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Fear of sleeping


Little
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Last year I was diagnosed with anxiety, which was no surprise to me. I've always been really anxious and shy and nervous, especially around people. I've had panic attacks, and at one point I couldn't even go to certain places out of fear of having a panic attack and being trapped. I talked to a counselor and my anxiety gradually got better without meds or anything. Now, though, my anxiety has come back and turned into a fear of sleeping. I always have really horrible, vivid nightmares and I've had sleep paralysis before. I think those things have contributed to my fear of sleeping. Weird thing is though, is that I can sleep during the day. I'm only afraid of sleeping at night. Once the sun starts rising at around 5 am, I can sleep. I can also sleep when I'm at my boyfriend's apartment and we're sharing a bed or if a friend is sleeping in the same room. This is becoming a huge problem, and I don't know what to do. It's interfering with life big time. It's 2:30am now and I'm sitting up in my bed with the lights on. My heart is pounding and I keep having to look around my room. This is a horrible feeling. I'll be 20 in two months, so this definitely isn't normal. Someone please help! :P

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Hi Little. Welcome to the forum. I am sorry you have this problem and I know how awful it feels to not be able to sleep. It seems like you have a problem with the dark? Can you think of anything that might have caused this and have you always been this way or has it only been a recent thing?

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Hi Little. Welcome to the forum. I am sorry you have this problem and I know how awful it feels to not be able to sleep. It seems like you have a problem with the dark? Can you think of anything that might have caused this and have you always been this way or has it only been a recent thing?

It's weird because I usually love the dark. I like the night more than I like the day. My bedroom is purple because 1. it's my favorite color and 2. I love a dark room when I'm sleeping. So, it hasn't always been this way. I mean, I have always had nightmares, even as a child. But recently they've made me too afraid to go to sleep. I fear something bad will happen to me when I sleep or that I won't wake up. I fear having horrible nightmares or sleep paralysis. I think I've probably feared these things for a while now, but they're just now becoming this big of a problem.

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I'm sorry you are having trouble sleeping and have been feeling afraid, little. :( I have anxiety sometimes too, and it can be very distressful. Do you have something which might comfort you at night and help you to feel safe? A pillow, blanket or even a stuffed animal? I hope you are able to rest tonight.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Little,

There are a couple of things I can tell you that I hope will help.

1. During REM, the dreaming part of sleeping, all of go into a kind of paralysis and that is normal. It protects us from acting out a dream and doing something that could hurt us. Sleep walking is not REM and is a totally different thing.

2. There is nothing to fear from your dreams. What I mean by that is that you will wake up. A nightmare may feel scary but its only a dream. Dreams and nightmares are nothing more that issues from the day before, or from the whole week, that we are working on. That is all. Because the more primitive part of the brain takes over during the night our thinking comes out as dreams rather than more logical thoughts. So, with nightmares as with so much of life, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

One of the things that might help you is to remind yourself of these facts about sleep. Remind yourself that a dream or just a dream and a nightmare is just a nightmare and nothing bad will happen to you.

You could also see a psychotherapist who does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) because it really helps with these types of anxiety disorders.

Finally, remind yourself that you ARE NORMAL, it is only fear that you are dealing with.

Allan

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Sometimes I hear something about dreaming and I wonder about whether it's true. So I read somewhere people dream in black and white. Then I had a dream that night about a beautiful blue dress. I can still remember the colour twenty years later. I also heard if you fall off a high ledge in your dream that when you hit bottom, you die. So a while later I had a dream about that. I remember hitting bottom. It was not a soft landing. It didn't hurt, but it jarred me awake. Still alive. Last year I had the most horrible, vivid nightmare about being in hell. Felt like it lasted over two hours. There was certainly enough material there for it to last that long - at least the parts I remembered. Woke up from that too. I don't think anybody here could top that nightmare.

So yah, dreams and nightmares are just that. They are not real, they truly cannot hurt you. Maybe you can plant a suggestion in your mind to remember in your dream state like I did above. Maybe they will seem a little less real then.

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Let me give you some positive things I learned about sleep.

Did you know they did a study on mice and found out creatures often repeat the activities of the day in order to improve. That is why it is always important to get sleep when you are learning new things.

People can dream in color or black and white.. done both. Pretty much dreams are thoughts amplified so I imagine anything you can imagine you can dream. For the most part when you are in the deepest part of sleep you body produces a chemical to put you in a semi paralysis to keep you safe from harm. So unless you scare yourself into having heart issues the dreaming process should be safer than 99% of your daily activities :(

I personally find thinking of pleasant things before bed helps me to have a more relaxed sleep. I find it as an escape. A way out of reality, out of pain.

Speaking of which I should be getting to bed soon myself lol.

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