Insomnia and sleep problems
Hypnotherapy for Insomnia and Sleep problems.
Sleep problems and insomnia, are a real issue in the world today and there are so many culprits for a lack of sleep.
When we retire to bed we are supposed to fall asleep and stay asleep until we awaken refreshed in the morning, ready for the day ahead. Sleep is important because during the sleeping process we are repairing our bodies and indeed, our minds.
Lack of sleep can actually alter our genes and badly affect our immune system!
We all know what it’s like to wake in the morning having had a horrible nights sleep. We are groggy and tired and have what we call brain fog. This affects our ability to function properly. For example, it affects our reactions both physically and mentally. And in some cases this can be extremely dangerous. Can you imagine how dangerous it would be for a person who drives regularly to feel exhausted at the wheel of a car, or a truck!
There are many reasons for a lack of sleep and recently studies have blamed modern technology. Whilst this isn’t anything new, what did fascinate me is that it is the ‘blue light’ that is emitted from a device such as a smart phone, tablet, TV or laptop that reacts with the brain and keeps it stimulated when it is supposed to be settling down. What we need is an increase in ‘melatonin’ which is our sleep hormone. When we are stimulated, this hormone is suppressed.
Worry is also responsible for a lack of sleep. Very often we will awaken in the night and be alone with our thoughts. Our mind drifts off from its sleeping place and focuses on worries that are troubling us. There are techniques that can help with interrupting thoughts which can help move the mind back to the sleep phase.
Technique to help with sleep
One of my favourite techniques is to put myself on a beach using the power of my imagination. Any beach, even if its a made up one. And then to walk around the beach using my five outer senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
So, look around the beach at the colours of the sand, sky and the sea. Use the imagination to hear the waves lapping on the shore and hear the seagulls chattering in the sky. Touch the sand with your fingers, feel the warm sand under your feet. Walk towards the ocean and feel the cool wet water wash over your feet and notice the difference between the cool wetness and the warmth of the sun on the skin.
Try to imagine the smells of the ocean and the combinations of salt and seaweeds and imagine almost being able to taste the salty air.
If your thoughts get interrupted by the original worry thought, don’t try to stop the thought, just acknowledge it and move your thoughts back to the beach.
How can Hypnosis help sleep problems?
Hypnosis helps by getting the body and mind relaxed, really relaxed, which is important for sleep. Our bodies and minds know exactly how to fall asleep because it is a natural process. We just need to eradicate the brain. Relaxing physically can be learned and then we relax the mind. I often teach my clients the art of self hypnosis so that you can do it all yourself, and this can be very empowering.
Hypnosis can help install a new, healthy habit of relaxing the mind and body and using bed for sleep and intimate activities only. Helping you to avoid modern technology or anything too stimulating before bed or indeed in the middle of the night.
A great tip is to never look at your phone when you wake in the night. The reason for this is to avoid any association with time and sleep. We have all, at some point, had that problem where we wake at the same time or times in the night. This is normally because we have made an effort to look at the time and the unconscious part of the mind attaches a meaning to the time. The more we wake at that time and look at the clock or phone, the stronger the association.
What is Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a process of events that ready you for a good nights sleep. It hasn’t got anything to do with being cleanwhen you go to bed.
Effectively it is a sleep routine that you should stick to, helping you form a good positive association with the bed. Remember the bed should be associated with sleep and intimate activities only. If we associate bed with lying awake, or being on the laptop or tablet then it is obvious that the unconscious association be made that bed is also for being awake.
To help try the following:
1. Don’t take technology to bed with you.
2. Don’t watch TV in bed
3. Don’t look at the time when you wake. If you have an alarm set then it will go off when its needed.
4. Don’t lay awake in bed for any longer than 20 minutes! If you do, then get out of bed and go to a different room and do something mundane. And then only when you feel tired, return to bed.
5. Try taking a warm shower or bath before bedtime.
6. If you like to read, try not to read anything too stimulating.
7. Try a relaxation exercise such as progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing the feet muscles, then relaxing them. Then tensing the calf muscles in the legs, then relaxing them. Continue with the thighs, then the posterior muscles and follow each muscle group all the way up to the head. Gently tensing and then relaxing as you go along. This technique is very good for those of you who find it difficult to relax.
8. Don’t take naps in the day, this really unsettles the routine, especially if you take naps on the sofa or anywhere else that isn’t the bedroom.
If you are suffering with sleep problems, don’t let it get the better of you and if you have been suffering for a long time, then it is the right time to sort this out for your health, both mentally and physically.
Some more information on sleep problems can be found here.
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