Do you have trouble sleeping?
Perhaps you toss and turn for hours before being able to drop off? Or maybe you wake up and can’t get back to sleep. According to a report published by Aviva at the end of 2017 as many as 31% of adults in the UK (that’s around a whopping 16 million of us) suffer from sleepless nights. Knowing that you are not alone probably isn’t any comfort, but there are some easy and practical ways to improve both the quantity and/or the quality of your zzz’s. But first….
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is crucial, as without it you would die. That’s right – it’s been found that without sleep rats will die within two to three weeks, which is exactly how long they would take to die if they were suffering from starvation.
While we sleep our bodies and minds are doing amazing things. And being sleep deprived is just as dangerous if you are driving as being over the limit.
While a good night’s sleep improves your ability to learn and allows you to focus, make better decisions and be creative, lack of sleep means you’ll struggle to solve problems, control your emotions and cope with change. You’ll also be more prone to mood swings, become frustrated more easily, and find it difficult to get motivated.
Experts recommend an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Children of course need a lot more, and as you get older you may find the amount of sleep you need reduces. However people’s sleep requirements vary a lot – what’s important is ‘are you getting enough sleep for you to function optimally’?
Hypnotherapy to help you sleep
Most of us have trouble sleeping at some time in our lives and this can be caused by a variety of things or circumstances. Things like excessive noise, an uncomfortable bed, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, or sleeping in a room that’s too hot, or too cold, can lead to the odd sleepless night. These are usually short-lived, but there are 3 major causes of insomnia that can be much more severe and longer-lasting. These are anxiety, stress and depression.
When worries, nervousness, or a feeling of unease occupies your mind this makes relaxation difficult. You may find that you can’t switch off and get to sleep, even when you feel exhausted. Your mind races to think about past events and worry about what’s going to happen in the future, and you may become overwhelmed by it all, feel tense, and find yourself unable to calm down and the cycle just goes around and around. This can make it almost impossible to get to sleep and can also cause you to wake up during the night.
Like anxiety, serious stress can cause insomnia. If you’re under a lot of stress, you might find it
difficult to switch off the outside world, to turn off your thoughts and relax. And if you do manage to get to sleep, excess stress could mean you’ll have trouble staying asleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, a condition where your brain is constantly on high alert. Since it can’t settle down properly, getting to sleep can seem nearly impossible. When stress is the leading cause of insomnia, the solution is a simple one. Get rid of the stress, and you’ll get rid of the insomnia. But with our complex and demanding lives getting rid of the stress entirely may not be possible so then you need to find a way to manage the stress so that it stops interfering with your sleep cycle. Hypnotherapy can help with this.
Depression makes you feel like you’ve got no energy, like you’re not interested in anything. Getting motivated is a real challenge because you’re battling against feelings of hopelessness and despair. And those feelings don’t magically evaporate just because it’s time to go to bed.
According to research carried out at one American university, insomnia and depression “often go hand-in-hand.” Almost 80% of people with depression struggle to get to sleep or to stay asleep. It used to be thought that insomnia was just a symptom of depression, while the latest thinking views them as overlapping disorders that need to be treated simultaneously.
If you’re suffering from an extended period of poor sleep, hypnotherapy may be able to help you.
Hypnosis is a trance-like state during which you experience deep relaxation, focused attention, and greater openness to suggestion. It’s a way to achieve deep relaxation during which you become open to receiving and accepting new and beneficial suggestions, while at the same time lessening your awareness of conscious worries and anxiety.
Hypnotherapy for insomnia and how it works
When you come to my clinic for a session you will experience hypnosis. During the free initial consultation and your first session we can examine what’s driving your insomnia, whether it’s just a short term reaction or being driven by more serious issues such as anxiety or depression, and from that we’ll be able to work out how many sessions you may require. I can teach you to use self-hypnosis, as well as providing you with an audio recording for you to listen to between sessions. Hypnosis is, in many ways, similar to the experience of losing track of time while watching a movie or while daydreaming. You stop actively attending to your physical surroundings — and focus instead on an internal reality. Self-hypnosis, therefore, isn’t as tricky as it may sound.
Guided imagery is a well-known and easy to use method of self-hypnosis. Using simple imagery such as imagining each body part becoming heavier, descending into sleep on an elevator, or relaxing in the warm sun, you can practice entering a state of deep relaxation which encourages sleep.
There are also many practical things that you can do to prepare for sleep.
My top 5 tips for a good night’s rest
- Develop sleep Rituals
We do this with our children, simple things like making sure they don’t eat too late, that they have a nice warm bath, and then have some quiet time to wind down and prepare for sleep. It’s just as important for adults to adopt a bedtime routine. Take some time to switch off – avoid checking your email and social media, shut down your computer, read for a while or listen to relaxing music.
- Use your bedroom for sleep only
Bedrooms are for sleeping and sex, not for watching television, or catching up on office work and emails. So remove all those electronic gadgets – TVs, computers, phones, gaming systems etc.
Even the small amount of light from a computer screen in the evening hours can stimulate your brain into thinking it is time to be awake.
- Avoid napping during the day
The period of time that you are awake adds to something called “sleep drive.” The longer you stay awake, the more you want to go to sleep. By taking a nap, it diminishes that desire to sleep— and you’ll find it harder getting to sleep later. Adults should have a consolidated period of sleep at night without additional naps.
- If you’re struggling to drop off – get up
Don’t be tempted to lie awake, struggling to go to sleep as your body may start to think that bed is a place for difficulties, and if this happens night after night, you may begin to associate your bed with the anxiety of not being able to sleep. So if you can’t get to sleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, go to another quiet place, read for a while, or lie down until you feel ready to fall asleep, then return to your bedroom to sleep.
- Make sleep a priority
Respect your body and the need to sleep and don’t allow your sleep time to be sacrificed when daytime obligations take longer than expected. Schedule your sleep time and stick to it. It’s best to adopt the same times for getting up and going to bed every day, even on the weekend. By regularly going to bed and getting up at the same time, you’ll condition your body to follow a regular pattern of sleep. This is particularly important when re-establishing your sleep cycle. The body has a natural 24-hour internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, which is running in the background of your brain and which cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals – sometimes also referred to as the sleep/wake cycle. By adopting regular bed and waking times, it allows this clock to help initiate and maintain your sleep pattern.
Hypnosis only works if you’re willing. Hypnotherapy is a careful combination of relaxation, trance state, and suggestion. When you relax you are quieting your mind and body and entering a hypnotic state, causing a diminished awareness of your surrounding environment along with a heightened state of suggestibility.
Many people find the experience of hypnotherapy extremely relaxing, saying that it promotes a sense of calm, helps ease anxiety and worry, and aids sleep, and, unlike sleep medications, hypnosis has no side effects.
So if you’d like to find out more, check out my contact details below, and get in touch to set up your free 30 minute initial consultation. Note that if you are not local to my practice, I can provide this consultation over Skype.
Book An Appointment With Me
Call me on: 07974 953397
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: If you are experiencing a long period of being unable to get a good night’s rest, you should consult a doctor. While sleep issues can result from mild anxiety or other related issues, it can also be related to more serious medical or psychological problems.