People with agoraphobia will always feel excessive fear and anxiety at the thought of going to sleep. This condition has a serious impact on health, potentially reducing quality of life if not treated promptly.
What is Somniphobia?
Somniphobia, also known as somniphobia, is a condition that causes excessive anxiety, insecurity, and panic at the thought of sleeping. This persistent phobia can be called by many different names such as sleep phobia, hypnotic phobia, sleep anxiety, climacteric.
Symptoms of sleep disorders such as insomnia, nightmares, and nightmares can cause a lot of anxiety and insecurity during sleep, making many people feel scared about sleep. If you are constantly dreaming about bad things during your sleep or experiencing sleep apnea, it could also be contributing to sleep phobias.
A fear of sleep will cause many people to try and avoid falling asleep. Because they are always afraid of bad things happening in their sleep, they tend to force themselves to stay awake or will be extremely anxious when it’s time to go to bed. This long-term situation will cause many great impacts on health and daily life activities.
Sleep plays a very important role for every human being. If you cannot maintain a stable and quality sleep, your body will gradually become exhausted both physically and mentally. This makes it difficult for many people to complete daily tasks, lower their quality of life, or even develop serious mental illnesses.
Causes of fear of sleep
Until now, experts still do not have any specific information about the cause of the fear of sleep. However, certain sleep disorders can be considered risk factors and promote the development of this phobia. As follows:
- Nightmare disorder: This condition causes extremely vivid nightmares that leave the person in a state of anxiety, fear, and distress throughout the day, even days afterward. Patients can associate and recall the contents and images that appear in the nightmare and feel extremely insecure and afraid about those things, in many cases even become confused and afraid that the dream will turn into reality.
- Incubus: This condition will often appear after the patient wakes up from an REM sleep with paralyzed muscles, making it difficult for them to move and move the body. The patient may also experience some hallucinations such as nightmares or may be paralyzed in sleep, creating a feeling of extreme fear, especially if there are violent relapses.
When suffering from one or both of these sleep disorders and not being treated well, patients may gradually develop a fear of going to bed, they do not want to sleep for fear of facing distressing symptoms. , bad. In addition, experts also say that people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or those who have experienced trauma are more likely to develop agoraphobia than normal.
In addition, some studies have shown that agoraphobia may be related to family factors. If you have a family member with a history of phobias and anxiety, you are more likely to have it too.
Sleepphobia can also stem from a fear of death. Worrying about passing away at any time makes many people feel obsessive about sleep and do not want to sleep. Especially those who are suffering from a serious illness and they think that they are in danger of dying while sleeping and this fear will gradually develop into agoraphobia.
In other cases, this syndrome does not stem from any specific cause. It often develops in childhood, so many people will not be able to remember why they have such a strong obsession with sleep and do not know when this fear originated.
Symptoms of sleep terrors
Sleep is always a necessary and very important factor for every human being. To have a good life, a good health requires you to have a good quality of sleep. You can’t be productive if you’re constantly sleep-deprived.
The body needs rest to restore its energy for the next day. But for people with sleep terrors, it seems that they are always obsessed with sleep, feeling scared, bored, and insecure when thinking about it. Sometimes, fear doesn’t come from sleep itself, but from things that might happen during sleep.
People with agoraphobia are likely to face a range of different mental and physical symptoms. Some symptoms may include:
- When they think about going to sleep or close to bedtime, they will feel extremely anxious, afraid and experience a lot of emotional pain and bad.
- Tends to avoid or try to force oneself not to sleep.
- Feel comfortable being awake and stay awake for as long as possible.
- Frequent panic attacks close to bedtime.
- Difficulty in focusing on external tasks, they only remember and care about their anxiety and fear about sleep.
- Poor memory, unable to remember everything that happened.
- Unusual mood swings, irritability, anger for no reason.
In addition, people with agoraphobia may also face a few physical symptoms such as:
- Feeling chest pain, heart rate increases when thinking about sleep.
- Nausea, experiencing stomach problems due to persistent intense anxiety.
- Excessive sweating, hypoventilation, feeling chills, shortness of breath, shortness of breath near bedtime.
- For children with a fear of sleep, they will scream, cry, cling or have uncontrollable and violent behaviors when forced to sleep.
