There are an array of sleep problems people suffer from, including issues with falling asleep, waking in the middle of the night (sometimes 2 or 3 times), sleeping too lightly and the inability to go back to sleep.
Each problem can have serious consequences to one's health. The result of poor sleep varies from person to person, however long lasting fatigue and lack of energy seems to be universal. Feeling stressed with a foggy, unproductive mind can cause overeating or drinking too much caffeine to compensate for the low energy and results in being overweight and having an oversensitive nervous system. Grumpy, sleep deprived people have trouble with relationships and work.
Some people seek their doctor's help and begin to use medication to sleep. Medication may work but side effects may be unbearable and there is always the worry of becoming dependent on the medication or getting used to it and needing a higher dosage. All of this can lead to additional stress.
Worry is the most common cause of not falling asleep. Leftover issues from the day affect the body's ability to unwind and the mind to quiet down. One continues to stimulate the other, leaving the sufferer laying awake, watching the clock and feeling restless. It becomes a cycle of stress, worry, fear and sleeplessness.
Some people fall asleep easily, only to their dismay, wake two or three hours later. The first reaction is to look at the clock and think "Oh no it's only 2am, I've only had 3 hours of sleep!". Then the mind starts running "What if I can't fall back asleep?" "How will I function tomorrow?" If this pattern happens more than occasionally it can become a terrible habit because the expectation that you will wake up programs the subconscious mind to wake up! A terrible catch 22! The inability to go back to sleep after waking is a product of the mind getting stimulated and beginning to think and worry.
The treatment for all types of insomnia is two fold. First the mind has to be retrained back into a healthy sleep pattern. This is done by releasing stress held in the body, as well as stressful worry thoughts and anxiety or fear feelings that come with it. Only then can the mind reclaim the blueprint of deep peaceful sleep that we are all born with. Sleeping like a baby really does mean something!
A CD or MP3 recording of a hypnosis session is a powerful tool in the retraining process. You listen to it as you go to sleep every night for about two weeks. If you wake up, listen again. In this way the subconscious mind is re-programmed back into a healthy sleep pattern, falling asleep more easily, staying asleep, going back to sleep if one does wake up (to go to the restroom is the most common reason) and waking in the morning well rested and alert. Through the power of suggestion a person can temporarily double their sleep (one hour equals two hours of rejuvenation and rest) to help make up for the prior sleep depravation.
The second part of the treatment is eliminating sleep disturbances by looking for the source or the issue behind the insomnia. For the majority of people it is due to work or personal stress or a concern for safety for themselves or others, like children. It is possible for a one time or repeated traumatic event to create insomnia. People that were abused often have sleep difficulties. One of my clients was sound asleep when a man entered her bedroom to steal her laptop computer. He was reaching over her when she woke up startled and terrified. It resulted in her inability to sleep through the night alone and created a startle response and hypersensitivity to any night noise.
Usually within two to four sessions of in-person hypnosis or by listening to the recording the positive sleep pattern can be re-established. The stress or traumatic events are neutralized so that they don't trigger the sleep disturbances. The mind and body work once again together, resulting in a restored restful, revitalizing sleep.
Remember - day time is for thinking, doing, creating and solving problems. Night time is for resting, healing, renewing and refreshing our bodies and minds. It is important to our overall health and well being to separate the two.
© 2011, Hypnosis Concepts. Publication rights granted so long as article and byline are reprinted intact, with all links made live.
By Laurie Miller, CCH Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
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