Thursday, December 29, 2011

Causes of Insomnia Part 2 Clinophobia The Fear of Going to Bed

Clinophobia (derived from the Greek “klinein” as to bend, slope or incline during sleep and “phobos” meaning fear) is an abnormal and persistent fear of going to bed. Unlike somniphobia the fear of going to sleep that is a symptom of an anxiety disorder usually caused by an apprehension about not being able to wake up or frightened of not being aware of what goes on around them as they sleep. Even though clinophobia sufferers realize that going to bed is normal and is not a threat to their well-being, they worry about having uncontrollable nightmares, not being able to fall asleep easy or wetting the bed. If they do fall asleep, they wake often and overtime this phobia causes insomnia.

[caption id="attachment_1712" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Your mind will not rest like gears in constant motion"][/caption]

Have you noticed the more they fear going to bed because they can’t fall asleep, the more sleep eludes them? They lie in bed tossing and turning unable to relax because they are constantly rehashing the day or dreading the day ahead. Life stressors that include family, friends, work, school, finances and illness can create great mental and physical tension. General unhappiness can be a powerful trigger as stress and nervous energy can make the mere thinking about going to sleep seem impossible. Clinophobia is not a symptom of a sleep disorder or medical problem it is often caused by a deeper issue and if not resolved their insomnia will eventually affect their daily lives.

Onset insomnia is classified as having difficulty falling to sleep at the beginning of the night. Essentially something is preventing them to from falling asleep, such as problems, stress, fear, anxiety, not sleepy, uncomfortable bed and/or an un-relaxing sleeping environment. Working on the cause or in this case the deeper issues of clinophobia should eventually allow the individual to fall asleep. One characteristic of onset insomnia is sleep phase syndrome where they fall asleep later and wake up later. If you have teenagers suffering from clinophobia they tend to fall asleep at 2am and have great difficulty waking up for school and focusing on their studies during the day. Trying to adhere to a strict sleep schedule and some physical activity during the day as this should reset their internal body clock so they are sleepy when they are supposed to go to bed, like 11pm. If their fear of going to bed is due to nightmares, afraid they will wet the bed or stressed over school, friends or bullies, you need to talk to your child as these underlying conditions can make going to bed a frightening experience. Often, people who have frequent nightmares will experiences dreams of falling, dying, or being humiliated. The biggest trigger for clinophobia is often the fear of dreams/nightmares such as these.

Symptoms of clinophobia can vary from individual to individual. Some people may experience minor symptoms like nausea, sweating or distress, while major symptoms may include paralyzing anxiety or panic attacks. Other symptoms may include; dry mouth, heart palpitations, numbness, heightened senses, breathlessness, dizziness, muscle tension, hyperventilation, trembling, rapid heartbeat, feeling they are out of control, feeling trapped and/or feelings of impending disaster.

[caption id="attachment_1713" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A child may fear going to bed because he believes there is a monster under his bed"][/caption]

The vast majority of cases of clinophobia are self-diagnosed by the individual or in case of a child usually by the parent. The individual realizes that their fear of going to bed is irrational and is causing them to develop insomnia which is affecting their daily lives. A family physician if consulted should rule out any other cause whether mental or physical before a proper diagnosis of clinophobia can be determined. After a complete assessment and evaluation and depending on the severity of the condition your doctor may recommend a therapist or specialist that treats phobias, support groups with others that are coping with clinophobia and/or other types of therapy including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy. If the case is minor he may offer self-help relaxation techniques such as breathing and visualization, if severe anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed.

Clinophobia is an intense, irrational fear of going to bed and sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely stop a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, clinophobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal and social life as well as hinder their work/school responsibilities. Untreated, clinophobia can cause insomnia that can impact a person’s mental and physical health.

The content provided in Causes of Insomnia Part 2 Clinophobia The Fear of Going to Bed is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.


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