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stephen82810 stephen82810

Sleep anxiety ruining my life. convinced i'll never sleep again.

It's been nine days now since I started having terrible insomnia. I feel my life has been ripped out from under me and I don't know where to turn. It started with one bad nights sleep nearly two weeks ago and now I'm not sleeping for one second during the night. The doctor has prescribed me citalopram for the horrible anxiety I'm experiencing all night. I also have sleeping tablets and Diazepam in the cupboard but I really don't want to take them. My big fear is ill never sleep again. Every one keeps telling me that I'll eventually fall asleep but after another night of absolutely no sleep I've convinced myself that something has happened to me and I WILL never sleep again. I've never used a forum before but I guess I'm kindling kind of reaching out to anyone who has had a similar problem or thought pattern. I have very thing going for me in life with great kids and a good job but it all seems over now as I'm convinced my total lack of sleep will ruin everything.  Is it possible to never sleep again? Someone please help!

65 Replies

  • steve 44408 steve 44408 stephen82810

    Hi Stephen, 'My big fear is I'll never sleep again' - that is the classic hole that us insomniacs fall down. I know where you are, I've been there and its horrible as you say. I think you're doing the right thing by avoiding sleeping pills if you can. I would recommend a book called The Effortless Sleep Method by Sasha Stephens - you can find it on Amazon. It helps to restore your belief that you can sleep naturally again.

  • franlove franlove stephen82810

    Dear stephen82810  ,  So sorry to read about your dilemma . Are you able to sleep during the day ?  A person cannot survive without sleep ,  so you will have to get some needed sleep ASAP . I have never heard of someone experiencing 9 days of no sleep , so if you truly have not had one second of sleep  ion nearly 2 weeks , go to the Hospital Emergency  Dept now & tell  the physician & ask for help .  I have sleeping / waking difficulties  & it's dangerous to  walk around in a state of not being fully awake & aware .  Your sleep will come ,  this is temporary . You need to believe that  you will be helped & also believe that this is temporary  & that will be your 1st step to get there !  Blessings ~

    • stephen82810 stephen82810 franlove


      I have slept in the past 9 days but I can only sleep by taking sleeping tablets. I'm so scared I won't get over this. It's all I think about all day long. I have a total panic attack and breakdown when I try to close my eyes at night. I know I should think rationally and believe this is temporary and a product of my worry not an actual problem but the panic attacks and stress is taking over me. I have been referee for CBT but the waiting list is quite long. I don't want to rely on medication to sleep but there's no way I can sleep with a constant adrenaline rush going through me because of the panic.  It's a horrible catch 22 position I've found my self in wanting sleep so badly but the act of doing that prevents it. I'm a logical person and understand this but it keeps on happening even night and scares the he'll out of me. I just want it to stop and feel so alone even though I do have he support of my family.

    • vicki60207 vicki60207 stephen82810

      Hi I'm suffering with anxiety after a lot of stress has accumulated and I had a night last night where I may have got an hours sleep if that and now I'm so

      Anxious tonight at the thought of sleep again. I have walked the dog then chilled on sofa til kids came home, tried hot bath tonight good glass wine and hoping to sleep tonight but I'm so so worried I will be up all

      Night again and go mad!! Is yours sorted now

  • jamesbrown jamesbrown stephen82810

    Hi Stephen, I have had sleep problems for most of my life, I can identify just what you are going through at present. I know, in my case it's the anxiety and fear of not being able to sleep, actually stops me from sleeping. I get so anxious about it all that I have been known to cancel holidays (all tickets bought before, so lost the money for those) and days out, because I hadn't been able to sleep the night before I am due to go away!

