Subconscious Insomnia

December 2014

subconscious insomnia

Could the reason you find it hard to sleep be sitting just below the surface of your consciousness? Perhaps, the idea that repressed fears are lurking, jolting you into wakefulness when you need to sleep may seem strange. However, it is possible that anything from the fear of not being able to sleep to concerns about safety are keeping you awake.

Your complex brain

Part of you might decide that it is sensible to sleep since doing so would be beneficial on certain levels, while another part of you disagrees. At such a time, discord arises and your fear center sets off its internal alarm system. If there are problems that concern you, it is likely that they will surface when you turn out the light, despite your good intentions to rest peacefully. However, those kinds of sleep-interruptions are not exactly below your consciousness since are you are aware of them. The type of worries that are not obvious stem from repressed thoughts that send signals to your brain saying, “stay awake! You cannot sleep until this concern has made a breakthrough.”

You can see a similar pattern occurring if a loud noise wakes you in the night. The reason your internal alarm is raised is because the noise is an unknown quantity. Your brain is designed to kick you into an alert state if there is a possibility of danger. The noise is seen as a potential threat that you need to check out before you can return to snoozing. No doubt, you would find out what the noise was and this would soothe your concerns as you recognized that there was no real jeopardy, and you could fall asleep once more.

A repressed fear is somewhat like an internal noise, a potential threat to your well-being. If there is something bothering you subconsciously, it can be difficult to sleep until you acknowledge that it exists. Your system might keep pressing your alarm until you look at what is going on.


The key to stopping your brain from making you alert is to acknowledge your concerns. Often, worries that keep you awake are not so far back in your subconscious that they cannot easily be reached. If they were safely tucked away, they probably would not stop you from sleeping.

If your mind is buzzing and you do not know why, a repressed fear is probably waiting to emerge. Furthermore, if you did not have the same experience the previous night, it is likely to stem from an event that happened in the day. Perhaps an old fear was triggered, or a new fear was created by an event that you failed to think about at the time. For example, an unexamined phone bill, inadvertently shoved in a drawer, might have triggered a subconscious fear surrounding financial concerns that need to be addressed. Acknowledging the concern by writing it on a to do list could help you sleep.

Sometimes, the repressed thought that is making you alert could stem from a fear of not sleeping. Such a scenario is likely to occur if you have recently had transient insomnia that stemmed from a known cause. The initial problem will have gone, but left you feeling afraid that if you continue to have insomnia, you will not be able to function well during the day. You can be so wrapped up in worrying about not being able to sleep that the idea becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Recognizing that the initial problem has passed and that this is the cause of your fears can be soothing, thus aiding sleep.

Subconscious insomnia is your brain’s way of alerting you to a potential threat to your happiness. Much of the time, the ‘threat’ is not really a cause for alarm, and simply recognizing what it is can set your mind at ease. At other times, understanding what ails your mind can be helpful since doing so forces you to address issues that you have been avoiding. When you acknowledge them and begin to make plans to find solutions, your fears subside and you can sleep.

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