You lay awake and your mind races. You think about tomorrow’s seemingly impossible to-do list. Your body wants to sleep. But your mind has other plans.
Chances are, you’ve experienced this in your life. According to CDC data, 50-70 million Americans suffer from a sleep or wakefulness disorder. And that could explain why we average just 6.8 hours of sleep per night.
In other words, we’re chronically sleep deprived, and this lack of sleep limits the body’s ability to repair and restore itself.
During sleep, our bodies naturally heal themselves. Hormone levels are restored, the mind is refreshed, and a variety of important health processes happen. That means, when we deprive ourselves of quality sleep, we’re putting our mental and physical health at risk.
Unfortunately, resetting the circadian clock to achieve deep, restful sleep isn’t always easy.
Many sleep disorders are buried deep in our unconscious minds. At bedtime, feelings of sleepiness are replaced by anxiety. We let stress cloud our thinking, and as a result we just can’t seem to shut down our internal dialogues and get to sleep.
Sleep hypnosis, though, offers a solution.
A sleep hypnosis recording or program can provide you a roadmap for preparing for, relaxing into and inducing sleep. In effect, hypnosis is providing a roadmap to overcome bedtime restlessness, unwind more quickly, and ultimately, fall into a deep, restorative sleep.
What is Sleep Hypnosis?
In simple terms, sleep hypnosis is a technique for inducing deep sleep, and it is similar to traditional hypnosis. At bedtime, you follow steps to achieve physical and mental relaxation, and once you reach this relaxed and focused state, you’re provided with suggestions that can help the mind drift off into sleep.
You might try sleep hypnosis if:
- You have trouble falling asleep;
- Your mind races at bedtime, preventing you from shutting down;
- You struggle to sleep prior to an important event;
- Or you suffer from a specific sleep disorder like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, night terrors or sleepwalking.
The Power of a Good Night’s Rest
Sleep is nature’s medicine. In fact, researchers have linked sleep deprivation with a variety of serious health consequences. Getting enough sleep has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, for instance.
But poor sleep also affects our quality of life. It can contribute to:
- Bad sleep can reduce the sex drive.
- It can speed up the aging process.
- It affects our mood and is an underlying cause of depression.
- It disrupts our memory, and makes recalling and storing memories more difficult.
- It impairs our reasoning, attention and problem-solving skills during the day.
But you can’t just get more sleep to reverse some of the symptoms. Instead, deep sleep is what matters.
During the night, you pass through four stages of sleep. In the NREM cycle, you experience light sleep (N1) and the onset of sleep (N2), before entering into a deep, restorative sleep pattern (N3). Finally, you reach the all-important REM sleep, which supports mind and body function, where the brain waves slow down and body heals itself.
Unfortunately, in our 30s and 40s, our ability to reach deep sleep starts to diminish and we’re more likely to experience non-refreshing sleep.
Are You Suffering from a Sleep Disorder?
When you aren’t getting enough slow-wave sleep, you might exhibit a number of telltale systems. If you experience these symptoms consistently, starting a sleep hypnosis program may offer a solution. Common symptoms include:
- Daytime irritability or sleepiness
- Trouble staying awake
- Difficulty with concentration, memory recall and attention
- Trouble controlling emotions
- Feeling very tired by mid-afternoon
- Slow reaction times
How Does Hypnosis Help You Fall Asleep?
Numerous causes could be fueling your struggle to sleep.
For example, anxiety and stress – two of the greatest contributors — can impair your ability to “shut off” the mind before bed. Medical conditions like allergies or asthma might also be keeping you awake. Or the cause might be something as seemingly minor as a change in routine.
In many cases, we’re kept awake by our internal dialogues.
Your mind might race, thinking about an upcoming stressful event. (Like the first day of a job.) Or you might replay unresolved problems from the day in your mind over and over. (Like a fight with a spouse, or a contentious meeting at work.)
Sleep hypnosis provides a framework to help our minds turn off, allow our bodies to reach a relaxed state, and ultimately, to push us from hypnotic trance to sleep. In particular, a sleep-promoting hypnotherapy program helps you:
- Relax Physically: Hypnosis, in general, provides steps for relieving tension in the body, relaxing muscles and achieving that feeling of heaviness in the body. Under hypnosis, the body is wholly relaxed, which can be achieved through breathing and focus techniques.
- Relax Mentally: The hypnotic state, much like meditation, is a state of heightened awareness and focus. By following hypnosis techniques, you can begin to unburden the mind of its worry. Your seeking to move away from your conscious thoughts, and find a disconnection from your surroundings. Sleep hypnosis, as such, is effective because it helps you slow your internal thoughts, tune them out or place your focus elsewhere.