  • jamesbrown jamesbrown stephen82810

    Sorry Stephen posted too soon............anyway to get back to your sleep problem, I wish I knew the answer too. I just wanted to assure you that you are not alone with this fear. I do frequently take Sleeping pills, have done for years. Now I have a Audio Tapes and headphones whichI listen to every night.Its got to be a boring story which I have heard several times, but as long as it's something I have listened to frequently, so don't need to concentrate too hard, this monotonous story actually helps me to drop off.I have tried Paul McKennas tapes but an ordinary comforting story has the same effect. I actually drop off and the tape is still running.As I said, in my case it's anxiety about not bring able to sleep is the problem, it could be yours! I find, if I have one bad night, it seems to spiral into a bit of panic!, as long as I can sleep for a few hours each night I don't worry quite so much. As I said, i know this advice doesn't help much, but there are many of us who suffer like this I'm sure, and you will be ok,I am proof of that, once you break that spiral and sleep a bit you won't worry so much, believe me!!

  • jamesbrown jamesbrown stephen82810

    Just had another thought Stephen, you say you have some sleeping tablets from your Dr I assume. Why don't you try them for a night or two only, just to get you out of the spriral of not sleeping so to speak, this may do the trick for you. Here's wishing you well.

  • sapphireN sapphireN stephen82810

    Hi Stephen,   Sorry to hear your story which mirrors my own and hope you don't mind me adding what happened so you don't make the same mistake I did.   Over period of 2 weeks I hardly slept and was so exhausted I was admitted to hospital and doped up for several nights with strong sleeping pills. Had wonderful sleeps but alas I fell into the trap of staying on smalller doses adviced by a doctor who said they were not addictive and due to the pressure of my job I needed them.  I gave up the job 6 months later and realised I could not sleep without them.  I asked for help to go through withdrawal but no help was around at that time.  I only relating this to you as if I could turn back  time, I would have been asking more questions but I would say to you to be reluctant  about the sleeping pills  though a few week on them  wont harm you but get help to find out how to manage your fears of not sleeping.  That is the main and probably biggest reason we suffer from this dreadful problem.   I now still  take pills but I go to bed at 9 pm and just lie there and tell myself I needn't have any sleep for an hour or so and on most nights I will just drop off and have some natural sleep.  I am sure you will get over this given time and help.  Good luck

  • debbie68081 debbie68081 stephen82810

    Hi Stephen, I am suffering the same at the moment,  how are you know and what has helped you get through this,  I am scared feeling like this witch brings on the non sleeping.  I had it three years ago and when I went back to the doctor he sai she couldn't up my medication because I was already on the highest dose so changed my tablets.  Since changing I feel worse.  I have got worse.  The doctor wants to get in touch with the mental health team and I said I ain't mad.  He said he feels they will be able to help me more.  Look forward to your reply ....... Debbie

    • yolanda56871 yolanda56871 debbie68081

      Hello Debbie i know this is a post from 3 years ago but i was wondering how were you doing? I developed a fear of not sleeping since 2014. Im just so scared of staying up days without no sleep. I can't help it but feel fear. When i go To sleep it's like I'm drifting off and suddenly my mind turns a light switch and says No no..How did things work out for you?

    • angela91414 angela91414 yolanda56871

      Hi Yolanda

      How are you doing now? Have your sleep problems resolved. Your post mirrors exactly the way I am. I can't sleep ( not at all last night)!and so scared to go to bed tonight as I'm convinced I won't sleep again.  Like you I feel I am going to drop off and suddenly it's as if I jolt awake again. So scared I won't sleep ever again and all my organs will fail. Just can't go on like this. I don't want to take sleeping tablets and my GP doesn't like giving them out. I have bought Nytol over the counter but even they don't work. I'm even tempted to double them up as I get so desperate but I haven't  It's horrid feeling like this and my husband tries to be supportive but he's asleep as soon as his head touches the pillow. Have you resolved your sleep problem? 