You can still fall asleep, but the sleep time is not prolonged, you wake up easily during the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep or even panicking. Depending on the subject, personality and coping skills, the symptoms will also be different.
When faced with a fear of sleep, many people can respond by turning on the television, turning on the lights, and listening to music to reduce the focus on the fear. Others may abuse drugs or tranquilizers, stimulants, or dangerous drugs.
Diagnosing sleep terrors
You will easily recognize your abnormality because fear is always present when you think about sleep. And if this fear manifests itself to an excessive degree, it causes you many difficulties in life, affecting your health, you should conduct a more accurate examination and diagnosis at specialized facilities.
If a person is suspected of having agoraphobia, a doctor will perform a general physical exam to rule out relevant physical factors. After that, some specialized tests or methods will be applied, and the patient can also be tested for better evaluation.
A person diagnosed with agoraphobia needs to meet the following criteria well:
- Fear affects the quality of sleep.
- Physical and mental health is severely impacted.
- Persistent and persistent fear and anxiety are associated with sleep.
- Affect the quality of work, study and personal life.
- This condition lasted for more than 6 months.
- Fear causes the subject to repeatedly delay and try to avoid falling asleep.
Methods to improve the fear of sleep
In fact, not all cases of agoraphobia need to be treated, and some may resolve on their own. However, if you realize the seriousness of your fear, which has a severe impact on your mental and physical health and degrades your life, you need to proactively seek medical attention for timely support.
If sleep anxiety is not treated early, it will easily cause many serious consequences and develop many other dangerous diseases. This is also one of the reasons that experts always encourage patients to conduct examination and intervention at an early stage.
Depending on the patient’s condition, cause, and fear about sleep, doctors will consider giving the most appropriate remedy. For example, in cases of agoraphobia due to the effects of sleep disorder symptoms, it is necessary to thoroughly eliminate the cause to reduce fear and anxiety.
The following are some of the commonly used therapies for people with sleep disorders such as:
1. Exposure therapy
For this therapy, a psychotherapist will work directly with the patient to help them gradually expose their fear while finding ways to reduce the lack of fear. that worry. For cases of agoraphobia, exposure therapy will include discussing the fear, applying relaxation techniques, and assisting the patient to imagine feelings of comfort and well-being. get a good and complete sleep.
Next, exposure therapy may involve showing the patient pictures of sleeping people who are having a good time relaxing and enjoying themselves. After the patient gets used to this, the specialist will gradually encourage them to take a short nap. This process is intended to determine if the patient can wake up in a safe state.
In addition, this therapy also has another option that is sleeping in the laboratory. The patient’s sleep will be monitored by medical professionals and they will stay awake while the patient sleeps no matter how long that sleep lasts.
2. Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive and behavioral therapy is often preferred for cases of agoraphobia and is also considered to be effective for many patients. This approach will help the patient identify the source of his or her fear and deal well with his fears and anxieties about sleep.
As a result, patients will learn to challenge their own thoughts when experiencing them and know how to regulate negative thoughts, reducing suffering. Doctors may also recommend limiting the amount of time you sleep during the day and focusing on your sleep at night.
Ideally, patients should practice the habit of sleeping and waking up at the same time of day to be able to maintain their circadian rhythm well. In addition, this habit also contributes to the development of a more stable sleep pattern, which helps reduce sleep worries.
3. Drug treatment
Currently, there are no drugs that are recognized as effective in the treatment of insomnia. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to consider using prescription drugs to alleviate anxiety and fear about sleep. At the same time, the use of drugs also contributes to the effectiveness when applied in combination with the above-mentioned therapies.
The psychiatrist will evaluate the health status and the severity of the disease to consider applying appropriate drugs. Usually beta blockers or benzodiazepines are used in this case.
- Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative that works well in controlling and reducing symptoms of anxiety and fear. However, the drug is only used for a short period of time to avoid the risk of addiction for the patient.
- Beta-blockers are used to relieve symptoms of insecurity, restlessness, and physical anxiety. For example, drugs will help patients keep blood pressure and heart rate stable.
In addition, some sleeping pills may also be recommended for short-term use to help patients get a good and complete sleep, limiting health effects.
The fear of sleep can cause many negative effects on people’s health and daily life. Hopefully, through this article, readers will better understand their fears and have the most appropriate remedies.