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A Phobia of Sleeplessness
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2004


About one year ago, I developed an anxiety/phobia about sleeplessness...worried that I would wake up and not be able to go back to sleep. Since then, I have received counseling that has helped me deal with some of the reasons I latched on to this negative thought (and some strategies to deal with it; redirecting my thoughts, relaxation techniques, etc).

I thought I was over it, however, this last week I've had a relapse and pretty much freaked out a couple of nights, worried I wouldn't sleep a wink. I ended up popping a sleeping pill and went to sleep. I am beginning to obsess again about my sleeping patterns, frightened about the prospect of not getting enough sleep to function. Have you ever heard of someone with a sleeplessness phobia? Is there anything I can do other than the strategies I am already implementing?



Dear Sleepless,

The first thing is to stop the negative talk. You get carried away obsessing about it to the point that now you are having anxiety. You definitely are not relaxing at this point. To stop it, don’t let the thoughts stay. Instead, concentrate on something else. Music therapy has helped many; it could help you. There are many relaxation tapes and CD’s on the market. Almost any store that carries CD music usually have relaxation music and they are usually cheap! They usually contain quiet nature’s sounds. One of the better known is "Handle’s Water Music."

Here is your homework:

  1. Buy some relaxation music.
  2. Use Positive Affirmations morning and night (before bed-time).
  3. Do not get yourself worked up over work, relationships, or other situations, before bedtime. Do not watch anxiety-promoting movies before bedtime. Some of these would be suspense, horror, or movies that remind you of un-dealt with problems in your life.
  4. Get the temperature in your room slightly cooler that what you like it for daily living. Studies show that the body can relax better in a cooler room.
  5. Go to sleep at the same time. Your circadian clock (the one your body runs off) expects to sleep at the same time or it gets all mixed up. That is why people have so much trouble with jet lag. They get their sleep times all mixed up.
  6. Wear comfortable, roomy bed clothing. Constricting clothing will only add to your sleeplessness.
  7. If your mattress is not comfortable, get one that is.
  8. Use a pillow that fits the contour of your neck.
  9. Invest in a body pillow to remove pressure on your legs.
  10. This is a big one… Pray for help!  You are trying to work things out, so you are doing your part. Now, ask the Lord for help. The Lord can and does help people with insomnia problems, but you have to ask to get any help. So ask!
  11. Put on the relaxation tape or CD.
  12. Do your relaxation exercises. If it is a complicated one, use a simpler version.
  13. Picture your favorite, safe place, in your mind. For example, your safe place may be a forested area. Relax and picture the forest around you. Feel the coolness of the forest and smell the smells of pines. Now, incorporate the music sounds into your safe place. Let the visual of this place drift from your mind as you listen deeply to the sounds. Do not over think this, just be there, relaxed, and breathing slowly, until you are not aware of your surroundings; real or otherwise. Rather you are lighter than air, almost body-less, soaking in the sounds. Do not force this. It should be effortless, like floating. Let yourself go and you will fall asleep without even thinking about it. The big thing is …do not think at all!
  14. You may even want to reprogram your negative thought. This can be done in relaxation sessions during the day, when you have time.
    • See: Reprogramming Subconscious Negative Thoughts -
    • Try not to use the sleeping pills as much as possible. They are not for long-term usage, so you need to get your mind into positive thinking instead of negative.
    • There are other things that make you sleepless
  15. Forgive others, completely, whether you believe they merit forgiving or not!
  16. Change things in your life that you do not like about yourself. You have to be able to live with yourself. You sleep a lot better when you like yourself.
  17. Make good decisions!
  18. Keep balance in your life.
  19. Understand what causes stress and when your body is signaling you are stressed.

When you do your homework, you should not only get your sleep, but also like who you are and live healthier, both mentally, emotionally, and physically. This homework is an assignment for life, but it’s worth the effort.

How To Get Your Child To Do What You Ask How To Get Your Child To Do What You Ask
by Annette Nay, PhD

Dr Nay's eBook is an informative parenting tool every parent should have to make the job of parenting easier and more effective.
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