      Best wishes.   Angie

    • jason59749 jason59749 angela91414

      hi Angela how are you? have you got any sleep yet? I've been suffering from chronic insomnia now for nearly two and a half years from a old job no matter what i do I can't sleep go 4 nights without sleep or very light sleep I've tried CBT hypnosis mind fullness yoga classes 5 different tablets the linden method im stuck on what to do have ptsd

    • angela91414 angela91414 jason59749


      Sleep still as bad as ever despite trying everything under the sun! Like you I go for days with no sleep and feel so disorientated and awful the next day. Thank goodness I only work part time as I just can't cope with early mornings! Half my problem is I start worrying about not being able to sleep long before I go to bed. Fatal!!! Sometimes Nytol works (not the herbal type) and more often they don't. I mentioned to the Dr I was at the end of my tether and his response was that no one ever died from lack of sleep (he obviously doesn't have a problem so doesn't know what it feels like!) Other than give in and take prescribed sleeping tablets what else is there to do. I can only describe the feeling as having massive jet lag  the whole time. I do hope you get some sleep soon Jason  I can assure you that you are no alone.

      Best wishes. Angie

    • jason59749 jason59749 angela91414

      I've tried hypnosis mind fullness yoga classes sleep tea getting up if I can't sleep sleep restriction relaxation hot baths exercise CBT sleep course phycopherapy tablets 5 diff ones relaxing music at night trying this linden method now but it's hard for me to do with lack of sleep my body feels really bad

    • tim81749 tim81749 jason59749

      Hello. I'm contributing here to try to help. For 48 and a half years I never had a problem sleeping. Then a really stressful event happened and I couldn't sleep for 2 weeks. I saw gp's. Temazepam was only temporary help. I was then put on amytryptaline then sertraline for the anxiety and quietiapine for sleep. This was in mid 2015. This also only helped temporarily. My sleep was still a lottery every night and I felt I was stuck in a hole and I couldn't pull myself out. It was all I could think about. It consumed my life.

      I then started daily meditation in mid 2016. It took time to start to work, but through a period of self realisations through meditation and the ensuing mindfulness I realised that the problem all along was my ego and need to control.

      You can't control sleep. We don't have on/off switches. Once my sleep was threatened, I tried to control it. I couldn't control it. This freaked out my ego and resulted in a lot of anxiety. You can't sleep with anxiety no matter how tired you are. My ego was beaten, hence the anxiety.

      Once I eventually realised this, I stopped all efforts to control sleep when I go to bed. Only go to bed when I'm tired, do a bit of meditation and then get comfy in bed and make no effort to control sleep.

      I stopped taking anti-depressants or sleeping tablets in mid 2017 and life is great. The funny thing is I'm glad it all happened now because I'm a much happier, more balanced person because of all of this, I only wish I came to this realisation much quicker then I did.

      I really hope this helps as I know how awful you all feel and how hard it makes your life. I cannot recommend daily meditation enough. It was the key for me. I've included an excellent starting place link here. I sincerely wish you all the best inthe knowledge that you can get past this and get your life back.

      Moderator comment: I have removed the link(s) directing to site(s) unsuitable for inclusion in the forums. If users want this information please use the Private Message service to request the details.

    • amanda66718 amanda66718 jason59749

      Hi , first time I’ve ever wrote on a forum, getting completely desperate for sleep. Been prescribed sertraline to help with anxiety but only day 5 and anxiety is at it’s worse, have had diazepam and zoplecome which has worked 2 out of 5 nights . Getting so anxious about going to bed as dr won’t give me any more sleeping tablets. Did any one here manage to conqour sleep anxiety ? Any suggestions welcome 

    • tim81749 tim81749 amanda66718


      When starting to take sertraline for the first time your anxiety will get worse before it gets better. That happened to me and others I know. I know it's a very tough thing to go through. Your doctor is also doing the right thing by trying to restrict your sleeping tablet intake in the hope you don't end up depending on them because in the long term, they don't work. They are a slippery slope.

      I wrote a post above yours regarding meditation being the key for me to get on top of it. Without it I'd still be on sertraline and occasionally quitiapine. Daily meditation takes time for the benefits to take effect. It's not an immediate silver bullet. The hard fact is, there isn't one for this.

