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Too Aware Of The Process Of Falling Asleep

by Dennis
(Amsterdam, Netherlands)

It's a very short story:

I often keep myself from falling asleep by being too aware of the process of falling asleep. I think it happens when I really want to fall asleep (which is often the case).

I guess I recognize 'that phase' where I almost fall asleep but that doesn't go into the next phase because I'm so aware of it. It even hurts in some strange way sometimes. Is there a way to avoid this?

Comments for Too Aware Of The Process Of Falling Asleep

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May 20, 2013
I know exactly what you mean NEW
by: Anonymous

I have that feeling too, where you're in that phase like.....ohhh going to sleep now, if I can just past this phase I'll be asleep. My brain does not shut down about many things when trying to sleep. Especially aware of your current state In bed. That's just causes anxiety and makes it worse for me

Jun 30, 2013
slipping asleep NEW
by: Anonymous

There is a certain point where your brain slips between half asleep and asleep, and I can feel that point. The conversion to sleep has made this fuzzy static sensation in my brain. It makes it hard to sleep because the sensation makes me wake up.

Sep 05, 2014
Same problem like me NEW
by: Anonymous

i know what you feel dude, i had same feeling experience every night just like you. and my way to avoid to keep me aware is with make my head busy with other thought and distract my mind without focus and worry about im sleeping or not. you cant sleep cause you focus on in, just relax and dont think about sleep anymore, and take it easy. i just set on my mindset "if i sleep, i sleep, if not... well, its ok."

Jun 28, 2015
Position and relaxation NEW
by: Anonymous

Listen, I'm not an expert for I only have these things sometimes under certain circumstances. These being:

Situation A; I lie on my side or back while thinking very clearly about stuff until getting to the state.
Situation B; I lie in same position when (!) taking a nap or knowing I need to wake shortly after. Usually when I'm aware I have no alarm set (meaning: when I'm very aware I have to wake up on time and can't oversleep).

So you can see these two situations have two things in common:
1. position (I'm never aware when I fall asleep lying chest down)
2. Thought process; meaning that I have things on my mind which I shouldn't forget or stay aware of, thus keeping my mind rather sharp even whilst falling asleep.

There are numerous people on the internet giving tips How To fall asleep aware. It may be simplest if you thus avoid these tips. And if you're not like me and don't easily fall into a coma as soon as your head hits your pillow you might want to ask the local pharmacy (or your doctor if you need a perscription) for some sleepig pills.

Even if I don't have this every night and only under circumstances I know it's not the most pleasant if not a downright scary experience, so I can only hope you've either already found a way of solving this or that my analysation is able to help you.

Anyway, good luck with it my fellow Amsterdammer ;)

Oct 23, 2015
Very aware NEW
by: Sophie

I've gone through the same thing like every night.. It makes me afraid to go to sleep because I don't like that sensation. What I found that helps me is the sleeping medicine ambein which makes you forget that kind of stuff. In the morning when you wake up you won't remember if you were hyper aware in that state. The only thing that I have found that helps with that

Jan 04, 2018
Give in NEW
by: Anonymous

So far I've had the same problem, but I realized, just give in.
Relax and daydream with your eyes closed when trying to sleep and it should help blend the process of falling asleep to dreaming.
I would often wake up when dreaming because I was aware I was dreaming therefore asleep.
In these cases sleep paralysis is most likely to happen.
If that does occur, just fall back asleep or concentrate on waking up trying to move your body.
Either works just fine.

Nov 07, 2018
Same here NEW
by: Anonymous

I had only experienced this once before and it was pure hell because I could not get to sleep and spent a couple of nights without being able to fall asleep. That feeling came back a day ago and I've gone two nights without sleeping. Its as I'm always checking if I'm asleep without me wanting to, as if my mind does it automatically. With it comes anxiety of not being able to sleep and stress. I've been very sleep deprived for the past two days. I thought I was the only that went through this but I'm glad I'm not.

Nov 29, 2018
Same problem here NEW
by: Anonymous

I have been experiencing this for the past few nights and it’s a horrendous feeling! It’s almost impossible to get to sleep when you’re aware it’s happening. It feels like my body is in a sleep state but my mind is still awake and i am fully aware that I am falling asleep and wake myself up because of the unpleasant awareness of the process. Its horrible because all you can think about is that you want to sleep and this actually prevents you from sleeping. So happy I found this forum and can see that other people are experiencing this!

