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Fear of Trying to Fall Asleep (Page 1)

Dear doctor,
i have posted this question on the forum but then I realized that you do take questions. Could you possibly read mine and give me your advice.

Thank you,
marionalma

maybe it is more that I fear going into bed at night because I won't fall asleep. My mind whirls and then I get frightened that I am not going to sleep - so then the worrying of falling asleep begins. .. This all began 40 years ago, when I was young. I was sleeping and my phone in the bedroom rang and startled me; the next night the blind fell and woke me and startled me; the following night, the phone rang again and awokened me, and that began my mind worrying about what is going to happen tonight - will I fall asleep and if I don't, I need to get up for work at 7 am. This went on nite after nite and I became really nervous and sick over it. I finally went to a doctor. He had said if I had gone to him when those worrisome thoughts it first began, he would have given me sleeping pills just to put me to sleep so I would not have had to worry about the not falling asleep. Those thoughts were ingrained in my mind and needless to say, they are still there - 40 years later. .. Well, that is what started my long bout with insomnia which never got any better with the years; I am still frightened to go into bed b/c I know I will not fall asleep. Sounds crazy but that is what happened. I wonder what disorder this would be called? No doctor could help me or tell me how to get the thoughts out of my mind. I take kolonopin and ambim when necessary to sleep but that does not help relax me to fall asleep. .. Would a sleep doctor help?

Thanks for listening,
marionalma
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First Helper sntgrmnnly
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Users who thank marionalma for this post: Gabylondas 

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replied June 28th, 2006
Experienced User
How ironic I have just finished taking a phsychology class and we had learned about sleeping disorders. My boyfriend also suffers from insomnia with the same reasons as you had mentioned. He worries about going in to lye down because he knows he will not beable to sleep. When he does ly down he thinks about everything going on around him weather negative or positive. In my class I had learned that the more you stress about "will I be able to sleep tonight?, will I get up in time for work?" the negative things related to sleep the more likely you will unable to sleep. The medication that they put my boyfriend on for this occurences is called serequil I have tried it myself on very restless, stressful nights when I can't seem to get my mind to rest and it really does the trick. 15 min there will be nothing on your mind but to go lye down and sleep. The only thing that you have to keep in mind when taking it is you will need to have 8 hours of sleep time. Just remember if you choose not to take the meds to help you sleep try taking a hot shower right before bed then get your mind to focus on something else like have your hair played with, or head messaged, gentle touches on the arms or forehead that always seems to help me relax. I hope I have been of some help take care!!! Heather
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replied September 15th, 2006
Problem With Sleep.
Marionalma, I have exactly the same problem it started about the same way yours did but I have not found a cure for it yet. Everyday I have fear going to bed, I though I would get use to it but I can't, I just can't belive it has been 40 years for you. The problem I have is that even when I get up in the morning I still think about it because it bothers me that I can't go to sleep like other people. Every time I tryed to explain it to a doctor they look at me like am crazy. My sleep problem started in january of 2005 when I was working on overnights and I was going to school during the day. In the beginning I suffered a lot because I thought I was the only one with the problem. There was a time that I could not even stop my thoughts and I could not even explain to the doctor because I thought I was going insane. The doctor gave me ambin to help me sleep and lorazepam to calm me down it helped and I was doing fine for about a year but something triggered it and it came back agin and now i'm even more feared because I remeber how I was the first time. The problem is when I start feeling that way I can't eat food so I feel more sick. So if there is anyone out there that had the same exparince please......Please help this is one of the worst thing any one can get. Not known what the problem is or not knowing how to fix it is the worst thing. Marionalma or anyone else that can help can e-mail me.
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replied September 15th, 2006
Extremely eHealthy
Marionalma
I am not a dr and I am sorry to hear about your situation. I have known of several people that have phobias and have past problems in their lives such as post war syndrome and just things that have happened in their past that they cannot let go of, I had a situation to and I tried .E.M.D.R. (eye movement desensitization resposes or something like that) it is done without drugs and it takes you back to that time and allows you to release the feelings or situation you are in because of it, it is a very unique feeling, you are not put under hypnosis, it is either done by finger taping on the leg or watching the pschologist finger go back and forth, you might want to do a little search on it, I am not trying to sell it to you, it is your choice.
I wish you the best in whatever decision you make!
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replied February 23rd, 2008
Trying to fall asleep scares me too! If I'm at home I'm okay, but most other places I get myself into a full-blown panic worrying about whether or not I'll be able to fall asleep. I almost always do, so I have NO idea why I panic about it. I can't find a name for this phobia anywhere!
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replied May 6th, 2008
I have the same problem. I am scared of sleep in general. I can get in bed and watch TV but the minute I try to fall asleep a million different things run through my head and it wakes me up in a fit of panic.
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replied May 15th, 2008
FEAR WHILE TRYING TO FALL TO SLEEP
Been dealing with this since 1997. I'll have several nights of this with having to take all kinds of medicine just to try to force myself into sleep. Then it starts to spill over in the day where you feel hopeless about the whole situation and have general anxiety over it and sometimes it goes into panic attacks. Just a repetative cycle. I am a Christian and pray about it alot. If not for that. I surely would have lost my mind by now. I would love for anyone who has had FEAR AND PANIC WHILE trying to fall to sleep and CAN NOT get INTO sleep because of the fear.
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Users who thank glwest for this post: drinaldi 

