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Fear of not being able to fall sleep (Page 1)

Fear of not falling sleep.

I have suffered from this problem for the last 24 years. It started when I went back to my country of origin for the first time after moving to the USA. I woke up in a panic attack the first night for some unknown reason and was taken to a hospital. I was unable to fall sleep for several days even after receiving treatment in two hospitals. I was sent home and still could not sleep. The third hospital treated me successfully, but since then I developed a fear to not being able to fall sleep. It has stopped me from going to my country and has made my sleeping and traveling a nightmare. I have bought tickets in several occasions but was unable to make the trip because I get a panic attack thinking I will not be able to fall sleep after the very long trip. It requires staying up for over 24 hours. I can be exhausted but if the fear kicks in, I can not fall sleep.
Amazingly, I was able to do it once, 9 years ago. When I got there I had the panic but received treatment in a local hospital and then the rest of the time I was ok. Again, after that I have tried several times and could not make it to the airplane and lost a lot of money and disappointed a lot of people. I want to go because my mother is getting old and I may never see her again.

I also have this problem here on a regular basis. If I go to bet and I don't fall sleep after a few hours I get anxiety. I have been able to control it a bit by taking xanax and relaxation techniques. For me it is a really serious problem. I don't see my family who leaves back home and I feel weird because people don't understand what this phobia is. How do you tell anyone that you have such a fear? I have had many times when I could not go to work the next day because of this problem and it makes you feel terrible as a person.
Like I said, just the idea of going to my country throws me into a panic attack.
I went to a psychiatric for six years and still could not help me. Even if I take medication, the fear breaks through it. It is horrible. I can even describe the feeling. It is not like you are going to die. Just yesterday my doctor said to me some thing to the effect that the fear of dying is unreasonable and you will not die from lack of sleep. I feel so misunderstood. It is not like dying. That would be easy and the fear would be over. It is like you are dying over and over and over and over. It is like torture to me.
I have to problems therefore. I associate traveling to my country with panic and therefore feel anxious. Even hearing people speak the language makes me anxious, because it reminds me of those nights. The second problem is that staying awake so many hours in the trip causes me to fear I will not sleep afterwords. If I could take the trip in two days it may be more manageable, but I don’t have the money or the vacation time for such a luxury.

Please tell me if there is any program out there who can help me.
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First Helper shaistaa
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Users who thank Gabylondas for this post: marionalma 

replied August 2nd, 2009
Gabyondas,
Hi it is marionalma - I have just read your first email on not being able to sleep. I have written under your 2nd post to you. .. You know someone wrote that it is phobia and I looked it up and they do have a name for it. We truly are paralyzed by this problem. .. What country does your Mom live in? No one understands. .. I am going to read a few more articles on other forums. ... Being scared, frightened or whatever you call it, truly does put our mind into a panic. Like I said, I wish that part of my life when it first started could be taken out of my mind. Smile
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replied August 2nd, 2009
Thanks so much for replying marionalma. Do you know the name of this phobia. I would like to know so I can tell my doctor who does not know and so I can do some research on it.
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replied August 11th, 2009
I believe it is called Somniphobia - the fear of sleep - marionalma
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replied August 20th, 2009
I was always afraid of not getting enough hours of sleep a night it went away but I had it very badly for 6 months. The worrying would keep me awake and I would get 3 or4 hours a night every night, even when I knew I could sleep in.
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replied October 20th, 2011
I would try watching TV or something to focus on besides fear. Music or a relaxation video might help tire the eyes out.
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replied April 6th, 2010
treatment for fear of not being able to fall asleep
I also have this phobia and have found a successful treament after 25 years. Nortriptyline is an antidepressant and my doctor has described what she calls a "sleep dose." 25 mg before bedtime. She says I need to take it for the rest of my life and I believe her. I occasionally still have a sleepless night but it no longer snowballs into "nights of sleeplessness." I can now travel without fear of being exhausted. I believe it has saved my life.
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Users who thank ClaireDuke for this post: tupdike 

