Hypnophobia


Definition - What does Hypnophobia mean?

Hypnophobia is a persistent and abnormal fear of sleep or hypnotism that is believed to stem from the unconscious mind of an individual where an external stimulus (i.e., a traumatic event) can disrupt otherwise normal biorhythms. Although the causal factor for hypnophobia is relatively unknown, medical evidence suggests that an individual’s emotional state contributes to wakefulness against a perceived danger or threat that interferes with sleep patterns.

WorkplaceTesting explains Hypnophobia

Hypnophobia is a common condition for many individuals that can undermine the quality of life where abnormal fear of sleeping impacts personal obligations and job performance. People can experience variable symptoms including shortness of breath, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), nausea, and rapid breathing episodes. Moreover, sleep deprivation can also induce cognitive impairments where primary functions of alertness, concentration, and memory retention are essential in the workplace.

In many cases, hypnophobia is symptomatic of an underlying anxiety disorder requiring diagnosis by a doctor to determine the proper course of treatment. Depending on its severity, a physician may employ distinct therapeutic interventions including prescription medication to mitigate anxiety in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions to cope with an unreasonable fear of sleeping. In medicine, CBT techniques can help patients realign positive emotions with sleep with the goal of neutralizing repeated occurrences of hypnophobia.

In the workplace, hypnophobia can lead to significant sleep deprivation in which an employee’s capacity to manipulate technical equipment or operate heavy machinery is compromised. Individuals with erratic or overnight work schedules are especially susceptible to poor job performance that can pose liabilities for employers. A consultation with a physician can help individuals combat hypnophobia, in turn, promoting healthy sleep patterns conducive to their personal and professional lives.

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