or someone with a of heights could be brought to the roof of a tall building. For somniphobia, an individual might be brought to a lab and observed throughout the day and .
- Imaginal exposure: This is when you vividly imagine the feared stimuli, which in this case, is . A person with somniphobia might be asked to close their eyes and imagine it’s . Their professional might ask them how this makes them feel.
- Virtual reality exposure: In some cases, VR technology could be used when it is impractical to take the person to their feared stimulus in real life. For example, someone who is afraid of flying might be given a VR headset that simulates a flight. This is less applicable to somniphobia, as it’s not feasible to simulate a environment.
- Interoceptive exposure: Inciting physical sensations that are harmless, yet feared by the patient. For example, someone with a panic might be instructed to run in place in order to speed up their heart rate, showing them that this sensation is not dangerous.
can also be paced in a three different ways: graded exposure, flooding, and systematic desensitization. Graded exposure involves forming a hierarchy of fears, and then starting with the mild fears and progressing towards the bigger ones. Flooding involves starting with the most difficult and feared exposure first. Finally, systematic desensitization is when feared activities are done alongside relaxing ones in order to associate the with something relaxing.
This form of brings a variety of benefits to those suffering from somniphobia. Those benefits include:
- Habituation: Over time, the person’s decreases as they habituate themselves with the feared stimulus.
- Extinction: The exposure to the feared stimulus may cause the to completely disappear over time.
- Self-efficacy: E can show the individual that they are capable of handling their
- Emotional processing: The patient may learn to associate more positive feelings with their feared stimulus, allowing them to be more comfortable around it.
The next strategy that can help to treat somniphobia is (CBT). This is a form of psychological Various research studies suggest that “CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life” in patients suffering from disorders, such as somniphobia..
is based on several central principles, including:
- Psychological problems are the result of faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Psychological problems are the result of learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
- People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their and becoming more effective in their lives.
This form of talk usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns. Some of these strategies include learning to recognize when one’s distortions in thinking are causing or exacerbating . Some other strategies are gaining a better understanding of the behaviors and motivations of yourself and others, using problem-solving skills to cope with situations, and developing a greater sense of confidence in oneself.
Strategy #3: Medications
While CBT and are effective, some individuals feel better off when they know they have medicines working in their favor. There are certainly medicative options for those suffering from somniphobia. -based strategies such as Some of those include:
- Beta blockers such as propranolol (Inderal) or atenolol (Tenormin) can alleviate , such as heart racing.
- Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) or lorazepam (Ativan) can battle somniphobia; they are sedatives that can help decrease mental and short-term.
Somniphobia is the extreme of . Individuals suffering from feel , , and worry all day long about going to . They are generally afraid of what might happen to them while they are , such as nightmares, , and even dying in their . This condition can severely impact someone’s life, making it difficult to do tasks throughout the day and stay focused; they are so distracted by their that they can’t do anything else.
We covered some common mental of somniphobia, such as and related to , trouble focusing throughout the day, irritability, and mood swings. We also went over some , including nausea, sweating, tightness in the chest, and hyperventilation.
We discussed how somniphobia is diagnosed. Those who suffer from and PTSD are far more likely to develop a of , just like those with a history of parasomnia. It’s likely that a doctor will ask a series of questions related to somniphobia in order to gauge whether or not someone may have the .
Finally, we covered options. and are both effective strategies that your professional can help you with to overcome your somniphobia. They focus on overcoming the using natural methods such as talk- , instead of medications. Conversely, medications such as beta blockers and benzodiazepines can be just as effective in treating mental and of somniphobia.
While there is no cure for somniphobia, we hope this article went a long way in educating you about what this is and how it is treated.