replied June 4th, 2010
fear of sleep, letting go, and its devastating impact on life...
to all of you who posted here regarding fear of sleep, afraid of letting go, etc... all I can ay is WOW - I have -finally- found some other people on this planet who know what I have/had dealt with...that is so reassuring in many ways. My life at times has been a complete hell, words can not describe what this problem can/has done to me... huge impacts on my job,jobs, relationships, in fact prety much everything in my life is deeply impacted by this. and of course no one can ever understand it (why would they - it is so insane and bizarre...I know it myself)... so it is wonderful to hear of other souls who have had to wrestle with this at times completely intractable and hellish-beyond-words nightmare. I have found some things that have helped me, but it is never a sure-thing, hence I constantly have to live with the uncertainty of this hell coming back at times of my life.... I could write much more, but just wanted to say this much, and if anyone wants to correspond with me re: this, I would be happy to: Write me Pls put something like "fellow sleep sufferer" in subj so I know its not spam. God bless all of you here... I am saying prayers for all of you (as well as me). Todd, 49yo male
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replied March 1st, 2012
Fear of not sleeping
If I may ask, what are some of the things that have helped you? God bless you my friend.
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replied June 27th, 2010
just like tupdike I am re-assured by the fact that there are other people who understand what it's like to experience this problem.

It does affect your life, particularly in my case my work, as it happens when I travel and there's a lot of travel in my job. So change jobs then I hear you say? Not that simple I'm afraid or I would.

The intensity of the anxiety can be overwhelming, so much so that I've called down to reception in a total panic, a jibbering pathetic wreck! For those that do suffer they will know what I mean as you can focus on nothing else other than NOT SLEEPING. IN point of fact you may well sleep some, but in your head you've not had enough, you count the hours, you feel exhausted the next day and all kinds of symptoms occur.

To drink , or not to drink that is the question, it gets you off to sleep but you are awake soon after. Sleeping pills? Some work, some don't, next day you feel awful. Then there's the dilema, do I take a pill or have a drink? I often feel like writing a book, great cities of the world I've had no sleep in!
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replied November 17th, 2010
OMG FINALLY i find people who understand what i've been going through since i was 6! (i'm 15) it all started at a sleepover when we were watching a movie and my friends mom came downstairs and told us it was one in the morning and she couldn't believe we were still up so we tried to sleep but my sister kept elbowing me and i started to panic. my friend's mom had to take me upstairs to sleep by myself in the quiet and i was crying and panicking. i was 6. i was terrified that i would see the sun rising and it just sent me into a panic. for years, untill i was 9, i was terrified of going to bed later than 9:25, that was super late for me, even if the rest of my family was awake. i'm turning 16 soon, and even this past summer i had major problems with it, going to bed at 3 in the morning after being out with friends and panicking because i couldn't sleep, finally just crying and accepting that i would be up another day. THE ONE THING THAT WORKS FOR ME may just be psychological, because it's over the counter and not super- strong. it's Melatonin pills, they reduce stress and help you sleep deeper. STRESS IS THE REASON WE CAN'T SLEEP. or at least for me. i psych myself out that i cant sleep, get anxious, and as a result can't sleep so i would try melatonin, if it doesn't work then it doesn't work, but it's a breath of life for me.
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replied June 26th, 2012
Fear of sleep
Lenamarie13- I dont know if you will see this since I am replying 2 years later but you have described me perfectly.. however melatonin doesn't seem to work that well for me.. what was the dosage you took and how are you doing now???
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replied January 12th, 2011
Fear of not being able to sleep
I really thought it was stupid to have a fear of not being able to sleep. Fear of sleeping yes, but fear of "not" being able to sleep? You have got to be kidding. What I was doing was kidding myself. My husband of two years goes to bed at 8 pm and wants me to go with him. He sleeps until 5 or 6 in the morning. I have never slept more than 6 hours a night in my life. To go to bed at 8 seemed insane to me. I would be up by 2 am and then what? I absolutely refused to go to bed when he did, telling him the facts. But it was a short time later when I realized I would sit at my computer and write (like I am doing now) or play games until I am so exhausted, I can't keep my eyes open. I am so afraid I will go in to bed and lay there staring at a black ceiling. My husband hates any light in the bedroom and I am afraid of the dark because I have night blindness. Even after I go to bed, I turn on the light and read. He is asleep by then and the light doesn't bother him. But it seems to be getting worse. I am getting less and less sleep, staying up later and later. He will wake up at 3 in the morning and ask me why I am still up. How can I tell him I am afraid to go to bed? What kind of nut will he think I am? Am I nuts? Is there anything I can do? I have never talked with anyone about this and just decided today I have to figure it out. This can't go on. Help?
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replied October 26th, 2011
Sleep
You are not "nuts" in the least. I went through something similar about 10 years ago. I was so scared that I wasn't going to sleep that I could not function. I would call off work, I was a horrible husband and bad father. Worst of all, I didn't care because I was so concerned with myself. I went to doctor after doctor and no one could help me. Finally I went on anti-anxiety medication. This is the important part, the drug DID NOT fix the problem. IT ALLOWED ME to fix the problem. I find that too many people rely on sleeping pills, drinking, etc to sleep. I FINALLY (again, I'm not saying this is easy AT ALL) talked myself into the fact that I can't help what my brain thinks but I CAN help how I am affected by those RANDOM thoughts. Once you convince yourself this is the issue and fix it, most of your major problems will be behind you. I still have sometimes in life (mainly when my stress levels are up) that I feel these thoughts start again, but I have taught myself for the most part how to drown them out and not let them take me over.....good luck.....
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Users who thank Gobucks962002 for this post: dreamlady 