replied August 9th, 2008
can't sleep
I am also a christian and can't fall asleep. I have had insomnia all my life and this past January ended up with severe panic attacks for the first timein my life due to takingOTC medication. But I think what really triggered it was not sleeping - I would just pace the floor all night and day. I finally was able to get some sleep from taking valium - 5 mg. about every four days for a month - My anxiety started to go away as soon as I started sleeping but I still woke up every our even on the valium. Then I was able to sleep again even with out the valium but still wakin gup a lot during the night. Now I am back to not sleeping at all. I pray about it all the time.
Debbe
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replied March 30th, 2009
fear of sleep
FEAR of insomnia called INSOMNIPHOBIA, i have been through these for many years and i am so hopeless now , its very funny people have dreams like good jobs, travelling, beautiful wife and i am sitting here dreaming of being a normal person with no fear of sleep, i count the hours of every last night to see will i be able to continue the other day with no sleep or not and feel soooo paniced if i go to the next day without sleeping at all and thinking what is the worst thing that may happens if i stayed without sleeping for 2 or 3 days, its killing me and makes me hate life and feel that the only cure is death, i really dont know what to do as i tried pills and fade up with pshyciatrists and anti depressions.
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replied April 6th, 2009
fear of not being able to fall asleep
I suffer from the same thing. It's funny I thought I was the only one. the fear of not being able to fall asleep. Mine started when I was in rehab because my mind wandered to much I guess.
you might consider going to see someone about it. it can help. I now take seroquel and it helps me sleep now. hang in there.
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replied May 28th, 2009
fear of falling asleep
i also fear falling asleep and i thought i was the only person who had this problem, until i recently googled and was relieved to find out im not. i've had this problem since i was little. i would get in stages where i would be fearful all day of sleeping...i think it had to do with being alone since i was young and had nightmares. it very rarely happens but right now im in a very scary stage. it's been since monday, and i've lost a lot of sleep. i'm a 15 year old student so it's really bad for me to not be sleeping. i get bad panic attacks when trying to fall asleep. i fear death and losing control so that might be the reason. no one really understands what im going through in my real life, so if anyone reads this with the same problem and has a solution or can just talk me through this a little, write me.
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replied December 20th, 2011
Sleeping disorder
I have the same thing, it's so scary. I'm worried it will carry on through out the rest of my life. I'm so sorry i don't have any solution for you as i'm in the same position as you. It ruins my day and makes me upset when it comes to night time when i am coming up to going to bed, i get nervous and panicy. I hope i get back to normal soon. Glad to know someone knows what it's like.
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replied June 11th, 2009
insomnia and fear of insomnia
I have experienced much of what you describe: fear of falling asleep (accompanied by panic attacks and fear of death etc.) which cascaded into years of severe insomnia. I still have trouble sleeping now and then but for the most part am a good sleeper. Here is how I did it: (1) I stopped taking sleep aids (Tylenol PM, Ambien, etc.). Part of overcoming insomnia is believing there is nothing organically wrong with you. If you are dependent on meds, your belief in your ability to sleep will suffer. (2) I stopped trying to control my sleeping. I stopped letting myself fret about it. I followed all the sleep hygiene tips out there, but then when I got to bed, I thought, "I've done all I can do and I am not going to worry about things I can't control, like whether or not I sleep tonight. I will just lie here and rest if I can't sleep." Note that this was a long process of recovery for me. I did not recover from my insomnia overnight, and in terms of my mood I succumbed to many brief bouts of frustration, anger, despair, etc. But after these moments I focused on maintaining a positive attitude, and "accepting" my insomnia, while taking all practical steps possible to cure it. (3) Find meaningful work and activities to fill your days and do not run away from activities (e.g., traveling) that trigger your fear of sleep. Doing these things will help to distract you from your insomnia and override your fears. (4) When you do have success with sleeping, focus on that. You can remember these successful sleeping episodes to boost your confidence in yourself when you're having trouble with insomnia or fear of insomnia, and remembering your successes will help you to maintain your faith in your ability to overcome both. (5) If all else fails, in the midst of a panic attack, just allow yourself to feel the panic. Do not fight it. But note that it is only a momentary feeling and that it too will pass. Just ride it out. And remember that, though you feel panicked, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU AND YOU ARE IN NO DANGER.
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replied December 3rd, 2012
Dear Sntgrmnnly
I like your tips and I already practice some of these and found these to be useful.

