Most of us experience sleep problems from time to time. For some the problem is temporary, but for a growing number of people, insomnia is an ongoing experience that can have a big impact on the quality of life.
You don’t have to go far in any internet search to find lots of helpful advice that can maximise your chances of a good nights sleep (see below). A fair number of my clients with sleep problems have already developed good, practical sleep hygiene habits but are still not getting the rest that they crave.
So, how might hypnotherapy help? Firstly, a good psychotherapist will be able to help you to better manage and lower the main driver for insomnia – worry.*
Hypnosis is an effective way of helping you to re-set the body clock so that the subconscious part of you bypasses the sleeplessness pattern and remembers its own innate ability to sleep.* After all, everybody’s body was born knowing how to sleep wasn’t it?
There are a number of potential causes of sleep disorders, some of which can be bound up in particular health conditions. However, large proportion of insomniacs can be helped with the right support and information. Hypnotherapy and EFT have a very good track record for helping people to achieve better quality of sleep.*
If you have been suffering from poor sleep for a while, I hope you will find some of the information in this article to be helpful.
The human body needs good quality sleep in order to be healthy and energetic. A vital part of the sleep cycle is deep slow-wave sleep, during which time the body repairs and regenerates. Without good quality sleep, it is more difficult for the body to maintain robust health.
It is important to be aware of the needs of the body. If you are engaged in highly stimulating activities like watching tv, playing computer games or surfing the net right up to the edge of your sleep time, you are effectively asking that your body slams the breaks on and does a u-turn in order for you to sleep. Bodies are not designed to behave in such an extreme way – unless they are experiencing an emergency. Paradoxically, emergency responses will then make your body hyper-vigilant to danger, making it more difficult to sleep.
Common causes of sleep disturbance:
- High levels of daily stress.
- Negative Ruminations
- Pain or poor health
- Addiction problems
- Dietary issues
- High metabolism due to late exercise
- Over stimulation due to media or excessive light
- Sleep Apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
If you have been experiencing chronic sleep issues you’ll know that it’s not always easy to get your sleep cycle back on track. Sometimes the cause of sleep disturbance is difficult to tackle – i.e. pain and poor health, high levels of stress or emotional dysfunction. A number of the above issues can be significantly helped using Hypnotherapy and EFT.* If you’d like to find out if your sleep issues can be helped in this way, call me or send an email and I will be happy to assess your case.
Help Yourself with Good Sleep Hygiene
Be aware of your rituals around sleep (this is called sleep hygiene). Create a ritual that will encourage your body back to good quality sleep.
There are a number of ways in which you can help yourself to get back into a healthy sleep regime; often it just requires changing some unhelpful habits.
Exercise at the right time of day is very helpful because it reduces stress and creates tiredness. However, exercising within 3 hours of bedtime can stimulate the metabolism and make it hard to feel tired enough to sleep.
It’s also very helpful to exercise your mind. It is common to be in the habit of wanting to just switch off with something mindless at the end of a busy day but this can be counter-productive when trying to establish good sleep patterns. Reading something interesting is a healthy option, though best not read from a screen because the light from the screen reduces the sleep hormone melatonin.
Bedtime – make a point of going to be before 11pm (ideally 10pm). Every hour of sleep before 11pm is worth twice as much as any hour after midnight. If you have been staying up too late for a long time, it may take a little determination to retrain yourself. Be patient and persistent and you will soon be enjoying a good quality of sleep.
Light – Your sleep cycle responds to light. It is very helpful to dim the lights about an hour before bed, as this will trigger the production of melatonin and slows down the conscious processes. The light from your TV, computer or phone can over-stimulate you, so try to cultivate the habit of switching these things off an hour before bed. If you wake in the night, leave the light off to avoid being stimulated. Try to ensure that your bedroom is dark – ideally you should not be able to see your hand in front of your face.
Eating – The average digestive system begins to wind down between 6-7pm, therefore it is best for you to refrain from eating after that time. If you do eat, you are asking your digestion to ‘wake-up’, which makes it harder for you to sleep. If you are hungry, just have a very small complex carbohydrate snack such as wholegrain toast and a warm decaffeinated drink. Try to avoid eating protein after 6pm and definitely avoid simple refined carbohydrate and sugar, as these will stimulate your body.
Avoid caffeine and excess alcohol. Although alcohol makes you drowsy, more than a glass of wine can sometimes lead to poor quality sleep and early waking.
If you are generally an unhealthy eater, you might find it useful to take a few simple supplements in order to support your body with this sleep issue.
· Take a general multi-vitamin.
· Magnesium is helpful because it has a calming effect and has been linked to improved sleep quality.
· Your central nervous system requires vitamin B complex and Essential Fatty Acids in the form of Omega 3 oils.
Environment – Make sure that your bedroom is a good environment for sleeping. Firstly, ensure that the room is not too hot or stuffy. Do you actually like your bedroom? Are there some simple inexpensive changes that you could make so that your bedroom is more pleasing? Maybe you could move the furniture around or change the soft furnishings. If your bedroom is unnecessarily cluttered or messy, it may help to tidy and create a more soothing environment.
It’s not a good idea to have a clock by your bedside, especially if it has LED display. It only encourages clock-watching which is unhelpful.
Winding down – it can be very helpful to end the day with a hot bath. This is because when you are falling asleep, the body cools down naturally, so the cooling down process after a bath can tricky the brain into a sleepy state.
There are also some very good yoga postures to help with insomnia, so do some research or join a yoga class.
If your insomnia is the result of high stress, try some stress busting strategies like meditation and deep breathing.
Hypnosis and EFT are effective interventions for helping with poor sleep, so if you would like to try it, please send me an email or telephone 01273 500136.*
*Disclaimer: Insomnia can be a tough nut to crack because it is generally a symptom rather than an illness itself. Please be aware that the results of this treatment will vary from person to person and no specific guarantees are being made. Mary Condell always endeavours to give her best work to each client with a commitment to the best possible outcome. Please call to discuss any queries or concerns you may have.