- 1 What To Expect When Sleeping With Fear
- 2 What Is It About Fear That Prevents Our Sleeping?
- 3 5 Ways To Sleep Despite Fear
- 4 Our Final Thoughts
What To Expect When Sleeping With Fear
There are many reasons for us to be scared and not want to sleep. Sleep disorders like chronic nightmare and sleep apnea, anxiety over what will happen to you in the near future, and fear of safety of your health or your family are all good reasons for having trouble sleeping.
What Is It About Fear That Prevents Our Sleeping?
There are a number of reasons for us to be afraid before bed. We won’t list it out because the last thing we want is to cause you more problems. Whatever reason you have to be afraid, know that most fears, although contextually different and based on your circumstances, have the same biological state.
You have a human response known as the “fight-or-flight” system that kicks into gear when something is at stake. This response comes from your sympathetic nervous system which sends out chemicals such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, and histamine.
By jumping into this state of alertness, your sleep becomes impossible because you become physically ready to fight what threatens you or run away from it. People with overactive sympathetic nervous systems wake up throughout the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep.
Your brain also fires off electrical signals to prep you to be efficient and effective. Your heart will race, your muscles energized, your breathing shallow and fast. You will also discover the hundreds of thoughts racing through your mind as you constantly process information from your environment for every noise, light, and movement you sense (or think you sensed).
5 Ways To Sleep Despite Fear
Although we can’t solve all your fears and those fears won’t get any easier, what we can do is empower you in ways to help you sleep better when troubles are afoot. Here are 5 tips on how to sleep if you’re scared:
1. Breakdown Your Fears
Not knowing what’s lurking in the dark makes up 90% of the fear. Although it requires bravery to face, shining a light on what scares you help you understand what exactly is bubbling underneath the surface.
2. Come Up With A Plan to Resolve Your Fears
Your fears are not all made equal, which is precisely why we need to come up with a plan to tackle them. The fears won’t go away entirely, but knowing what to do next and what to expect can help ease the stress and anxiety caused by them.
3. Figure Out What Will Help You Sleep Easier At Night
Aside from planning for your fears, planning your bedtime routine is just as important. Establishing a good sleep hygiene practice is important because it helps communicate with your brain it’s time for bed.
Writing privately in your personal journal, for example, is a great way to sleep better. Dedicating a few minutes each night to a deep breathing session and blowing bubbles or taking a bubble bath can help you snooze through tough nights, too.
If you want more ways to sleep better at night, check out our guide on falling asleep when you’re not tired.
4. Avoid Climbing Into Bed Until You Are Better
Fear isn’t something easy to set aside, but bringing it into bed won’t help you much either. Sometimes, you need to give yourself a timeout and relax before you can truly sleep.
The problem with jumping into bed when you are afraid is that you develop a habit of troubled sleep after several nights. It’s difficult to sleep when you’re scared, but it can be easier if you spend some time dealing with the fears first, either by relaxing or by taking action.
5. Talk To Someone
It’s easy to get caught up with our thoughts and feelings, and become overwhelmed by them. Finding someone you trust to talk about the challenges you face will help not only shed light on your situation, but also help you understand and come up with solutions to better sleep.
If you have no one to talk to, a therapist might be worth the investment. They listen to your concerns and guide you through the process of coming up with solutions that work for you. Another benefit to talking to a therapist is that it’s a one-way talk so you don’t have to worry about them. This means you only need to focus on you and your problems.
Our Final Thoughts
Sleeping can be difficult, especially when we are afraid for ourselves or for someone we love. Even though we can’t make the fear go away, what we can do is take steps to help shine a light on what exactly is frightening us, see if we can do anything about it today, then help ourselves relax enough so we can get the sleep we need. We hope these tips will help you through the night. Sleep well!
- Scared to Sleep – WebMB
- Guided Meditations Audio Recordings – UCLA Health
- Medical Definition of Fear of Going To Bed – MedicineNet