I have a query. Is (or was) your fear of not being able to sleep associated with some unpleasant or frightful experience (thinking about when it happened for the first time or started) ?
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replied June 20th, 2009
I'm not a Doctor but I have lots of trouble falling asleep to. You know what always helps me? I think that even if I don't fal asleep, at least I have some rest and you will need that rest if you go to work at 7 am.
THis usually helps me to sleep, thought I still have troubles doing it.
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replied August 1st, 2009
Marionalma, I just posted a similar story about my problem. Until I read yours, I thought I was the only person in the planet with this problem. I can't believe it has been fourty years for you. It has been 24 for me and nothing has helped, so I can not give you a solution but just send you my love and compassion. I see your post is three years old so I hope maybe you have been able to find some peace in these three years. What is hard for me is how many people don't understand about these mental problems and I don't know if you have felt it or not, but there is a lot of stigma attached to any of these mental conditions. I wish you well and hope to stay in touch.
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replied August 2nd, 2009
Fear of Falling Asleep
Hi Gabylondas, I really never knew that there were others with this out-of-control fear - I still have it!! I got an alert that you had written and that is why I looked on this forum. There are many people out there with this same problem. It is some sort of emotional problem at this point in my life. I don't work b/c I do not want to woken - I sleep til noon. I wish I could go into bed like my husband at 11 pm fall asleep normally and get up in theearly am, but it is impossible when I worry about how to fall asleep. There is no advice I can give you either but I do understand and send you my love and compassion, too. .. I don't worry if anyone thinks that I have mental problems at this point in my life - I hate nighttime b/c I know I have to hit the bed. If I see daylight - I truly panic. I do wish that I could be under hypnosis to get rid of this problem. .. Yes, I hope you receive this email so that we can stay in touch.
To all the rest who have posted - I guess none of us are alone.
marionalma
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Users who thank marionalma for this post: Gabylondas 

replied August 2nd, 2009
Marionalma, You asked me about my country. It is Spain. This week I was trying to make plans to go there in December. Last time I tried I could not go. This time I will not be able either, because the night before last, I went to bed after planning the trip and woke up in a panic attack. The fear is so intense I can not explain it. Some people call it fear to die but I don't think that even describe it. So now I am so depressed and sad and feeling horrible about my situation because it is possible any day I will get a call that my mother is going to die and I need to go to her side and I will not be able to because of this fear. My daughter is so upset with me because she says that if a person wants to do something she should be able to do it. She does not understand and is angry that I don't take her to Spain. I don't even know how I got the strength to do it last time. My first night there was horrible and I was so close to go to the hospital, but the sleeping pills worked and once I passed the first night I can control my anxiety better. The problem is to get through the first night and actually now the problem is to make myself go. I feel so horrible!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for your understanding. It has meant so much to me. I was doing some research online and found this thing called the linden method. Have you ever tried any method or have you or anyone out there have heard of it.
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Users who thank Gabylondas for this post: marionalma 

replied August 2nd, 2009
Gabylondas, I am so sorry to hear that this fear of not sleeping is ruling your decision on going to Spain. I have never tried any treatment like the linden method. I have spoken to doctors about it but they don't know how to help me other than a sleeping pill. I truly think the mind is so powerful and for some reason we won't let our mind forget the first time this fright of not sleeping started!! Is it a punishment?? Yes I am looking for other answers online, too. I pray that you can relax and try not to worry for more than 1 hour at a time. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!
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replied February 3rd, 2010
sntgrmnnly, it's really enormously encouraging to know that someone was able to overcome these problems. Thank you so much for your advice. I was just wondering, how long did it take you to stop the fear from controlling your sleep? And how bad were the ups and downs in the meantime?
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replied March 19th, 2010
marionalma. Hi, was just reading about insomnia cases and stumble upon your page. I'm sorry to hear that you have been suffering with this symptom for the pass 40 years. I have had insomnia before but I can say I definitely have it in control compare to before when I first encountered it. May I ask if you were on any prescripted sleeping pills?
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replied July 11th, 2010
fear of sleep
i am 14 years old and this has been going on for at least seven years. i cant go to sleep because i'm afraid of seeing ghosts. i can't find a name for this .and its really bad. i get so paranoid at night time because of this. does any doctors have a name for it? please help
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