Fear Of Falling Asleep: Hypnophobia Causes, Signs & Treatment

fear of falling asleep, afraid of going to sleep, afraid to fall asleep

Are you afraid of going to bed at night because you fear the dreams that might come with it? Or maybe you’re afraid of not waking up? If so, you may have hypnophobia, also known as somniphobia, clinophobia, sleep anxiety, or sleep dread, is the strong and persistent fear of sleep or of nightmares.

Somniphobia, also known as hypnophobia or sleep anxiety, is a type of anxiety disorder that involves a fear of sleep or nightmares. It can have a serious impact on an individual’s quality of life and mental health. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for somniphobia.

man yawning fear of sleep

Causes of Fear of Sleep

There can be several factors that contribute to the development of hypnophobia. Some of the common causes include:

  • Trauma or traumatic experiences: Past traumatic experiences such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause fear and anxiety when it comes to going to sleep.
  • Nightmares: People who have frequent nightmares may develop a fear of sleep due to the anxiety caused by the nightmares.
  • Sleep disorders: Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can cause fear and anxiety related to sleep.
  • Mental health conditions: Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, or other mental health conditions are more susceptible to developing somniphobia.

Symptoms of Fear of Sleep

Hypnophobiacan cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Night sweats and hot flashes
  • Rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath
  • Fear and anxiety related to sleep
  • Avoidance of sleep and staying awake for extended periods
  • Fatigue and irritability during the day
fear of falling sleep man lying on the coach

Treatment Options for Somniphobia

Treating hypnophobia or somniphobia requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the underlying causes and symptoms. Some of the most common treatment options include:

  • Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating somniphobia. CBT helps individuals identify and challenge their negative thoughts and beliefs related to sleep.
  • Medications: Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications can help reduce symptoms of somniphobia.
  • Sleep hygiene: Maintaining good sleep hygiene can help reduce the symptoms of somniphobia. This includes creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding stimulants before bed, and keeping a regular sleep schedule.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and stress-reduction techniques, can help reduce symptoms of somniphobia.


In conclusion, somniphobia or hypnophobia is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. With the right combination of therapy, medication, sleep hygiene, and lifestyle changes, it is possible to manage the symptoms and overcome the fear of sleep. If you or someone you know is struggling with somniphobia, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.

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