“Hypnosis for Insomnia – How to Let Go of Awake and Embrace Sleep”
by Kelley Woods, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
One of the most beneficial side effects of engaging in hypnosis is, for many, improvement in the quality of sleep. Whether it is due to a “re-training” of conditioned sleep habits, or because bothersome issues are finally being dealt with, hypnosis can facilitate resolution of insomnia.
Research shows that chronic lack of sleep results in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. People who do not get quality sleep actually wake in a stressed state which can accelerate throughout their day. Poor sleep experience can also influence weight – cortisol levels are heightened in people who suffer from a lack of sleep, which contributes to weight gain.
In most cases, it is best to have a medical check up to rule out physical causes of sleep deprivation, such as sleep apnea. Whether insomnia is primary, which is not directly associated with any other health conditions, or secondary and is related to a problem such as pain, depression, illness or medications, hypnosis can often help alleviate symptoms and improve sleep.
Along with existing health conditions, sleep hygiene needs to be considered when addressing insomnia. There are many factors which can interfere with sound sleep, including:
- caffeine, nicotine and alcohol use
- consumption of heavy meals before sleep
- exposure to light and electronics
- use of the bedroom for activities other than sleep or sex
- a room that is too warm, too cold, or otherwise environmentally uncomfortable
Hypnosis can be used to control some of these, especially when it comes to changing eating and drinking habits. Another influence that keeps people in extended states of sleep challenge involves the “anchoring” of the bed as a place of non-sleep. The more a person lies awake in their bed with sleep evasion, the stronger the association of staying awake while in bed becomes. There are several hypnotic and NLP (neuro linguistic programming) approaches which can help break that association and replace it with a more beneficial one, thereby linking the bed with sound sleep.
If a person is experiencing periods of stress, pain or other life challenges, working with a hypnotist can help address and reduce those negative influences on sleep. Often, as soon as those issues are tackled, the subconscious mind, which regulates sleep, quickly provides relief of insomnia.
In addition, hypnotic interventions can help teach a client how to let go of awake and embrace sleep.
Some of these interventions may include teaching a client self hypnosis for:
- progressive muscle relaxation
- clearing the mind of the day’s busy-ness and stressful thoughts
- mindful breathing to let go of awake and embrace sleep
- engaging in visual imagery of a peaceful and relaxing place
Often, by provoking beliefs of “not being able to sleep” with a contrary challenge to stay awake, a client can learn to take advantage of the reverse effects of mind. Hypnotic approaches for sleep issues are effective in that they take advantage of brain plasticity: the ability of the brain to be “re-wired” away from stressed thoughts and feelings and toward relaxed, calm and peaceful ones. Regular application of mindful self-hypnosis creates new neural pathways that result in allowing a person to enter a sleep state easily, as a new conditioned reflex.
Hypnosis is a safe, affordable and effective modality for improving one’s sleep experience.
Note: If a person has been using prescription sleep aids to overcome insomnia, it is advisable to gradually reduce their use as the hypnotic interventions are applied. The mind and body can easily become conditioned to depend on sleep aids and a gradual withdrawal is recommended.