How solution focused hypnotherapy can help with sleep
Challenges in life can affect us all in different ways. Events that are out of our control can leave us with feelings of stress and anxiety. These can feel impossible to manage at times, but it's important to remember how much support is out there for us.
If you find yourself spending too much time and energy worrying, why not channel that energy into something you can control — self-care. Finding something you can positively focus on, that you can control, can be helpful and sleep is a natural fit for working on self-care, as we know that getting enough sleep can benefit your immune system.
Sleep is one of the most undervalued components of health in today’s society. It’s come to be regarded as optional. If we don’t put enough importance on our sleep it can have consequences on our health.
Short term sleep deprivation causes:
- Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Raised blood pressure.
- Impairs the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
- Activates the nervous sympathetic system – our flight or fight response.
- Makes us feel anxious in situations causing nervousness.
- Increases the levels of inflammation in the body and in our skin.
- Affects our immune system.
If you have a good night’s sleep, your goals for rest and relaxation, exercise and better eating choices become easier. Because sleep plays a role in our metabolic pathways i.e. our body functions.
However, when faced with particularly difficult or stressful situations, it’s little wonder that our sleep quality may become difficult to initiate or maintain or just not as good as it could be. When you feel like you can't escape a stressful situation it can become all-consuming to our thoughts. And this is certainly no invitation for beckoning the calm brain waves of sleep. Our overactive sympathetic system - our amygdala - our flight or fight switch, is being left on!
Imagine a laptop, you may close the lid at the end of the evening, but if it’s not properly switched off, the fans, programmes and routines will still be running; still active. And so, it is for our minds.
So how can solution focused hypnotherapy help to improve your sleep?
In order for sleep to be initiated our overactive mind needs to calm down. We need our parasympathetic nervous system (sometimes called the rest and digest system), to be triggered. It conserves energy as it slows the heart rate and relaxes our body. It’s the system that takes the Amygdala off high alert. And to do this we need to relax. Relaxation is the strongest, most powerful treatment for symptoms created by anxiety and stress, and hypnotherapy can help to invoke a deep, relaxed state by mirroring REM.
At night when we sleep, our brain enters a specific state called REM or Rapid Eye Movement. In this state, we are able to empty our ‘stress bucket’. We all have a metaphorical stress bucket that can easily fill. The more stress and worry we have in our lives and on our minds the bigger the load we carry. Which in turn has a negative impact on our ability to sleep properly. Sometimes you may even find yourself waking up at 3 or 4.00 am and not being able to go back to sleep. Because we have limited REM during the night - about 20% of our overall sleep - we are unable to deal with all the anxiety, negativity and worry created during the day and this can create a backlog and raise stress levels generally.
In Solution Focused Hypnotherapy the aim is to reduce anxiety levels by promoting positive thoughts and feelings and thereby regularise sleep patterns. The REM state is a trance-like state similar to daydreaming and is a deep form of relaxation. When we fully relax, we can take control of our emotions, calming the nervous system and triggering the parasympathetic system, which takes the Amygdala off high alert.
In a typical session, whether in person or conducted online, clinical hypnosis encourages REM to occur which reduces stress and over a period sleep patterns improve. Usually, a relaxation audio is provided in the form of a CD or MP3 download which can recreate the trance state outside of the sessions and can be very helpful to listen to before going to sleep to relax and reduce tension before bedtime.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with feelings of stress or anxiety, it's important to remember that you're not alone. You can take back control of these emotions and improve your sleep, which will then serve you better to deal with any difficult situation you may be experiencing. To find out how hypnotherapy might be able to help you, visit Hypnotherapy Directory and contact a therapist to find out more.