      I strongly suggest checking out Eckhart Tolle and Mooji on youtube. They have some great stuff on there that helped me immensely. Accepting you have anxiety and even welcoming it when it comes is a big step rather than living in fear of it and trying to run from it or fight it when it comes. I tried to run from it and fight it for almost 2 yrs. It doesn't work. Accepting it and welcoming it may sound nuts at the point you're at now but for me, it was the largest breakthrough moment.

      I wish you and everybody else on here going through it all the best because I know how crap it is but I also know you can get on top of it and not require pills in the end to do it. It will take time though.

      I can give you particular youtube links that I found pivotal for my recovery but I can't post them on here . It's against the rules. Send me a private message and I'd be happy to send them to you.

    • dominic04584 dominic04584 tim81749

      Hi Tim.,

      I am 47 and had exactly same experience as you. Slept well up to 40 odd years then bad experience and life has changed with my sleep. On same drugs as yourself but I do not think it's the solution. If I change my mind the worrying of getting to sleep will change. I have months that is ok than issue comes up the worrying sets in then I am struggling again. Doctors let's increase medication but need to change my mind. Any tips.

    • tim81749 tim81749 dominic04584


      As I said above, daily meditation was the fix for me. It takes time, but it is what has worked for me. I've been off the pills now for about 5 months and all is well. I have no doubt you can get there to.

      All the self help I needed was on youtube funnily enough. Check out the videos by Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. I found them the most helpful.

      All the best.

    • craig55939 craig55939 Ms.envy1984

      Hi mrs envy I like others have found some peace in meditation. Look up anxiety sleep meditation. Also a app called head space. The thing about anxiety is you learn to cope with it. I honestly don't think there's a cure. I've spent a abundant amount of money on counseling, trials, hypnosis, homeopathic and self help. Sure it felt better but sometimes it just came back. I guess it depends on experience and how long you denied it. Mine was health related and formed into social etc. The best thing I've find so far is a trial increasing serotonin levels by using a drug called topimrimate or dopamax. Once again not a cure but i react faster and cognitive thinking seems clearer during episodes. I truly think Like i said for every train there is a passenger. But by far support groups and forums are very helpful.

  • debbie68081 debbie68081 stephen82810

    Hi Stephen, I also suffer from not been able to sleep.  I have been on and off like this for years.  I also get anxious when it's time for bed which starts me off in getting realy anxious,  I feel so tired because like yourself have had no sleep for days.  I shut my eyes and it's like my brain says open your eyes you ain't sleeping.  I shut my eyes and try to think of nice things like my children and holidays but all I see is people I don't know or silly things.  I went to my doctor in September saying I'm waking up a lot in the night and felt tight feeling in my stomach.  He said that the tablets I had been on for three years was the highest foes he could give me so changed it sertraline.  They started me on 100mg and then after a month uped it to 150mg, as time went on I got worse and worse to the point of a month ago I was at my worst.  Couldn't understand why I was getting worse by the day I wasn't like this when I went to see him in September.  He also a month ago when I worse at my worst said to me I don't think the new tablets are agreeing with you, I said can that happen then, he said not every tablet agrees with everyone.  He prescribed me 5mg of diazepam that I could take up to three times a day when I felt anxious and then put me on  venalfaxine 37.5mg.  I couldn't believe how I felt taking the diazepam that night I felt NORMAL.  And I even went to bed that night not feeling anxious and even slept for the first time in weeks.  After a few days I only took them of a night and I have felt great now for the  last two weeks and don't take any diazepam at all. Only my venlafazine of a morning and I hall felt normal todate.  I have also been seeing a hypnotherapist for the last two weeks to try and get to the bottom of my sleeping fear.   After the first section I felt so calm when I walked out.  It is the worse feeling ever when you think why is this happening to me and that your the only person in the world that this is happening to.  I cannot believe how I'm feeling right now, didn't think I would get through this again.  But I must say I still worry  of a night that I'm not going to sleep but at least I'm getting about six or seven hours of sleep, but I'm still waking up during them hours but don't seem to be panicking and turn over and go back to sleep.  You will get there Stephen and if you need anyone to talk to just drop me a line.  Good luck, if I have pulled through you can to.   Oh speak to your doctor about changing your tablets it might be them that isn't helping and a few days of diazepam .  Regards DebbieDebbie