Mar 27, 2019
This fits me to a tee.
by: Ed from Hebron NH

I Googled "hyper consciousness when trying to sleep" and got to this discussion which hits the nail on the head-- being hyper aware of trying to fall asleep and consequently not sleeping. I have tried Ambien and it works for awhile but becomes less effective with constant use. 2 nights ago I took 10mg and still only got a couple of hours sleep at best. The remedy "let your mind think about other things" doesn't work for me. I think all of us plagued by this problem try to think about other things when trying to fall asleep. But for me when thinking of other things I start to doze that's when i become hyper aware that I am falling asleep and consequently becoming alert and awake. It really sucks. Any additional suggestions on how to solve this problem greatly appreciated.

Apr 07, 2019
Me too but different mindset
by: Kris

I have been experiencing this for several years now. My brain won’t shut down and I have issues falling asleep so I actually love when it happens. I know the feeling is very creepy and a little freaky, but when it happens I can relax because I can make myself get there again and thats when sleep comes for me.

Apr 24, 2019
Feels like I'm dying NEW
by: Mark

When I catch myself falling asleep, my brain thinks I'm dying. It scares the crud out of me and I immediatly sit straight up, gasp for breath and my heart is pounding in my chest. It takes me about 30 mins to relax again. However, the entire time I'm thinking, what if it happens again ?

Apr 27, 2019
Answer NEW
by: Anonymous

This is entirely anxiety. Sleep is a gradual process that happens during a lengthy timespan, NOT all at once. There’s different stages of sleep, and pre-sleep (the phase where you are restless, tossing and turning, etc.) is the phase in which you are talking about. During this phase you are still thinking and processing the days events. You can’t recognize a "phase" as sleep doesn’t occur instantaneously but in a gradual manner. You don’t go from awake to asleep in moments. This is why you could be thinking about something one minute and awaken the next morning not realizing you drifted off. The next time you feel this way when you’re trying to go to sleep, open your eyes and you’ll realize you’re nowhere near being asleep. I’d be more worried if you’re feeling this way and find yourself unable to open your eyes (which is called sleep paralysis). If you can open your eyes, you’re still in pre-sleep so take comfort in that! Can’t actually catch the moment you fall asleep as sleep is gradual! Google this and you’ll see more scientific answers that state similar information.

Apr 30, 2019
Same boat NEW
by: Clarita

I'm in the exact same boat. We need to override our brain from doing this, I don't know how but it is very distressing. I've had to resort to taking sleep aid until I could see my therapist because it's gotten that bad. After taking the sleep aid I felt rested the next day, even had high hope and positive feelings. Not because I see it as a cure, not at all, but because I got some rest. That night I didn't have that sleep anxiety plague my mind, but I still couldn't drift past the awake/sleep mode.

Jun 20, 2019
Know when I'm about to fall asleep, fully aware n awake NEW
by: Anonymous

So is there a name for this ?? How do you fix it?

Jul 04, 2019
Too Aware Of The Process of Falling Asleep
by: Anonymous

This sounds like hyper-awareness OCD. This is very similar to somatic OCD where people become aware of bodily automatic functions like breathing or blinking and they cannot shift their awareness of them. So this sleeping fixation sounds like anxiety disorder, very much like OCD. Mind becomes aware of what it considers a danger. For some reason the act of falling asleep in this case is seen as danger (triggers anxiety) and the mind cannot shift and does not allow the brain to 'shut off'. It's like to expect to fall asleep while there is a lion in the room. The only logical way of resolving this problem is desensitization to the trigger. Some of the people do 'immediate desensitization' by taking a sedative pill but this does not resolve the problem. Most of the sedatives are addictive and they stop acting the same at the same dosage. The natural desensitization must occur. Then brain will do what it does best at night - to fall asleep, rest and repair the body without creating such anxiety thoughts.

