If you can’t sleep, you can’t function. Not only does good sleep help us feel revitalized and refreshed, but it also gives our bodies time to recover and repair from the stresses and strains of the day. For this reason, many people have decided to look into alternative ways, like sleep hypnosis, to help them get a better night’s rest.
Sleep hypnosis has become an effective method in treating many sleep-related issues. Not only can it help you create the conditions you need to relax your mind and body, but you’ll also fall asleep quicker, stay asleep for longer, and awaken feeling more refreshed than ever before.
So How Do You Know If Sleep Hypnosis Can Work For You?
This article explores what sleep hypnosis is, how it works, the benefits and risks, and what conditions sleep hypnosis can help treat.
What is Sleep Hypnosis?
Sleep hypnosis uses hypnotherapy to address issues with sleep. In other words, sleep hypnosis is a process where you’re in a relaxed, hypnotic state to train your brain to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Usually, a trained professional is needed to reach this state safely and successfully. However, this can also be done by listening to an audio recording or doing a self-guided practice.
Just like hypnosis is used for quitting habits like smoking, sleep hypnosis is no different. The goal of sleep hypnosis isn’t to get you to fall asleep but rather to resolve the barriers that get in the way of you falling asleep.
Everyone’s different when it comes to what gets in the way of sleep, but it is generally related to your inner beliefs, negative thoughts, or habits about sleep. Hypnotherapy works to shift and change these barriers, so you can change your behaviors and, ultimately, sleep better once it’s completed.
Hypnotherapy and Sleep Hypnosis
The use of hypnotherapy should be conducted by certified professionals and masters of the practice. It’s best to work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor, or nurse to receive high-quality information and support.
Here’s a Guide to What You Can Expect in a Sleep Hypnosis Session:
Your therapist will first explain the process to you. They may ask you what stressors you have in your life at the moment, what areas you’d like to improve, as well as a brief medical history.
Then the therapist will guide you through the process, speaking in a gentle and soothing tone. To promote relaxation, safety, and focus, you’ll likely be asked to visualize a calming image or thought.
Once you’re in a relaxed or trance-like state, you’ll be given specific therapeutic suggestions that are tailor to address the issue or symptoms disrupting your sleep. There are many techniques for hypnosis, and a hypnotherapist will usually select the most suitable approach based on your needs. Each technique has its strengths and requirements.
You will feel extremely relaxed and tired during a guided sleep session, and you may even fall asleep. Everyone is different- you may recollect every word that’s said to you, or you may find yourself waking up and not realizing the session is over.
Once the session is over, you’ll be guided in bringing yourself out of this relaxed state by shifting your attention back to your surroundings, where you’ll be fully awake and alert.
Contrary to how hypnosis is often portrayed in tv shows and movies, you don’t lose control over yourself. Generally, you’re aware and have no trouble remembering what happened during hypnosis.
How Long Will it Take to Work?
Experiencing the benefits of hypnosis can often take more than one session; however, many people report noticing a difference after attending one session. Over time, you may be able to self-administer these exercises — for example, after a stressful day at work.
Can it be Combined with Other Treatments?
Sleep hypnosis can be combined with other types of treatment, like cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). These treatment options for sleep share two common goals: to reframe your negative thoughts about sleep and overcome underlying issues about sleep. Additionally, CBT-I focuses on other aspects of sleep. Your environment, as well as your sleep hygiene practices, are both addressed.
How Can Sleep Hypnosis Be Done?
Sleep hypnosis works with your subconscious mind and brings you to a relaxed state of mind. In this position, you become much more receptive to suggestions. This enables you to feel more relaxed, and experience benefits that other relaxation methods don’t provide.
We often get into this state of relaxed concentration in our everyday lives without even recognizing it-like when you find yourself “zoning out” or lost in thought. Hypnosis helps you activate that state much more quickly.
The subconscious mind absorbs things like a sponge; it can’t tell what’s real and what’s in your imagination. So when the therapist is providing suggestions in this state, they make more of a significant, lasting impact. With hypnosis, adopt desirable beliefs and behaviors, imprinting them into your subconscious mind directly.
The best part – you don’t have to exercise your willpower to make those changes, and hypnosis is a relaxing and soothing state in itself!
Why is Deep Sleep Important?
Deep sleep is essential for a variety of reasons. Just like food or water, we need sleep to survive. When we sleep, we:
- Restore energy levels
- Improve our memory
- Allow the body to heal itself
- Strengthen our immune system
- Rebuild muscle
- Improve metabolism and regulate weight (1)
What Happens When We Don’t Get Quality Sleep?
When you don’t get enough quality shut-eye, you put yourself at risk for other issues than just being tired. It can lead to difficulties in multiple areas of daily living and functioning. Not only that, but a lack of quality sleep can also lead to problems with your health, memory problems and puts you at risk for mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. Over time, not getting quality rest will eventually accumulate a sleep debt, which is hard to make up for. You may:
- Have weaker immune functioning
- Increase your blood pressure
- Increase your risk for accidents
- Feel moody, irritable, emotionally reactive
- Depressed mood or unmotivated
- Notice an inferior balance and coordination in your movement
- Overeat as a result of a more robust appetite, gain weight
- Reduce libido.
According to multiple studies, sleep problems may also indicate future health issues, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, obesity, and dementia. (2)
Research on Sleep Hypnosis
Research has shown that hypnosis is a highly regarded therapeutic tool for sleep. According to several studies, sleep hypnosis can provide modest sleep benefits, such as:
- Decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are exacerbated without quality sleep.
- Treat physical and chronic pain, which can also cause disturbed sleep.
- Falling asleep quicker and being in a deep sleep for a more extended time.
While sleep hypnosis shows a lot of promise as a treatment option, more research needs to be considered standard treatment for sleep.
Who Can it Help?
Sleep hypnosis is a safe and effective way of drifting off to sleep if done correctly. It is suggested that a person needs to be open and believe in sleep hypnosis to be effective. With that said, hypnotherapy doesn’t work for everyone.
Research suggests that roughly 15% of people are highly receptive to hypnosis. On the other hand, about one-third of people are resistant to hypnosis and unlikely to benefit from hypnotherapy.
Those that fall in between may still benefit from sleep hypnosis, given the desire for change and an open mind towards hypnosis.
While people of any age can benefit from hypnotherapy, adolescents are thought to be more receptive and can enter a hypnotic state much faster than adults.
Other Conditions That Sleep Hypnosis Can Treat
Since sleep disturbances co-occur with multiple physical health conditions, those who have the following may also benefit from sleep hypnosis.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cancer patients
- Trauma survivors (PTSD)
- Chronic back problems
- Post-menopausal women
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Are There Any Risks?
Although hypnotherapy is generally considered safe within the proper therapeutic setting, there are rare adverse reactions in a small percentage of patients. Some people have experienced milder side effects, such as headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, or situational anxiety. This highlights the importance of talking to your healthcare provider before starting clinical hypnotherapy, as they can discuss any potential risks with you.
If we take severe trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), some people with this condition may respond differently, depending on their situation. In this case, someone with a trauma history may respond better to sleep hypnosis when working with someone who already built a trusted, safe rapport.
The Bottom Line
Sleep hypnosis can be highly effective in improving your sleep within the appropriate setting. Thus, it’s essential to speak with a healthcare professional beforehand to address any potential risks and see if sleep hypnosis is right for you.
(1) metabolism – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/metabolism-and-weight-loss/
(2) Alzheimer’s – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350447
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