Evidenced-Based Hypnotherapy For The Management Of Sleep Disorders

Evidenced-Based Hypnotherapy For The Management Of Sleep Disorders

Hypnotic Relaxation to Treat Sleep Disorders


hypnosis sleep disorders

Inadequate sleep is often associated with stress and depression. Not having enough sleep or going through sleep disorders brings downfall to the health of even a normal person. People never tend to take their sleep disorders seriously while only a few of them actually seek some form of treatment for their problem. Most people stay with this problem which in turn brings more unhealthiness and diseases to your body. Sleep is very important for your mind and body. A good healthy sleep is an epitome of having a healthy lifestyle.


To treat any sleep disorder without any medical aid, the most effective techniques are targeting the dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs that lead to abnormal sleeping patterns. In more recent years, combining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with hypnotism has emerged as the most effective treatment for sleeping disorders. The behavioral techniques of CBT along with the relaxation element of the hypnotism make the desired treatment possible to achieve. Following are a few CBT’s mentioned:

  • Relaxation Therapy:

This is a therapy designed to help the patient escape from any kind of uneasiness and anxiety he faces during the time of sleep. This result in cognitive, physiological, or emotional arousals during the time the person is supposed to sleep.


This is the process in which the patients are trained to control their arousal. Visual or auditory means are used, either mechanically or through computers) to train the patient how to control unnecessary anxiety or any other factor that affects their sleeping pattern.


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  • Stimulus Control Therapy:

This treatment consists of a set of instructions that are designed to establish a regular sleep-wake rhythm in the patient. This therapy involves using the bed and bed cues for sleep and weakens them as cues for activities that might hinder the process of sleeping.


The set of instructions includes: when to go to bed; what kind of activities is allowed or not allowed when in bed; what to do during the time required going to sleep; when to wake up in the morning; and what other times are suitable for napping.


This involves the process of classical conditioning to train the subject how to react to a particular stimulus, that is; sleep. It works to strengthen the sleep compatible conditions and reinforce a regular sleep-wake cycle for the subject.


  • Sleep Restriction Therapy:

The more you stay awake, the more you develop the tendency to fall asleep. This is a biological phenomenon which can be used to develop sleep drive in a particular subject. The sleep that you want due to prolonged restriction from sleeping is called homeostatic sleep drive.


The activity requires sleep deprivation of the subject until it develops a dire need to go to sleep. After the goal is achieved, a perfect sleeping time slot is designated and the subject is made to follow it.


  • Sleep Hygiene Education:

This is a behavioral technique wherein the subject is given instructions about the importance of having healthy sleeping habits. It tells the patients about adopting the healthy practices of diet and exercise and educates about environmental factors like light, noise, and bedding that can bring disturbance while sleeping.

Hypnotism Relaxation is involved with one or more of the treatments mentioned above to treat any of the sleeping disorder. The purpose is to bring relaxation by making the subject imagine it along with any of the techniques to incorporate healthy sleeping habits in the patient. Following is a case illustration that will help in understanding the process better.


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hypnotherapy insomnia



  • Presenting Problem and Client Description:

Laura is a seventeen-year-old suffering from insomnia. Her medical condition says that she suffers from asthma and on and off faces a few attacks. Personally, she has been going through a tough time as she lost her mother eight months back to cancer.


  • Case Formulation:

From the medical point of view, Laura had no clinical disorder, but the recent situations she had to go through gave her difficult sleeping habits. During the night, she had an increased arousal with her mind triggering negative thoughts. This, in turn, brought difficulty to her breathing.


  • Course of Treatment:

The treatment designed for her included a few sessions of hypnotism to provide relaxation and a Sleep Restriction Therapy. She was made to relax via hypnotism turning the memories of her mother that made her sad, into something that will make her happy and help in relaxation. She was sleep deprived for a long time and after getting rid of the memories that made it uneasy for her to breathe and then to fall asleep, it became very easy to put her to sleep. The treatment was repeated for about two weeks.


  • Outcome and Prognosis:

In two weeks, Laura managed to get a good night sleep of 8 hours instead of her usual 5 or 6 hours. This brought a great change in her personality as the increased sleep made her more cheerful. Her stress level reduced and she was seen participating in activities and socializing with friends.


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Hypnotism has provided with an easier and more feasible way in providing relaxation to the patients which are then ready to exercise any of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The therapy alone cannot bring the most desired effects in a limited time, thus making hypnotism a very important tool in the treatment of various sleep disorders.

Mark Barrus

Mark Barrus is the Director of Healthy Life Centers. I have been in the Hypnosis industry for over 20 years, and have written many articles about the efficacy and effectiveness of Hypnotherapy to overcome unwanted habits and actions. Twenty years of Case Study research and examination have helped me to inform the industry on the results and be a leader in the field. I originally worked with Dr. Richard Neves, the former head of the American Board of Hypnotherapy, training other Hypnotherapists in Advanced Smoking Cessation protocols. In February 2005, we also started Healthy Life Centers, in Orange County, CA

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