afraid to sleep

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/7/2009 2:20 AM (GMT -7)   
hello everyone. for the past two or three weeks i have had a lot of trouble sleeping at night. not for lack of being tired, but for this overwhelming fear of never waking up. its very weird to me - i used to love to sleep and would go to bed around midnight every night, but now my brain will not allow me to sleep until the sun comes up (i have some irrational belief that if i wait until sunrise i won't die, or if i stop breathing my roommate will find me before i die). my anxiety causes me to feel as though i am not breathing deeply enough, and i constantly check my pulse to make sure my heart is still beating. these both are contributing to my sleeplessness i think. i'll close my eyes, attempt to relax and fall asleep, but my head is swimming with anxious thoughts. i'll think i will have fallen asleep for an hour or so, but it will only have been about fifteen minutes. then those anxious feelings we're all so familiar with start happening - sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, the rush of blood to the face. if anyone could recommend some tips i would really appreciate it. i'm attempting to deal with my symptoms naturally rather than taking meds, but i'm sure soon enough i will need to start anti anxiety ones. i think i would be too afraid to take sleep meds though - i took a nyquil the other day when i was sick, panicked, and was fighting to stay awake all night due to this ridiculous fear i have.

thanks so much everyone, even just for listening.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 11/7/2009 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   
You really need to get in with a therapist and discuss this issue. Your anxiety is going to stay in the out of control state unless you deal with this. Lack of sleep is a trigger for many. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Crohn's Disease for over 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
It's scary when you start making the same noises As your coffee maker.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1010
   Posted 11/8/2009 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Not sleeping is the worst! The more sleep you lose the worse you feel. Have you tried positive self talk and rationalizing with yourself? Sometimes I can get myself out of a panic cycle by picturing the worse case scenerio first and then looking into what the actual posibility of that happening is and how I would handle it if it did happen. That may sound counter productive, but it works for me. If you are fairly young, the possibility of just dying in your sleep is extremely rare. When we are going to die is totally out of our control anyways, and worrying about it will not change the situation one way or another. Concentrate on things that are in your control like living a healthy lifestyle and being proactive about your health by having regular check ups. I agree that counseling would be a good idea if you can't get yourself out of it and taking a sleep aid for a couple of nights does not mean that you will permanantly need meds. You have to get your body back into the right sleep cycle. When I don't sleep well for more than a couple of days I feel very out of whack physically and mentally. Hang in there.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 11/8/2009 8:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi langfoec!
Your post is exactly how I felt a few months ago.  I didn't sleep for about 2 weeks.  I was exhausted, but terrified to fall asleep for fear that something terrible would happen to me.  It's a vicious cycle which really stinks... the more you don't sleep, the worse anxiety can become.  Sleep deprivation is a B***H! 
I did a combination of things.  First was going back on Effexor which had helped me tremendously in the past.  It has been VERY helpful again.  Second, I started counseling which included alternative forms of therapy like tapping and imagery.  I also read a great book called The Panic Attack Workbook which was quite helpful. 
During the night when I would dose off for a few minutes and wake up in a terrible panic, I would go online to an anxiety chat room.  I cannot tell you how helpful that was!!!  I would do the tapping (tons of info online if you google it).  I also pulled out some relaxation tapes and often was able to get a little bit of sleep with my headphones on.
Best of luck to you!  I hope you get some well-deserved sleep very soon!

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 11/9/2009 6:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Not getting sleep can really drive you crazy, so I would not hesitate and go see a doctor. You have to find a way to get sleep as soon as possible, either with therapy or with medication. If things don't change, you will soon see which effects the sleeplessness has to your body.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/9/2009 6:54 AM (GMT -7)   
hi there
I can relate to this too. I actually look at my bed and have a pang of "oh no" It has become a place where I now associate bad things with. I have tried melatonin before. it helps me fall asleep but not stay asleep. I have bought some relaxation cd's that are just instrumental and try putting those in with a pillow speaker so only i can hear it in the middle of the night. I have been waking about 3am and I now just try to lay there and enjoy the sound of my husband's breathing next to me, being warm and knowing I have hours until I have to get out of bed. I lay there and try some basic relaxation techniques, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I really don't think there is a magic cure but I know if I don't sleep, I will eventually. I googled it and apparantely even just being able to rest in bed is good for your body too so try not to stress about sleep too much, this only adds to the problem. Sleep becomes an enemy. I just went to the doctor's and got some lorazapam which definatley helps !! Seems to konk me out for hours. Perhaps you should talk to your doctor about that option. Anything to get some rest.
I wish you a good night's sleep and peace of mind. Keep us posted as to how you are doing.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/10/2009 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 11/11/2009 7:55 AM (GMT -7)   



 I had this same fear when going to bed..that I wouldn't wake up. It was so irrational. But then again thats anxiety. But my therapist told me a really simple technique that helped me. She told me simple to stay up and not go to bed. She pointed out that I was using sleep as a measuring stick for my well being and by removing that barrier it would put less pressure on going to sleep and sure enough it worked.



Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 885
   Posted 11/14/2009 5:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Take this one for example and use it every day
A= Situation
Im at home trying to go to sleep
B=Thought or Belief
What if I dont wake up
Anxiety 80%
D=Changing your thought (ask yourself SO WHAT IF OR WHAT IS THE LIKLIHOOD)
so what if i dont wake up well i guess it really wont matter because i wont know
what is the liklihood that i wont wake up being Ok there is nothing wrong with me so i will wake up i will be fine this has never happened to me just breath and relax then start with your toes and tighten your muscle hold it for a minute and relax feel all the anxiety leave your muscle and do this all the way through your body all the way to your neck. try this exercise and while you are doing this make sure you are breahting with your stomach and not your chest. You will relax i promise.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/14/2009 6:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning, I hope things are going better for you. You have received some good advice here so please do let us know how your doing?


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