Don’t let insomnia become your ‘normal’

Think about it. Depriving someone of sleep is a well-known tool in the torturer's toolbox. Due to the scale of concerns about the health risks associated with prolonged sleep deprivation, the Guinness Book of Records no longer accepts entries for the "longest time without sleeping". Within 36-48 hours of no sleep, the person will be hallucinating at the very least. Longer, and lack of sleep can lead to organ failure and death.


Your body will attempt to ‘microsleep’ because this state is so essential for everything else to keep running smoothly. Consistently getting enough high-quality sleep is as important for your optimal health and longevity, as regular exercise and the quality of your diet. 

Let's explore some sleep myths and facts.


  • You need eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Some people are bad sleepers, or only need a few hours a night, and there’s nothing they can do about that.
  • Older people don’t need much sleep.
  • Napping in the daytime is just as good as a full night’s sleep.
  • Sleep is a passive state.
  • ‘Pharma care’ (ie medications) offers a long-term solution.


  • Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. After the age of 65 years, this may decrease slightly to six and a half to eight hours.
  • The quality of your sleep can have a major impact on your long-term health outcomes.
  • Our mind can get in the way of our bodies' natural, instinctive drive for sleep. 
  • ‘Pharma care’ (prescribed medications for sleep) taken daily for more than four weeks increases the risk of developing other health issues.
  • Hypnotherapy can support you to retrain your mind so that you sleep better naturally.

When we sleep, our immune system is boosted, cells are repaired and the emotional experiences of the day are processed. Although our body needs and has an innate drive to sleep, many factors in our busy, modern lives can interrupt this natural process. 

Poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of dementia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, stress and chronic pain. Treating chronic insomnia with prolonged use of prescription medications risks developing dependency, addiction, cognitive impairment and daytime grogginess that impacts negatively on normal functioning.

Normal, healthy sleep is an active state for our brain, which goes through several 90 - 120 minute cycles of deep sleep, REM sleep, Light sleep and ‘waking’ briefly to move position, throughout the night. Insomnia may be experienced as difficulty falling asleep initially, falling back to sleep after waking in the night or waking in the very early hours of the morning, after only four to five hours of sleep and not being able to sleep again.

Sometimes life events interrupt our sleep patterns. Feeling tired, we instinctively adapt our behaviour to compensate - for example by taking daytime naps - and this can sometimes create habits that, although they offer immediate relief, prevent a return to regular, healthy sleep patterns. Prioritising healthy, regular sleep habits helps to support and encourage your body’s natural need for sleep. Great ‘sleep hygiene’ will not ‘fix’ insomnia but does reduce the chance of perpetuating it. Working with a hypnotherapist can increase your motivation to establish healthy sleep habits and improve your sleep hygiene.

Cognitive arousal can play a significant role in the development and maintenance of insomnia and sleep disorders. Have you ever experienced how lying awake, worrying about not being able to get to sleep, can make sleep even more elusive? 

When I was a new, breast-feeding mother, with three months of accumulated sleep deprivation, I was driving in good weather conditions, when my car went off the road and tumbled down an escarpment. Both myself and my baby daughter were pulled from the crumpled vehicle more or less unscathed. It was never clear if a tyre had burst causing the car to swerve off the road or if I had momentarily fallen asleep at the wheel, causing the car to hit the kerb, burst the tyre then veer off the road. For many years after, I would experience intense difficulty sleeping the night before I had any long drive ahead of me. Simply knowing how important it was for me to ‘get a good night’s sleep’ seemed to stop me from dropping off. As I watched each hour tick past, I would get increasingly anxious - and more wide awake - while feeling exhausted!

How can hypnotherapy help with insomnia?

Hypnotherapy is a method of teaching and learning ways to manage your mind. Hypnosis induces a state of deep relaxation that calms both body and mind, similar to zoning out or daydreaming. Hypnotherapy utilises this state to help individuals explore, identify and resolve underlying psychological or emotional issues that may be triggering cognitive arousal and contributing to their insomnia. 

Negative thought patterns and beliefs related to sleep can be reframed and replaced with positive suggestions and imagery. Hypnotherapy also promotes a heightened awareness of the mind-body connection, allowing you to tap into your innate abilities to promote relaxation and self-healing. By learning to harness the power of your subconscious mind, you can discover how to have greater control over your sleep patterns and your responses to the stressors that may disrupt your sleep.

The hypnotic trance state has many neurological similarities to the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep state. Sometimes clients experience trance as feeling like being asleep. This may be why it is such an effective treatment approach for many forms of insomnia. 

Hypnosis is not done to you. Just as your music teacher will not play your instrument for you but will show you how to approach and handle it. Hypnotherapy is a well-researched method for learning how to access and manage the amazing capacities of your mind, including the vast processing power that exists outside of our conscious awareness, in our ‘unconscious’ or ‘subconscious’ mind. 

As a natural, complementary therapy, hypnotherapy can safely be used alongside other treatment approaches. If you are experiencing any type of insomnia, get in touch today to find ways to sleep well and feel fully rested. Book a discovery call or ‘email me’ (button below) if you would like to find out more about how I can help you. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, N8 8DT
Written by Issy Harvey, BSc, BA, MA, DipSW, CNHC, CHP, DHPC, NLP
London, N8 8DT

Issy is a writer and a passionate mental health and well-being practitioner, with over 30 years’ experience of solution-focused approaches that enable people to live their best lives. Her special interest is empowering post-menopausal women to thrive (not just survive). Issy has a private hypnotherapy & coaching practice.

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