It is time to sleep, after a day full of activity we just want to close our eyes and enjoy a pleasant dream; We go to our room, turn off the lights and go to bed. We are alone and we know that we are safe at home, however, our imagination begins to wander ... the shade of the curtain causes us strangeness, a cracking of any piece of furniture makes us jump and terror keeps us so alert that we confuse any stimulus with something threatening ... instead of being a pleasant moment, bedtime has become, for no real reason, a nightmare.
- 1 What is the phobia of sleeping alone?
- 2 Children and the phobia to sleep alone
- 3 Also in adults
- 4 How can we overcome the fear of sleeping alone?
What is the phobia of sleeping alone?
The phobia of sleeping alone is an extreme and irrational fear of sleeping without close company, in a lonely room or place. As with any other phobia, this fear is exaggerated, does not respond to realistic reasons and affects our daily functioning, since it makes us impossible and blocks us during feared situations, which we tend to avoid at all costs.
The phobia of sleeping alone is closely related to the Nichtophobia, an exaggerated and irrational fear of darkness and night. This makes people manifest Great anxiety during the night and avoid darkness.
We can all feel fear when we sleep alone in a room or residence, if we are not used to it. Darkness and silence can give wings to our imagination and cause us to worry for some moments about any detail, but when this fear becomes an extreme and irrational terror, despite even being sure that nothing can happen to us, it is when We talk about the phobia to sleep alone.
Children and the phobia to sleep alone
The fear of children sleeping alone and in the dark, It is one of the most common fears that children must face and what more concern it generates in parents. This fear can trigger great anxiety in children every time bedtime comes and can make the child insist on fulfilling certain rituals to avoid the situationLike sleeping with an adult nearby, leaving the light on and refusing to sleep away from the parents. This can influence sleep quality and the emotional well-being of both children and parents and guardians who fail to normalize the situation.
Often, discussing the child's fears rationally fails to dissuade them from the ideas that frighten them, since their fears are supported by an instinctive feeling, even if it is not reasonable.
Also in adults
The disproportionate fear of sleeping alone It is also common in adults. Although this fear may have dragged in since childhood, it may also have arisen in adulthood, often associated with other anxiety symptoms or even in isolation. A lived experience or something that we have heard or learned can make our imagination play tricks during the night and make our rational vision be blocked by fear and not allow us to calm down and be able to sleep in a pleasant way.
How can we overcome the fear of sleeping alone?
Fear of sleeping alone, as well as nymphophobia, can influence the quality of life by not allowing us to enjoy adequate rest; thus, unlike other phobias that we do not usually face frequently, this can be a real impediment to our normal daily functioning.
To treat this type of phobias and fears, it is very convenient to seek the help of a mental health professional with whom we can carry out different therapies. One of the most effective psychotherapies is exposure therapy, which is based primarily on facing the feared stimuli until they fail to evoke feelings of anxiety and panic.
The cognitive behavioral therapy It is also very effective in identifying distorted ideas and behavior patterns that cause us discomfort and thus replace them with more appropriate ones. In this case, it would be based on getting the person accept darkness and loneliness as normal and that doesn't have to have negative consequences. Other important exercises to overcome this fear are the relaxation and meditation to manage the stress caused by these situations.
To help children overcome this fear, we usually carry out actions such as accompanying them until they fall asleep, leaving the lights on or telling them that they are already older for these ideas. However, these acts, rather than deter their terror, can keep it since they don't get the child to face fear and normalize the situation. To achieve this, it is important that we show security, confidence and affection, as well as reinforce the child each time he manages to take another step towards his independence when sleeping. For example, we can flatter him when he has managed to remain a certain time alone in the room.