Sleep is something everybody needs. It plays a vital role in both our physical and mental health. This is because when we sleep our body heals and repairs itself. Sleep allows our brain to process the information collected through the day.
Sleeping problems such as insomnia make it difficult for some people to get enough sleep. As well as making you feel tired, the lack of sleep can lead to physical illness and increase your risk of heart disease and obesity. Mentally, not getting enough sleep can lead to anxiety and can make it hard for you to concentrate.
Common symptoms of insomnia include:
- low levels of concentration
- difficulty thinking clearly
- excessive sleepiness
- anxiety and depression.
On this page we will explore why sleep is so important. We will look at what insomnia is, what causes the problem and how hypnotherapy for insomnia can help.
On this page
Why is sleep important?
If you are experiencing prolonged periods of disrupted sleep or no sleep at all, the damage may affect you instantly or start over time. For example, if you had a poor sleep but need to drive, your low levels of concentration may result in an accident. Alternatively, over time the damage can lead to many chronic health conditions. A prolonged lack of sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
These health conditions can develop as a result of your blood vessels being unable to repair themselves. If you are not getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to heal.
Recent studies have also found a link between lack of sleep and obesity. Interestingly, those who fail to get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. The reasons behind this are not clear. However, it is thought that those who don’t get enough sleep may lack the energy to exercise. These low energy levels may also be compensated by overeating.
Sleep is also important in your ability to learn. It helps your creativity and improves your problem-solving skills. When sleeping problems develop, these abilities are hindered. Over time this can make daily activities difficult, impacting your relationships and working life.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning.
Most of us will have experienced a disrupted sleep and will know how it feels when you can’t seem to fall asleep. It may be that you are thinking about the next day or have had a coffee too near to bedtime. Perhaps you found it easy to fall asleep, but continue to wake up through the night. Either way, a rough sleep can leave you feeling drained and irritable the next day. Those who suffer with insomnia will experience these feelings regularly.
It is estimated that a third of people in the UK have episodes of insomnia during their lives. While it is not uncommon, it is believed that it can affect any age. However, people over the age of 60 and women appear to be more susceptible.
Hypnosis for sleep
When treating sleeping problems, there are various approaches you could take. It is important to first speak to your doctor to eliminate any physical causes. Your doctor may recommend you take medicine to help you sleep. For some people this can be an effective treatment, but it is important to try and find out the underlying cause to the problem.
Behavioural therapies and talk therapies are often advised. Hypnotherapy is another treatment option that many people find effective. Hypnotherapy for insomnia can tackle any potential causes, while helping you relax and drop off to sleep. For example, if anxiety or depression is the source of your insomnia, hypnosis for sleep may complement your existing treatment. Overcoming these issues may then help to improve your sleeping pattern. Alternatively, if a habit is causing your insomnia (such as alcohol) hypnotherapy for insomnia can work to break this habit.
Hypnotherapy for insomnia
While some sleeping problems will have an obvious cause, others may not. Hypnotherapy for insomnia can be helpful if you are unsure why you are having difficulties sleeping.
Using various techniques, a hypnotherapist will tap into your subconscious to uncover what may have triggered the problem. Once the cause is found, a tailored treatment created by the hypnotherapist can begin.
When suffering from insomnia for a long period of time, the patterns of sleep disturbances can become embedded in your subconscious. Hypnosis for insomnia aims to communicate with this and suggest positive changes. These suggestions will look to break the negative thought patterns causing the problem.
An important part of hypnotherapy for insomnia is teaching you how to relax. For some people, physical or mental tension can make sleeping difficult. A hypnotherapist may use relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation to help reduce tension. Sessions will help you to develop a routine. Practising a routine will improve your sleep hygiene and reduce evening stress.
Often your hypnotherapist will teach you self-hypnosis. Using hypnosis for insomnia at home will help you take the tools you’ve learnt in the session room into your everyday life.
The number of hypnotherapy sessions you’ll need will depend on your personal circumstances. Some people only need one session, while others may require deeper work. An initial consultation with your hypnotherapist will give you a better understanding of how many sessions you may need.
Different types of insomnia
There are many different types of insomnia, generally they are split into two categories:
Insomnia is classified as temporary if it lasts between one night and three or four weeks. Common causes of temporary insomnia include jet lag, a change in routine or working conditions, stress, caffeine and alcohol. Some cases of temporary insomnia are named transient or intermittent insomnia. This is when the person is experiencing sleeping problems periodically over months or years.
