My anxiety and panic attacks at night are getting worse.
My stress is causing nightmares and it feels like this is just going to be my life now.
I can’t sleep because of my fear of waking up with a nocturnal panic attack.
Feeling scared and frustrated when I do fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, and jolted awake by yet another nocturnal panic attack.
I’ve seen you say before that you don’t need to be worried about nocturnal panic attacks coming back – well mine just will not go away.
It happens every night. I’m getting so little sleep I’m tired during the day and it’s affecting my job. I can’t afford to lose my job. Please help.
Eva’s response: Hi Ella, what a frustrating spiral to be on – my advice today will help you.
I’m sure you already know that the anxiety is fuelling your nocturnal panic attacks.
But it’s the fear of these panic attacks which is fuelling your anxiety, and in turn creating more panic attacks at night.
So you need to remove your fear of them. I understand that this can be hard, especially when you’re in such a state of anxiety and unable to catch the sleep you so desperately need.
But the truth is, nocturnal panic attacks are caused when your brain has been unable to let go of memories or past events. Your brain hasn’t been able to reconcile or learn the lessons that need to be learnt.
All a nocturnal panic attack is, is your brain’s way of processing stress. And once you know this, the knowledge is powerful.
The difference between a nightmare caused by anxiety, and a nocturnal panic attack is:
- Nightmares happen while you are asleep, and when you wake up they are over.
- Nocturnal panic attack is a bodily reaction that can happen when you are either awake or asleep. If you are asleep and wake up with a panic attack at night, it can take some time to calm down and for the panic attack to subside.
When my anxiety and panic attacks at night were at their worst, I would wake up with a start and often hallucinate about things like spiders falling from the roof or snakes coming up through the floor.
I would move and flail about in my sleep, often getting out of bed and racing for my bedroom door to try and escape. Usually, I would get to my bedroom door and wake up fully, calming myself and returning to bed.
Then I trained myself to turn on my bedside lamp when a nocturnal panic attack would hit. I think I reasoned with myself that, of spiders or snakes were in my room I would want a good look at them!
But switching on the lamp would bring light into the room and wake me up. So from that point on, I knew that I had the power to stop the nocturnal panic attacks.
And that stopped the fear of the nocturnal panic attacks.
For help with anxiety and panic attacks at night, download my Anxiety, worry and sleep guided meditation. It has helped hundreds of people achieve a peaceful night’s rest.
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