Sep 05, 2020
Fighting my sleep
by: Anonymous

I have experienced this for the past three weeks and have seen a psychiatrist to help me sort out this problem , everytime i try to fall asleep its as though im aware that im dozing off and that makes me become awake and have anxiety after . Sometimes i feel this buzzing sensation all over my body too . My psychiatrist told me that this happens because of anxiety , so now dhe has prescribed me w an anti anxiolytic (lorazepam) and also an anti depressant (valdoxan) , im hoping these wud help w my sleeping problems , and btw did anyone find the solution to this problem ? If so , pls share it with us . xx

Nov 19, 2021
It’s like hell NEW
by: Amal

I have been going through this on and off for years. I can go months and be fine but then it’ll always creep back in. Falling asleep and then becoming super aware of it triggers me to wake up. It’s the worst. I pray, try to not walk in a spirit of fear, ask the holy spirit to fill me up. Sometimes it does help me see a bigger picture and other times (like last night) I didn’t sleep until 5am and had to call out of work. It can be extremely saddening because it effects your self esteem. Makes you feel stupid for not being able to sleep. Should be simple. The more you tell yourself to not think about something the less likely that’s going to happen. The obsession of it makes it worse. I am prescribed medicine but it doesn’t always help. Just hoping and praying I can love above it all.

Jan 11, 2022
I thought I was having a bad reaction to my meds NEW
by: Anonymous

I didnt know what it was at first. I've been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, so I've always kinda had trouble sleeping and even had sleep paralysis. It feels like I just started having this issue with being too aware of falling asleep. Couple months ago, I ended up going to the ER because I had this weird burning tingling sensation all over my body around 2am while falling asleep!I thought it was a bad reaction to my meds and started freaking out! But when I was at the ER, they told me I was just having a panic attack. Fast forward to today, around 2am again, I woke up in the middle of sleeping, and when I tried to go back to sleep,I had the exact same feeling and had to call the crisis hotline to calm down, and now I've been on and off sleeping every 2 hours. As soon as I'm about to fall asleep I get that weird tingling sensation and start to panic. I also feel kinda numb and like I'm floating? I think I'm afraid of having that whole experience at the ER again so my bodies preventing me from sleeping. I'm freaking exhausted, but I think it's my fight or flight mode keeping me awake. I'm not quite sure what to do. The crisis line told me to put some headphones in and listen to a meditation podcast or some calming music, open a window for fresh air, and drink water. It's been helping me calm down, but I'm still having a hard time falling asleep. I wish everyone else luck with this too, because this freaking sucks!!

Jan 11, 2022
Sleeping Better NEW
by: Anonymous

I've contributed to this thread before having experienced insomnia for years, i.e. too aware of the process of falling asleep. So, I wanted to report some good news.

I am now sleeping a good 7 to 8 hrs/night, falling asleep within about 20 minutes of getting into bed. This is what happened. A few years ago when suffering from acute insomnia, as little as an hour a sleep per 24 hr period. I sought mental health counciling and my pcp also got involved i was prescribed 50 mg a night of Trazadone on top of Ambien that was not working at all. After a while I settled on the Trazadone 50mg, and a tiny dose of Ambien 2.5mg (I'm not even sure this small dose is therapeutic, and may just be a placebo) and two Tylenol for arthritis. I started sleeping a little better

Then, about a year ago I started a meditation practice in earnest. Getting up to about 20 minutes to 1/2 hr. a day, not before sleep, but anytime of day. Developing a meditation practice wasn't easy for me, but after a while I started feeling the positive effects, not jus on sleep but other aspects of my life, so I made it a daily disciplijne.

I then got in the habit of watching mindless shows on my ipad after I got into bed and that combo of meds, meditation, and routine seemed to do the trick.

Now I have the same routine. I take the meds around 10 pm, read or watch tv to unwind. Then go to bed around 11:30, wake up once during the night to pee (I'm 74 yrs old), fall rigjht back to sleep and wake up between 7 and 8 am. Its the best i've ever slept.

I do not use alcohol, tobacco or street drugs.

Insomnia is monstrous so I hope this may help somebody and the best of luck to you all.

Sep 24, 2022
Nighttime Hell NEW
by: Anonymous

I've been dealing with this issue for almost two years and half. Sleep used to be the only thing I looked forward to and actually loved. Now I just dread bedtime almost every night. I think people who have gone through some major anxiety develop this issue. Normal people have it happen to them too at times, but they just ignore it basically and drift to sleep. Those of us who have experienced really terrible trauma or anxiety become too hyper aware of our emotional and bodily states, so when something does happen sets off major alarms. We don't want it happening again, so we end up focusing on it. Also, when we are anxious and tired and just can't sleep, we tend to focus on trying to sleep which makes your brain hyperaware when we do start to drift off.

Mar 09, 2023
Me too! NEW
by: Anonymous

I feel this way too! I am aware that I am almost asleep which wakes me fully up and I have to keep starting over. The feeling of drifting into sleep scares me and I feel like I am dying or something. I don't know how to make myself stop being aware of myself falling asleep.

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