Another form of temporary insomnia is acute insomnia. This is when someone has a brief episode of difficulty sleeping. Often it is brought on by a stressful life event, because of this, it normally resolves over time.
This is also known as chronic insomnia. Generally the problem will persist almost nightly, for at least four weeks. Persistent insomnia is often when the pain or medication of medical conditions disrupts sleep. These may include arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, asthma and allergies. Depression, anxiety, stress and changing hormones can also contribute to insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia
Symptoms differ depending on individual circumstances. However there are symptoms that appear more common, including:
- Being awake for long periods at night.
- Not being able to fall asleep.
- Waking up several times during the night.
- Waking up very early and being unable to get back to sleep.
- Feeling tired and groggy the next morning.
- Finding it difficult to concentrate or function properly.
- Feeling irritable.
If you suspect you may be suffering from insomnia, it is important to speak to your doctor. They will rule out any health conditions that may be causing your sleeplessness.
Causes of insomnia
There are many different types of insomnia and a range of potential causes for the problem. In some cases, it may be only one cause that leads to sleeplessness, while others may experience a combination of factors.
Some of the potential causes of insomnia include:
Physical health conditions
You may find falling to sleep difficult if you suffer from a health condition that causes you pain. Similarly, if you have a condition that affects your breathing, such as asthma. It is thought that hormonal problems and urinary conditions can also impact sleep patterns.
There is a chance the medication you are taking is affecting your sleep. If you suspect a health problem or believe your medication may be causing your sleep problem, speak to your doctor.
Mental health conditions
Certain mental health concerns can create sleeping problems. For example, a person suffering severe depression is more likely to suffer from insomnia. When a person has depression it is common for them to feel less energetic. This is only exacerbated by insomnia. The low moods that come with depression can also be intensified when a person is lacking sleep.
Anxiety is another condition that is often associated with insomnia. Anxiety can make a person feel tense, worried and overwhelmed. These feelings may make falling asleep difficult. The person’s mind will often be racing when trying to sleep, feeling as if they cannot “switch off”. The worry can also disrupt sleep and the person may wake up throughout the night.
If this pattern continues, the worry about not getting enough sleep can turn into a vicious cycle. There are many effective treatments available, so do consult your doctor. To find out how hypnotherapy can help, read our depression and anxiety pages.
Daily habits and lifestyle can influence sleeping patterns. If you drink alcohol regularly for example, you may find you are constantly waking up in the night. Alcohol is a stimulant and while it may seem easy to fall asleep after having a few drinks, it usually leads to a poor sleep overall. Drugs and caffeine can lead to sleep problems. Any substance addiction is likely to affect how you sleep, so getting treatment is important. If you suffer from insomnia, it is recommended you reduce your caffeine intake.
Working late into the evening can make it difficult for the brain to switch off. Shift work can cause havoc with your internal clock and make sleeping tricky. If your work (or work-related stress) is causing your insomnia, it may be worth reassessing your hours.
Similarly, those who eat large meals late at night are prone to developing insomnia. Common in shift workers, eating late at night causes the body to work harder for longer to digest the food. This process can keep the mind awake.
In some cases, the cause of insomnia can be linked to the neurotransmitters in the brain. Certain chemical interactions within the brain can interfere with sleep. This means some people may have a higher chance of suffering with insomnia.
Treating insomnia is usually only effective when you know what the underlying cause is. Speaking to a professional, such as a hypnotherapist, can help you uncover the root of the problem. Doing this should help you overcome insomnia in the long-term.
The aims of hypnosis for insomnia is to help you relax. Hypnosis works to remove any underlying anxiety issues and improve your sleep hygiene. The hypnotherapist will teach you relaxation methods to practise before bedtime. You will also learn how to deal with the triggers causing the problem.
Relaxation is a vital part of an effective hypnotherapy session. It is important to practise some self-help tips at home to enhance your experience.
Improve your sleep hygiene by practising the following:
- Create a routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps to reduce stress and getting your body moving will make you physically tired.
- Cut down on alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Replace tea and coffee with herbal teas.
- Avoid large meals late at night. Eat lightly in the evening. Heavy meals make it more difficult for your body to shut down during digestion.
- Make relaxation a priority by dedicating some time in the evening to have a warm bath or read a book.
- Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom. Studies have found electronic devices to affect sleep. Try to keep them out of the bedroom and stop using them an hour before bed.
- Write a to-do list. Sleep can be difficult if you are busy thinking of all the things you need to do the next day. Get the worries out of your head and write them down.
- Make your bedroom more sleep-friendly. Ensure your bed and pillows are comfortable and keep your room cool and dark.
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