    • joe40068 joe40068 debbie68081

      Hey Debbie I'm excpiremcing the same exact thing right now it's freaking me out I try to doze off and not think about anything bit I end up seeing people or Weird situations as in I had one right now where I seen headlights of car ? Weird ? It's freaking me out thinking I have a brain tumor or temporal lobe seizures ? I've been having Anxiety about a brain tumor lately and its killing my Body help please I'm 17 year old male 

  • Guest Guest stephen82810

    Hi Stephen,

    Ok, lets get this straight..first things first. Can i be the one to tell you that you "WILL" sleep again, and like Fran said, you will need some good sleep soon, and if you only manage to sleep a little, thats fine for now.

    We need to strip everything back down to the bone and reflect on the reasons your issue has taken forefront. You need to sit and concentrate on all the things that are running through your mind (Forget the sleeping for now, that will come later, and it will be better) Now i know you are probably thinking "Why would i want to sit and think of all the things that keep me awake?" But trust me, i know its a confliction of interest but IT WILL HELP YOU. (Dont do it now but let me know the following first)

    Who have you got with you that you are able to talk with as this also is important, who is there with you all the time?

    JamesBrown outlined a good point in using "relax" tapes, and to use ones that you know off by heart and if you are soothed by reasurrance then the book: The Effortless Sleep Method by Sasha Stephens that David-7719 recommends is a good choice.

    But for now, for me you have someone with you & What do you do for your job, sorry about the questions but its handy to know and its lovely to share

    Chin up Stephen, you will be good soon - let us know on the above, and ill help you.

    Many thank & Talk soon : )


  • beatriz 85888 beatriz 85888 stephen82810

    Hi Stephen . I am passing through the same now. For 5 days I can't sleep good. Same thing as you... I just had 1 bad night sleep, and all the others nights also. Just because Iay in bed already tense, afraid of don't sleep and I don't go to deeply sleep good. I am so frustrated! Is just the anxiety and fear of don't sleep, that makes me unable to sleep. And I have no idea why I dream when I am trying sleep...whatever I don't know what is going on. I wake up so tired... And I don't sleep in the day because I like to sleep in the night! And try fix it...yeah, almost 6 nights in this suffer... I don't take any sleep aid, nothing. How are you feeling now? How you get better? I am so afraid of never sleep again! Because my nights is actually with my eyes closed, worried with this about fall, then I don't see the hours passing, then I open my eyes sundely (many times in the night) then I feel as I didn't sleep nothing yet, then I get so p*ssed off, but I remember my how this is possible?? I have been in gym 2 days followed and nothing sleep! Is so frustrating. Sorry to write alot. Is my frustration talking.

  • allenwoll allenwoll stephen82810

    My wife and I both have sleep problems -- but we are elderly and it is common there.


    Pills may do more damage than good. . She has been using Zolpidem for years but mixed it the other night with Alprazolam, walked in her sleep, had hallucinations, tripped over the furniture and MAY have damaged a bone -- She has nasty bruises.


    I tried Zolpidem once years ago, sleep walked, fell, nearly killed myself with that, got a REALLY nasty bruise on my forehead, bumped into her, bruising her, strained her neck and woke up in a hospital. . Yuck on pills.


    I can NOT drink milk anymore, but if I could, I would rely on good old hot milk like I used too ! . Lack of milk makes me really skinny.