- Induce Sleep: A hypnotic trance is not sleep, contrary to popular thought. You remain aware and conscious. But the transition from a state of hypnosis to sleep is natural. They share similarities, and therefore, once you’ve relaxed mentally and physically, simple suggestions may help you drift into sleep.
- Fall into Deep Sleep: Research has shown that listening to a sleep hypnosis recording prior to bed can help us get to deep sleep faster. In fact, a 2014 study found that women who listened to a sleep hypnosis recording before bed spent 80 percent longer in deep sleep. In other words, hypnosis helps us fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, ensure we spend enough time in the desired N3 and REM sleep stages.
Hypnotherapy for Insomnia: How It Can Help
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, and for chronic sufferers, the condition can have a serious impact on quality of life.
There are many types of insomnia.
Insomnia can be short-term. For example, a change in routine, an illness, hormones, grief or anxiety can all make it difficult to fall asleep. Fortunately, in most cases, you return to a normal sleep schedule within a few days or weeks.
Long-term, chronic insomnia, on the other hand, refers to consistent and long-term sleep disturbances. If you’ve experienced trouble sleeping three nights a week for longer than a couple of months, your insomnia is chronic.
Additionally, insomnia may be considered “sleep onset” or “sleep maintenance” insomnia. Sleep onset refers to having trouble falling asleep, while sleep maintenance refers to difficulty in staying asleep.
Hypnotherapy offers a means for alleviating the root cause of all types of insomnia.
Long-Term Insomnia. Long-term insomniacs tend to feel anxiety about falling asleep; they condition the mind to think that falling asleep will be a struggle. And this conditioning gets buried deep in the subconscious. Through hypnosis, these people can begin to reframe these unconscious thoughts, and generate more positive associations. For example, during a sleep hypnosis session, a recording or hypnotherapist might use positive words like “peace,” “rest” or “tranquility” to describe bedtime and sleep. This helps the unconscious mind untangle its negative associations.
Acute Insomnia. For acute sufferers, sleep hypnosis offers a step-by-step process for tuning out conscious thoughts, reaching a state of physical and mental relaxation, and preparing the mind and body for bed. Acute insomnia typically stems from stress or anxiety. You’re thinking about the day, or you’re stressed about upcoming events. By using hypnosis, you provide your mind with a framework for shutting down more effectively.
Hypnosis and Sleep Disorders
In addition to insomnia, hypnosis for inducing sleep can also help to alleviate a range of other sleep disorders and conditions. Research has shown hypnosis to be effective for overcoming jet lag, night terrors, and sleepwalking.
Jet Lag. Travel disrupts your sleep schedule and can throw your internal clock out of whack. Sleep hypnosis provides a means for resetting the internal clock. For example, on your return home, you might follow a week of self-hypnosis prior to bed. By using self-hypnosis techniques, you encourage the body to unwind at its normal time and return to your schedule faster.
Restless Leg Syndrome. Restless Leg Syndrome refers to a condition in which people feel an urge to fidget. It often feels uncontrollable. But what some do not know is that RLS can greatly disrupt sleep. In fact, it’s a common cause of insomnia, because the sufferer can’t keep still at night and ends up tossing and turning. Stress and anxiety are thought to exacerbate symptoms. Hypnosis can provide a means to overcome underlying causes. In particular, a sleep hypnotherapy plan for someone with RLS would provide tools for focusing the mind away from the discomfort in the body.
Nightmare Disorders. Anyone who regularly experiences vivid nightmares may have a nightmare disorder. Since dreams occur during REM sleep, this condition can deprive the individual of that all-important deep sleep. Nightmares may become ingrained in a pattern of thoughts and behaviors, which ultimately becomes embedded in your subconscious. Hypnotherapy seeks to recondition your unconscious to move away from the negative pattern. A hypnosis program for nightmares would seek to uncover the patterns, thoughts and behaviors that may be causing the recurring nightmares.
Night Terrors. Night terrors, like a nightmare disorder, disrupts sleep throughout the night. People who suffer from night terrors a roused in a panic, and they’re often confused or unable to communicate. Stress, grief and anxiety are all prime contributors to the condition. Hypnotherapy techniques can help people to examine the patterns and habits of thought that are leading to the night terrors.
Sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is often portrayed as a harmless sleep disorder. The truth is: Sleepwalker is serious. Not only does it disrupt sleep, but it can put sufferers in a variety of dangerous situations. Hypnotherapy empowers sleepwalkers to update their unconscious thoughts that may be contributing to the sleepwalking. And research has shown that clinic hypnosis can be very effective for sleep walking. In fact, a major five-year study found that hypnosis helped two-thirds of patients completely eliminate or greatly diminish symptoms.