replied September 20th, 2012
reading that was like reading notes i may have wrote about myself,WOW.

IM NOT ALONE.

thanks for sharing.
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replied April 2nd, 2011
:)
hey everyone..like the others above i am glad to find other people like myself. i first had a pnaic attack in o3 at the age of 23. and the first problem it started was this fear of not being able to sleep. i finally got over my panic attacks well not completely but i can manage them but that fear of not being able to sleep stuck. in o5 it sort of went away after i forced myself to stay up. i moved tot he city and embraced the nightlife and soon sleep was just easy for me. well here i am its 2011 and i lost my dad last year in 2010. well the fear of sleep has come back. but it comes in waves. some days i find i do not even think about it i just fall asleep but other days its full blown i break out in sweats. i just toss and turn. i was told by a friend of mine "if you cant sleep so what do, not make it such a big deal your body just does not want to sleep". and honestly that way of thinking helps but some nights its hard to thinkt hat way. like i said it comes and goes. some nights i can mamage it and i just lay there and stay up watching shows ignoring that ugly voice in my head that shouts "uh oh what if you cant sleep tonight or ever again ahhhh" ugh i hate that stupid voice. but no matter what i fall asleep so thats a good thing huh? its usually around 4 or 5 am. on those bad nights. but like i said what helps me is saying shut up to that stupid voice. and saying to myself eh you cant sleep you cant sleep. guess my body is not up for it tonight oh well . like right now its 3 am and that little voice is back there but i say eh shut up man ill sleep when i want. im just not going to let it control me. i have learned that jumpimng into bed at 8 pm sharp to try and sleep before is 3 or 4 am to avoid that fear just makes it worse for me.i do what i did to anxiety and panic attacks i face it head on sober and i fight it. i say bring it on. heheh silly i know but thats how i do it. i guess you can say i go face to face with my demons. im not the type to run.
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replied September 17th, 2011
i love your attitude about it. thank you for this post Smile

i have beeen dealing with this for a long time too. i'm 30 now. it only happens now when i'm traveling or have something important coming up. but you know what, i'm trying to tell myself it's not that "crazy." we just all have problems...and this is one of mine. i have an "adrenaline rush" when i'm excited or nervous about big events... and i know that some days are just going to be like that. i know i can get through it. taking L-Trypohan helps (5-HTP supplements). Just be careful not to take them too often, and not too many. Also.... eating right has helped me a ton. More turkey, bananas, eggs, and staying away from sugar. i also just need to get on a better sleep schedule. some days i sleep way too much, others i only get 2-4 hours... or even zero. but you know what... it happens. i think we shouldn't be so "afraid" of this....don't let it control you! if you have anxiety... just get up and do something relaxing. eventually your body will give in. have a sense of humor about it... eat healthy... and don't be afraid to live Smile
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replied August 10th, 2011
Fear of going to sleep.
Hello:

I am a newcomer to this community and can relate what it is like with the fear of going to sleep and not being able to sleep too. It all started on May 18th, 2011 after a meeting with an attorney an potenetial buyers of a property. The meeting went alright, but I came home not being able to go to sleep.
To date, August 10th, 2011, I have a fear of not being able to go to sleep. I have sought therapy with Medical Doctors, a Psychiatrist, Psychologist and had myself admitted to the Psyche ward of a Hospital and had a sleep study performed. Unfortunately, my condition isn't considered a Medical situation and the Hospital and medical field scoff me. So, what am I to do? I tried Ambien that worked but I am afraid of taking sleeping pills. A doctor prescribed Klonipin, which I haven't taken out of fear of addiction. Throughout the day I am nervous of not being able to sleep at night and feel terrible. Can anyone help me.
A 49 year old male.
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replied August 16th, 2011
This is the first time in 45 years that I heard (read) anyone ever say the things I've been thinking and saying about this topic. Thank you all so much. I have been looking for the magic bullet for so long. That one thing you can tell yourself or action you can take that will stop the insanity. It could be habit. It could be brought on by a past experience. It could be brought on by a stressfull situation. It could be masking an underlying fear of something else. I've heard it all and then some. We need to stick together, keep posting and figure this crap out together because nobody cares about it but us. Even if they are concerned, they can't help or don't know how to. Let the fun begin.....
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replied August 23rd, 2011
Sleepless in dc 8/23/2011
I have the same condition. The day before someone had told me marijuana may help and I tried it last night with no success it actually magnified the problem a 1000x. Here I am up researching it at 4:30 am & is glad to find people who understand. I have tried lunista, ambien and some other sleeping drugs but would only work for couple of nights. Other people don't get it as they try to relate the problem with other stress factors but I am pretty content with my life except this issue which is now dominating & not allowing me to be as productive as I want to be. I guess next step is to show this link to my doctor see what he thinks about it then see a psychiatric or something. I have let this go on for the past 4 years it is about time it stops. Can you guys please share what you do for living just in case a common factor there. I am a software application designer.
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replied September 1st, 2011
Hi, Sleepless in dc,

I doubt there is a common issue. We tell people that it is not other factors or issues. They don't believe us. We know it is plain and simply th fear of not falling asleep. We try every thought and sometimes pill that can possibly help. The end result is that we resort to things like this forum and just keep wondering what the heck was and happening or has happened that makes us think this way. Humans have physical and mental issues, stress, etc.. We here seem to freak when we can't fall or stay asleep. Even worse, the worry and obsessive thoughts from time to time we can't seem to stop. We are always searching for someone to say magic words that will stop us from this horror. I'm 45. For at least 40 of the 45 years i have worried about falling asleep. You'd think that by now I would have found the solution. NOPE.
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replied October 12th, 2011
fear of not sleeping
Oh man, Look at all these posts- none of us are alone in this, as hard as it is, it's nice to know there are others and we're not all just crazy>
I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 15 (siezure disorder) I was very blessed to only have a mild case, and that my seizures were able to be controlled with medication- however: these seizures are VERY sleep related, so last year I was diagnosed with PTSD just from HAVING epilepsy- saw my friend (who also had epilepsy) have a few seizures, sent me over the edge to say the least...
It has made me completely fearful of bed time- I'm 19 years old and my bed time is 8:30pm, if I see that clock hit 10 and i'm still awake, lying in my bed, i'm completely overwhelmed with anxiety, then i dont fall asleep, and when i finally do, many many tears later- it'll be around 3 or 4am and sometimes, only having had 3 hours of sleep i'll wake up, and along comes a seizure, it's AWEFUL.
I won't sleep anywhere but my own bed, i cant stay out late with my friends, i can't do sleep overs, I wanna be a mom someday- and a wife, but the thought of adding a husband and kids into the mix SCARES ME- with someone sleeping next to me its all the more anxiety, what if he snores (i'm a very light sleeper) or tosses and turns a lot? what if we have to sleep in seperate beds?! I have thought about these things a lot.
Through the years of epilepsy- PTSD- Anxiety- Fear of not sleeping, I have found 1 thing that remains the same: and that is my living hope.
I'm not shoving God onto anyway- so feel free to skip this section is you please, but let me tell you, He has saved me many many times, He has been with me, and delivered me, He is faithful now, and He was faithful then, and He will be faithful forever, How blessed am I to have such a mild case of epilepsy? Just enough epilepsy so that it only triggers a seizure if i dont sleep enough, otherwise its controlled by medication... I hate epilepsy all together until I see Gods love in it- It has kept me from drinking, staying out late, living the 'party scene life' it's kept me out of drugs, and at 9 when all the night owls start coming out to party, im at home... sleeping. Praise God.
And my PTSD- let me tell you about this friends, I was puled out of my senior year of high school, would NOT leave my house, i was paralyzed, ccouldnt sleep alone (slept w/ my parents) couldnt shower alone (mom had to sit in bathroom) I was very very paralyzed, but I knew the Lord at this point, my Psychologist told me to be patient with myself, that it would take lots of time to get through this- well in this time i grew very close to my God, and I would cry and cry to Him, but I never once stopped turning to him, and 2 weeks later, he broke that fear, He delivered me from something i thought I would have to battle my entire life, I wasnt planning on going to college (because i was to scared to leave my house... or drive... or be around other people.. ect) HE. SAVED. ME. from what I thought was impossible- && though i'm going through a tough time with battling the sleep thing, and though it seems ill live this way forever, I know, I know that my God will rescue me because He works ALL things together for my Good- I've got a living hope, and a loving Father thats right beside me
So if your a person of faith, CRY OUT- He will hear you, and He will help you, He may not deliver you this year, or next year, or 5 years from now, but He will eventually, when the time is right, there is a lesson to be learned in this season, I dont know what yours is, but be thankful for it, even when your afraid, wait on Him, and ask Him to heal you, to deliver you, and keep asking with the faith that HE will, even if it takes a few years, Its His decision when to deliver you, He knows best, not us, we're mere humans, so trust in Him, and trust in the reason He has ALLOWED this kind of affliction, note: He hasnt GIVEN the affliction itself, he's not that kind of God, He only allowed it, and im not sure why He allowed it for any of you, or even me, but I know that if we Love Him and have faith- He moves, and He works ONLY for our good.
Be steadfast brothers and sisters, I'm going to save your replies and pray for every one of you who face this battle with me- with belief that the Lord will hear my request and give you a long life full of Joy- free of fear. Bless all of you.

