Do you have difficulty sleeping or suffer from poor sleep?
Do you lay awake at night struggling to sleep?
Worry about going to sleep at night?
If so, hypnosis can help you have better quality sleep if you suffer from poor sleep.
Poor sleep can be hugely stressful. This article explains the causes of insomnia and how hypnosis can improve the quality of your sleep, so you wake feeling energised and refreshed in the morning.
Research recommends you get about 8 hours of sleep each night. Some people may need more than 8 hours and some may need less, but the average is 8 hours. If you struggle to get enough sleep, your overall health will be affected. A good night’s sleep is crucial and just as important as exercise and a healthy diet to good physical and mental health. Sleep helps you to be healthy, productive and live in the here and now.
A lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your:
- general brain function e.g. memory and concentration
- work performance e.g. productivity and absence
- sport performance e.g. physical strength and endurance
Poor sleep can also increase your risk of suffering with:
- anxiety disorders
- heart disease
The fact that poor sleep increases your risk of developing serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity mean that insomnia can reduce your life expectancy. One study found that ‘night owls’ were 10% more likely to die prematurely. Another study at the University of Warwick found that poor sleep can increase the risk of early death by 12%. It is clear how important a good night’s sleep is to physical and mental well-being.
If you suffer from poor sleep you can download and use my free deep sleep recording to help you enjoy better drift off to sleep and wake feeling more revitalised, less stressed, energised and more positive. To achieve maximum benefits, you should listen to this recording once a day at bedtimes for at least three weeks.
Most people suffer occasionally with poor sleep, but when this becomes a regular problem it becomes insomnia. Research estimates about a third of the population will suffer from insomnia at some point in their life.
Some people are able to drift off to sleep but wake in the night and then struggle to get back to sleep. Others find it difficult to get to sleep in the first place. Either way, you wake in the morning feeling tired and irritable with poor concentration.
Scientists have found that making simple adjustments to your sleeping habits can have positive effects on your physical and mental well-being. Good sleep depends on a number of factors. Probably the most important factor is a healthy sleep routine. You should aim to go to bed at about 10:00 pm and try to get about 8 hours of sleep each night. If you maintain this routine then your body will adjust and enter a better quality sleep cycle naturally.
What are the types and causes of insomnia?
Insomnia can be classified as either acute or chronic.
Insomnia can be caused by physical as well as psychological reasons.
Acute insomnia is when poor quality sleep lasts for less than four weeks and is caused by temporary factors such as jet lag, mobile phones, stress, caffeine or work shift patterns.
Shift work and caffeine are major contributors to acute insomnia.
Generally speaking, caffeine should not be consumed within four hours of going to sleep.
If you are a shift worker the constant change in your sleep routines can seriously disrupt your body clock.
The body naturally releases a hormone called melatonin, as daylight levels fall, to start the sleep phase.
Melatonin is not normally released happen during the day when light levels are higher.
This can cause problems for shift workers who need to sleep during the day.
It is important to make lifestyle changes to encourage sleep if you are a shift worker.
See my 12 great ways to get to sleep at night for tips on making lifestyle changes.
Chronic insomnia is a nightly event and lasts for longer than four weeks.
Many find they worry about getting to sleep which turns into a vicious circle.
Chronic insomnia is often caused by one or more of the following physical and psychological causes:
- physical pain e.g. joint and muscle
- medication e.g. antidepressants
- breathing problems e.g. asthma
- urinary problems e.g. incontinence
- hormonal problems e.g. cortisol
- addictions e.g. alcohol and drugs.
What are the symptoms of insomnia?
Symptoms vary from person to person but generally include:
- being awake for long periods
- not being able to fall asleep
- waking several times throughout the night
- feeling tired and irritable during the day
- waking early unable to get back to sleep
- difficulty concentrating on physical and mental functions.
If you think you have insomnia it is vital that you talk to your doctor to rule out serious underlying medical conditions.
What are the treatments for insomnia?
Your doctor may recommend medication to help you sleep and some find this an effective treatment.
Some people prefer a natural treatment for their insomnia such as hypnotherapy which uses hypnosis to help restore healthy sleep. Hypnosis can be highly effective if you suffer from insomnia and poor sleep.
It is important to determine the cause of your insomnia otherwise you could only be treating the symptoms.
Hypnotherapy helps you address the psychological causes of your anxiety and depression.
It can help you relax so you are more likely to fall off to sleep, which in turn helps you restore a healthy sleep routine. If there are issues in your past that cause you to worry then hypnosis can be effective in helping you resolve these issues and allow you to stop worrying about them.
If the cause of your insomnia is excessive alcohol intake, then hypnotherapy can help reduce your alcohol intake so you can sleep normally. Alcohol is a stimulant and although it helps you fall asleep at the start it disrupts the deep sleep needed for recovery and rest.
THE LAW OF REVERSED EFFECT
The ‘Law of Reversed Effect’ states that the harder you consciously try to do something, the more difficult it becomes to succeed. How many times have you gone to bed at night and tried to help yourself go to sleep, only to find yourself more wide awake? Just as you are unsuccessful at trying to sweat, you are generally unsuccessful in applying conscious control over unconscious physiological change.
Do not ‘try’ to sleep
Have you found ‘trying to sleep’ impossible? That is because sleep is not a conscious activity. Sleep is controlled by your unconscious autonomic mind. ‘Trying’ is a conscious activity controlled by your conscious mind. Trying to sleep is like ‘trying’ to digest a meal or sneeze. You have no conscious control over how fast or slow digestion takes place. It happens at a rate determined by the unconscious mind.
So ‘trying to sleep’ just never works. As children, many of us would have been encouraged to ‘count sheep’ when we found it difficult to sleep. This suggestion worked by distracting your conscious mind, giving the conscious mind something else to think about. This stopped you from ‘trying to sleep’ so your unconscious mind could start the sleep phase.
How can hypnotherapy help me get to sleep?
Hypnosis gives your conscious mind something else to focus on just like ‘counting sheep’. It also helps because it offers your unconscious mind positive suggestions to help you overcome the issues that cause you to worry. Hypnotherapy is a highly effective treatment for anxiety.
Hypnotherapy uses a technique called progressive relaxation to teach you to relax and release the physical and mental tensions stopping you from entering the sleep phase. You are then able to resolve the issues causing you to worry and allow your conscious mind to ‘switch off’. This then gives your unconscious mind space and freedom to deal with the issues causing you to stay awake.
For instance, if you’re worried about work, hypnotherapy offers you an opportunity to explore and resolve the issues in a positive way so you are no longer worried.
Sometimes you may not be aware of the reasons that cause you to worry. Again hypnotherapy allows you to connect with your unconscious mind so you can become aware of the reason. Once the reason has been identified then you can find ways to move past the issue.
If you suffer from chronic insomnia poor sleep behaviours can become hard wired in your unconscious mind. Hypnosis allows you to lay down new positive sleep neural pathways to break the cycle of poor sleep patterns causing your insomnia.
Would you like some help having better quality sleep?
I hope you have found this article interesting and helpful. If you would like some help improving the quality of your sleep, please get in touch for a free consultation to find out how hypnosis can help give you better quality sleep and wake feeling more energised and positive.