For many of these conditions, it may be helpful to work with a professional hypnotherapist. A professional can help you dig into the unconscious mind, and determine the habits and behavioral patterns that are keeping these behaviors in place.
Sleep Hypnosis Research: Is It Effective?
What most people suffering from a sleep disorder want to know is: Does hypnosis work?
Well, the research suggests that yes, it can. Studies have been conducted that show hypnosis can have a positive impact on insomnia, RLS, nightmares and night terrors, and sleepwalking. And the research on self-related hypnotherapy is very compelling. Here’s a look:
Deep Sleep. In 2014, for example, Swiss researchers found that a sleep-inducing hypnosis recording greatly improved sleep quality for study participants. The research found that participants who were susceptible to hypnosis stayed asleep longer (spent 66 percent less time awake), which helped them enjoy more deep sleep (80 percent more, on average).
Fall Asleep Faster. Another study looked at the effect that four weekly sessions of hypnotic relaxation had on how quickly participants could fall asleep. The results: Over the course of the study, participants who received hypnotherapy fell asleep more quickly compared to placebo and controlled stimuli groups.
Sleepwalking, Night Terrors. A 2007 study examined the effects of hypnosis on a variety of sleep disorders, including sleepwalking and night terrors. The participants received just a single treatment, but after 1 month 55 percent said they were spell free or much improved. A similar study conducted in 1991 looked at the effects of self-hypnosis on sleepwalking and night terrors. The patients were instructed on how to use self-hypnosis at home and were required to follow the program regularly. At the end of the study, 74 percent of patients report feeling “much or very improved.”
Variety of Conditions. Finally, Alfred Barrios a psychology researcher examined a range of studies, comparing the effectiveness of psychoanalysis to hypnosis as a therapeutic treatment for sleep disorders, addiction and other ailments. What he found: Hypnosis helped 93 percent recover after just 6 treatments, while psychoanalysis required 600 treatments to achieve a 38 percent recovery rate.
Ultimately, this is just a small sampling of sleep hypnosis research. In addition, we’ve seen amazing success with our clients for a variety of sleep-related conditions.
Get Started with Sleep Hypnosis: Quick Tips
Here’s some good news: You can try hypnosis in your own home tonight before you go to bed. A guided hypnosis recording or self-hypnosis program is designed to help you relax and unwind, and it could be the answer to resolving your sleeping problems.
You have three mediums to experiment with sleep hypnosis. You can try:
- Self-Hypnosis for Sleep: Self-hypnosis refers to steps you can take to induce the trance state, relax your body, and provide helpful suggestions to the mind. Before bed, you would follow a sleep hypnosis script, which might include breathing techniques, mindfulness tips and strategies for relaxing the body and mind. Then, you’d recite a script that would help you drift into sleep.
- Guide Self-Inducing Recordings: A guided hypnosis session is an audio or video recording that features a hypnotist offering you tips and strategies for relaxing. The hypnotist would then provide simple suggestions for helping the mind drift into sleep. A script might include positive sleep works, like “let go,” “yawn,” or “peace” which would help your unconscious mind transition from trance to sleep. A typical recorded vided lasts about 15 minutes.
- One-on-One Hypnotherapy: Sessions with a professional hypnotherapist provide you with personalized guidance during your experience. A hypnotist will lead you through relaxation techniques to reach the hypnotic state, and then would help you examine your unconscious mind and reframe negative associations. A one-to-one session would be particularly powerful for deep-rooted sleep disorders, like night terrors or sleepwalking, or if self-hypnosis isn’t providing the results you desire.
Whatever path you choose to take, remember that hypnotherapy requires commitment. You must first want and commit to seeing the results, just like any self-improvement program.
And don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience instant results. It takes, on average, six sessions to achieve results, and some may require maintenance sessions in the years that follow. With self-hypnosis, sticking with a program long-term can help you achieve your goals.
Conclusion: Hypnosis Can Help You Unlock Restful Sleep
What’s preventing you from a good night’s sleep? There’s a good chance it’s buried in your subconscious. It might be anxiety about the future, stress, or regrets about the past.
And if you’ve experienced sleep struggles for long periods of time, your inability to sleep is now a habit. Your unconscious believes it to be normal, and it tells your mind that it make sure it stays that way. Hypnotherapy helps because it provides you an opportunity to drill down to this level, to gain control of your unconscious thoughts, and shut down your mind when you’re ready to sleep.
Are you ready to sleep like a baby? Get started now with GraceSpace’s sleep-focused standalone recording.
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To experience relief from insomnia and sleeping disorders with the use of hypnosis, take a look at these resources. We’ve listed them in order from the smallest to greatest investment. The greater the investment, the faster you’ll see results, but if you’re persistent and committed, even our free workbook will help you sleep better.