Having trouble sleeping?
Sleeping problems are constantly in the top 5 reasons to go see a hypnotherapist and there’s a good reason for that. When you suffer from lack of quality sleep it takes its toll on your energy, mood, health and ability to function during the day.
The recommended sleep for most adults is seven to nine hours per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But that doesn't take waking time during the night into account, and it doesn't specify how much time is ideally spent in each cycle. A better definition would include sleep quality and efficiency, instead of hours in bed, said Chris Berka, CEO and founder of Advanced Brain Monitoring. "A complete sleep cycle typically takes about 90 minutes and the rule of thumb is that you need 4-5 full sleep cycles," Berka said. "But there's no evidence that all 7-9 hours have to occur in a single bout.
The sleep cycle
Every 60-100 minutes we go through a cycle of four stages of sleep:
- Stage 1 is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping - breathing slows, muscles relax, heart rate drops.
- Stage 2 is slightly deeper sleep - you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it.
- Stage 3 and Stage 4, or Deep Sleep - it is very hard to wake up from Deep Sleep because this is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body.
- After Deep Sleep, we go back to Stage 2 for a few minutes, and then enter Dream Sleep - also called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - which, as its name suggests, is when you dream.
In a full sleep cycle, a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to four, then back down through stages three and two, before entering dream sleep.
The most common type of sleeping disorder is insomnia and the symptoms for this include waking up too early, difficulty in getting to sleep or having interrupted sleep during the night.
It’s common that people with sleeping disorders also have associated anxiety due to worrying about getting to sleep or waking up too early - a self-fulfilling belief that contributes to the insomnia/anxiety loop.
The NHS offers this advice to help with getting a good nights sleep:
This is known as good sleep hygiene and includes:
- establishing fixed times for going to bed and waking up (try to avoid sleeping in after a poor night's sleep)
- trying to relax before going to bed
- maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment (not too hot, cold, noisy or bright)
- avoiding napping during the day
- avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late at night
- avoiding exercise within four hours of bedtime (although exercise in the middle of the day is beneficial)
- avoiding eating a heavy meal late at night
- avoiding watching or checking the clock throughout the night
- only using the bedroom for sleeping and sex
Common treatments for insomnia
If you suffer from sleeping problems then you need to discuss this with your GP to ensure there are no underlying medical conditions. Once you are given the all clear you will likely be prescribed a short course of sleeping tablets and/or a course of around 4/5 sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
The problem with these treatments is they often don’t address the reason why you aren't sleeping. Sleeping tablets will help you to get to sleep but they come with a host of potential side-effects and can be highly addictive. They also don’t deal with the problem; they just temporarily mask it to surface at another time. CBT isn't a therapy which deals with the deeper underlying issues but rather teaches you a way to think of them differently, but they still exist.
So what about hypnosis?
Well hypnosis deals with the subconscious mind and this is where the problem lies. The sleeping (or lack of it) is merely a symptom for a deeper issue like stress, work or relationship problems, a traumatic past event etc. With hypnosis we can get to the root cause of the problem using a variety of techniques and release it. There are no side-effects to hypnosis, you can’t get addicted to it and it could be the solution if you want rapid change! Hypnosis will help you to relax, not just during the evening before you go to bed but also during the day to help you cope with daily stresses.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re having problems sleeping then give hypnosis a try, you may be pleasantly surprised when you wake up in the morning refreshed, invigorated and ready to tackle the day!
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