Understanding Somniphobia, or Fear of Sleep

Fear of Sleep Phobia: What Is It?

The fear of sleep is a common one among humans. Most people have experienced it at some point in their lives. People with this type of phobia are afraid to go to bed early in the night because they worry that if they don’t get enough rest, they will fall asleep before getting enough rest. They may even wake up during the night and panic when they realize what happened and how late it was.

A person suffering from this phobia is usually very anxious about going to sleep. If they do manage to fall asleep, they might wake up in the middle of the night because they feel like something bad has happened. For them, being awake all night means that something terrible has happened and that there’s no way out of it.

Some people with this phobia may even experience nightmares which makes them feel scared and uneasy most of the time.

What Causes the Fear of Sleep?

There are many reasons why someone would be afraid of falling asleep. One reason could be due to a medical condition such as narcolepsy or other sleep disorders. Another possible cause is psychological problems such as depression or anxiety disorder. A third possibility is that the individual simply doesn’t want to face reality because they’re too worried about losing control over their body and/or mind while sleeping.

How to Overcome the Fear of Sleep

The best way to overcome the fear of sleep is to visit a medical doctor or a sleep specialist to see if there is any treatable medical condition causing this phobia. If there isn’t any physical reason for it, then you can work on the psychological aspects of it to try and overcome it. It may help to talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist about any underlying problems you have that are causing the fear of sleep to begin with.

A Word From the Experts

Most people don’t realize that being awake for a long period of time can be just as dangerous as not getting enough sleep during the night. Because sleep is so important to your health and well-being, it’s important to talk to a medical professional about insomnia if it starts having a negative impact on your life.

I’d like to end this article by telling anyone suffering from this phobia that there is help out there and you can overcome your fear of sleep. There are many online resources that can help you get over your fear and enable you to get the rest that your body needs.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea often don’t know they have it, as the condition can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. People with this condition suffer from brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. These interruptions can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, resulting in fragmented sleep.

As you might expect, someone suffering from this condition is not getting quality sleep.

If you think you or someone you know suffers from this condition, take the following quiz to help determine whether or not treatment for sleep apnea is needed.


Do you find yourself waking up with a dry mouth? Does your bed partner report that you snore loudly? Do you experience memory loss or a “foggy” head most of the day? Do you sometimes see yourself rocking or moving during sleep?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you may have sleep apnea.

Talk to your doctor about your concerns. A simple in-home test where you are monitored overnight in your own bed can help determine whether or not this is the problem you are suffering from.

Treating Sleep Apnea

If your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea, he or she will likely refer you to a sleep specialist for further testing. During the night of testing, you will be monitored for any signs of sleep apnea. You may also be asked to keep a sleep diary for a few weeks before the test to help the doctor better understand your sleeping habits and patterns.

The goal of treatment is to help you get into a comfortable position in bed so that breathing is easier for you. If the problem is more serious than that, your doctor may refer you to a dental surgeon who can adjust the position of your jaw or even perform jaw surgery to correct problem.

You should also talk to your doctor about getting a CPAP machine. This device will keep your airway open while you sleep by providing a constant stream of air through a mask.

Your doctor may also suggest that you lose weight if you are overweight. Excess weight can put a strain on your breathing and make sleep apnea worse.

When to See the Doctor

While you should always consult your doctor if you feel like you are not getting enough sleep, there are some instances where you should see your doctor immediately.

If you find yourself dozing off during the day, you should seek help immediately. Other symptoms that should be addressed right away include:

Memory loss


Constant headaches

Heart troubles (such as palpitations)

Problems breathing when you are awake

daytime sleepiness that is disrupting your life or the lives of those around you.

It is important to address sleep apnea as soon as possible because this condition can lead to some very serious health problems if not treated.

Sleep and Your Mental Health

When you don’t get enough sleep, your mental health can suffer in a number of ways. In addition to the problems with memory and focus that can come with sleep deprivation, sleep disorders like sleep apnea can also lead to depression, irritability, and anxiety.

People who suffer from sleep apnea often report lower quality of life across the board. They are more likely to miss work or other engagements due to excessive sleepiness or falling asleep. This leads to social isolation and a lack of emotional health.

The good news is that most sleep disorders are easily correctable. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor right away. He or she will likely refer you to a sleep specialist, who will perform a physical examination and possibly run some tests to determine the best course of treatment.

Once you get your sleep disorder under control, you should start to feel more like yourself again. You should experience an improvement in your memory and a decrease in feelings of depression and anxiety. Most people see a drastic improvement in their quality of life.

How to Get Better Sleep

If you have noticed a recent decrease in your quality of life, do not ignore it. Instead, make an appointment with your doctor to get to the bottom of the problem. From there, your treatment plan can begin, and you will be on your way to feeling like yourself again.

Sources & references used in this article:

Thing by E Brown – 2004 – tillescenter.org

Fear culture II by N Mert – International Journal of Learning & Development, 2012 – Citeseer

Optogenetic manipulation of neural circuits during monitoring sleep/wakefulness states in mice by S Kodani, S Soya, T Sakurai – JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), 2019 – jove.com

Posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, and executive functioning in veterans by SM Edwards – 2014 – search.proquest.com

Excitation of GABAergic neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis triggers immediate transition from non-rapid eye movement sleep to wakefulness in mice by S Kodani, S Soya, T Sakurai – Journal of Neuroscience, 2017 – Soc Neuroscience

The secret life of sleep by K Duff – 2014 – books.google.com

Classification of parasomnias by L Kazaglis, MAC Bornemann – Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 2016 – Springer