  • robert29521 robert29521 stephen82810

    Hello Stephen,

    I've had the same problem in varying degrees for most of my life. I feel such a problem is merely the manifestation of some other psychological condition / event lying deep in our subconscious. The fear of not sleeping is just one way the condition expresses itself. Ideally it would be nice to root out / expose this underlying cause but failing this I agree with many of the suggestions posted below - they may not address the fundamental reasons but they can help in varying degrees. What I do at the moment is go to bed at my usual time of around 11 or 12. I either do the relaxation exercises (letting each part of the body 'go dead' from the head down, whilst breathing deeply and slowly. For a little while it may be difficult because we are allowing all 'the muck' inside us come out, be felt, then eradicated.Do not try to control or suppress any of these feelings or emotions - let them happen as you cover each part of the body. Do not hope or pray this will work - just tell yourself you really don't care if it works or not - you have casully decided to do it anyway. I feel it's important to keep telling yourself that 'tonight I don't really care if I sleep or not' - I'm just here to relax. You cannot control the fear of not sleeping but to some extent you can simply dismiss it, by saying 'I really don't care if I don't sleep anyway'.

    After doing this I will read a book, and will tell myself I'm happy to keep reading for 1-2 hours. If you then begin to feel tired you may then try to sleep 'without trying to sleep' - just let your body take over, all the time 'not caring whether you sleep or not'. You can also say to yourself "I am now going to go into just a drowsy 'half- sleep' - allowing whatever is in your mind just to be the way it happens, thoughts, maybe, 'semi-dreams' etc - all the time telling yourself 'I will be fine with just this tomorrow'.

    There is the possibility now you may drift off to sleep naturally. If I find myself wide await after all of this, and there are about 3-5 more hours left till I get up, it's at this time I take a stilnox (other names for same tablet: Sopiderm, Zolpigen, Ambian etc) which have been one of the few sleeping tablets that has worked for me. Most sleeping tablets make you more sleepy without getting rid of anxiety, the thing which keeps you awake. But this tablet initially at least 'takes away the feeling that I need to sleep'. I have found it similar in effect than valium, but actually better. As noted in other comments, there have been some unusual side effects - such as people getting out of bed and doing things which they have forgotten all about the next day. It is important not to drink alcohol with them.

    In combination with the earlier mind / body exercises, some reading and changes in your belief patterns about the urgency of sleeping that night, the Stilnox / Zolpigen will definitely assist. If you do have side effects with Zolpigen, try valium for a few nights.

    I do not suggest the tablets are a long term solution, but in the short term they may restore your faith in sleep, give you confidence and reduce crippling anxiety whilst you seek professional help.

    There is also the possibility that you will find yourself beginning to sleep long enough through the other methods so that you can gradually reduce / dismiss the medicinal back-up.

    Regards (ps now I am off to bed and hopefully I'll follow my own suggestions)


    - and thanks for all those respondents who mentioned the book by 'Sasha Stephens' - I shall definitely get a copy.

  • lola1081 lola1081 stephen82810

    You are not alone, am only 18 years old and its been 2 months i've been sleeping maybe 4 or 5 sometimes nothing and sometimes even 2 or 3! It scares me, it terrifies me to death! And my anxiety is horrible too! I'm recently on Sertraline one of the newest anti-depressants. And I have notice a difference from day 1. They have helped but I still freak some days more than other and I can even cry when am in bed. I truely know what you're going through. Am drinking Chamomile tea and another relaxant sleeping tea, along with melatonin of 3 mg and even take 2 of those. I have times where my eyes even burn and am yawning so much and I still cant sleep cause I start freaking out and my anxiety goes over the roof and I think i'ma stay like this forever. But I know am not and you won't either. There's tons of help out there, along with the book everyone is mentioning of Sasha Stephens. If you said you were referred to a CBT they will help you extremely well cause their focus is all on making you sleep better without fearing it. Everything takes time. We are both in the same boat. But all I do is hope when I finally see my psychiatrist they refer to a sleep study and a CBT like you. Well hope the best for you ! Hang in there! We can do it! Remember always you're NOT alone!😊


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