-Sarah
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Users who thank findinggrace for this post: coolasa 

replied August 9th, 2012
My case: Religion poisons my mind...esp Christianity
Are you 100% sure that God actually delivered you from all this nightmare? But He hasn't fully cured you right? Is it not fear from Hell or Evil that in reality make your condition worsened? Because mine was right so.... I was fearful of Hell and all things that sounds originated from Evil or Demon. It paralyzed me....thinking that Evil disturbed my ability to sleep... I was on Zoloft and Ambien for 2 years since 2010. My fellow Christian Charismatics all blamed me for learning meditation (it's evil for them). When the insomnia set in....i was so much in terror because i thought my wrongdoing caused this... It was worsened till i beg God to take my life.
Until finally i found this website New.exchristian.net ...there i learned, i tell you it's not easy for me to lose my faith....but i learned that Christianity teachings....hell n demons...cause many mental disturbances to many people for centuries...even now. Now i believe that Religion can do POISON your entire life. Counting since March 2012...i am free of all medication...incl. sleeping pills. It's your mind and the way of thinking that needs fixed. I bet it is different for every problem of yours individually...but i've tried so hard to face and fight my fear. And i think i've won. Good luck to you all
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replied October 18th, 2011
I am so glad that people know what it is like to have this problem. My problem had started about 2 years ago one night when I randomly found that I couldn't fall asleep. I went to bed at around 9pm and fell asleep at about 2am. It went away after about a month but it has come back ever since the start of school. I've told my parents about it and they think I'm going crazy sometimes. Its been about a month and a half and I still worry about it every night. Does anyone else have any ways to fix this, without medicine?
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replied October 18th, 2011
I am 14 years old, and I don't want to wait until I am 45 to talk about this.
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replied October 19th, 2011
Wow OP---------You just spoke out in words what I've been dealing with since two months----albeit at a much decreased rate.I first had a sleeplss night roughly two months back, and have had this fear ever since ...though I slept well nearly every night after that. About a month later, I had two sleepless nights consecutively, and eleven days right fater, I had another one.

The result is, that now I'm nervous nd afraid to go to sleep. I try telling myself that I WILL LSEEP if I'm tired, and I feel dog tired all day, but no matter how early I hit the bed at night, I start getting the panics...and the result is disturbed and broken sleep. I'm sleeping, but without the satisfaction. I'm trying ti reason with my mind all the while and keep it calmed, but I can't stop my mind from reverting back to worrying the moment I hit the sack.


Life is hellish coz of this, and as you said, NOBODY understands.
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replied November 3rd, 2011
Thanks Friends, for this forum. I'm having same problem from quite some time.i'm finally glad to know, that i'm not alone. There are other people also there out like me. Last but not least, it helps reduce my fear that i have a decease. Just to help others, to overcome this disordere i'm trying to convince myself that i'm not going to die because of lack of sleep and it will come when my body really needs it. It helps me soothen a little bit. Honestly i'm hating what i'm going through. But thanks guys for the post it reduced my panic atleast, that i may die because of lack of sleep. I wish GOD saves all of us and give us peaceful sleep and a long life. Love you all my dear brothers and sisters.
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