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  • Writer's pictureKate Roberts

Can Hypnotherapy Help With Insomnia?


Key Takeaways -

  • Many individuals are affected by sleep disorders such as insomnia.

  • Hypnotherapy can be used as an alternative treatment for insomnia.

  • The goal of sleep hypnosis is to identify and treat the root causes of insomnia to enhance the quality of sleep.

  • According to research studies, hypnotherapy an treatment option for insomnia.




Sleep is undeniably one of the most vital aspects of your overall well-being, crucial in maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. A good night's sleep allows your body to repair and rejuvenate, improve the immune system, and support optimal brain function.


Unfortunately, many people, like yourself, may struggle with insomnia, a sleep disturbance characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early, leading to daytime impairments such as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.


As the quest for effective insomnia treatments continues, you might be considering alternative approaches, with hypnotherapy emerging as a promising option.


In this blog post, we will explore the potential of hypnotherapy for those grappling with sleep problems. We will discuss its principles, the connection between hypnotherapy and sleep, and the scientific evidence supporting its use.



What is Insomnia?


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it hard for you to fall asleep, stay asleep or causes you to wake up too early and STRUGGLE to get back to sleep. When you experience this, it can leave you feeling tired and unrefreshed, even after a full night's rest.


Insomnia can also affect your mood, energy levels, and overall QUALITY OF LIFE. It is one of the most frustrating challenges you might face in your pursuit of restful sleep (as if adulting wasn't hard enough already!).



What Are The Symptoms Of Insomnia?


When it comes to insomnia, several common SYMPTOMS can disrupt your daily life and make getting a good night's sleep daunting.


  • Difficulty falling asleep at night

  • Waking up frequently during the night

  • Trouble getting back to sleep after waking up

  • Waking up too early in the morning

  • Feeling tired and unrefreshed upon waking up

  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness

  • Difficulty concentrating and focusing on tasks

  • Irritability, mood swings, or anxiety

  • Increased errors or accidents

  • Persistent worries or concerns about sleep



Types of Insomnia


When it comes to insomnia, it's essential to understand that there are various types, each with unique characteristics and underlying causes, which can help guide the most effective treatment approach.


  • Acute Insomnia: This type of insomnia is short-term, typically lasting for a few days or weeks. Stress, a significant life event, or environmental changes often trigger it.

  • Chronic Insomnia: Chronic insomnia lasts for an extended period, typically at least three months. It can be a primary or secondary condition resulting from other factors, such as medical issues, mental health disorders, or substance use.

  • Onset Insomnia: This type of insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night. It can be related to anxiety, an irregular sleep schedule, or lifestyle factors, among other causes.

  • Maintenance Insomnia: Maintenance insomnia refers to difficulty staying asleep throughout the night, resulting in frequent awakenings or waking up too early in the morning. Various factors, including stress, medical conditions, or poor sleep habits can cause it.

  • Comorbid Insomnia: This type of insomnia occurs alongside another medical or mental health condition. The two conditions often influence each other, with the presence of one exacerbating the symptoms of the other.



Causes of insomnia


Insomnia can have a variety of causes, ranging from lifestyle factors and psychological issues to underlying medical conditions. Here are some common causes of insomnia:


Stress And Anxiety

Worries related to work, school, finances, or personal relationships can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can also contribute to insomnia.


Depression

Insomnia can be both a symptom and a cause of depression. The relationship between the two is complex, and treating one often helps improve the other.


Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, sleep apnea, asthma, or gastrointestinal issues, can disrupt sleep and lead to insomnia.


Medications

Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can interfere with sleep, including certain antidepressants, stimulants, blood pressure, and allergy medications.


Poor Sleep Habits

Irregular sleep schedules, napping too close to bedtime, engaging in stimulating activities before bed, or creating an uncomfortable sleep environment can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.


Pro Tip: Good sleep hygiene is essential for healthy sleep.


Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol

Consuming these substances, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep and contribute to insomnia. Especially for those with chronic insomnia, it is important to avoid caffeine late in the day and alcohol close to bedtime.


Aging

As people age, they may experience changes in their sleep patterns, resulting in insomnia. Older adults may also have an increased risk of developing medical conditions that can interfere with sleep.


Shift Work or Jet Lag

Irregular work hours, such as night shifts, can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythm and make it challenging to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Similarly, traveling across time zones can cause temporary insomnia due to jet lag.



Can Hypnotherapy Help With Sleep Disorders: Insomnia?


Hypnotherapy can potentially help with insomnia, but individual results may vary. Insomnia can have various UNDERLYING causes, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or medical conditions.


Hypnotherapy addresses these factors by accessing the subconscious mind and PROMOTING relaxation, stress reduction, and positive behavioural changes.


During a hypnotherapy session, a hypnotherapist expertly guides the individual into a deeply

RELAXED STATE, known as a trance (no pocket watches or "you are getting sleepy" required!).


In this state, the person is more receptive to suggestions and can explore the root causes of their insomnia.


The therapist may suggest new coping mechanisms, healthier sleep habits, and improved thought patterns related to sleep, offering a potentially transformative experience for those struggling with sleep issues.


Pro Tip: Cognitive behavioural therapy can be used with hypnotherapy to treat insomnia.


Is There Any Scientific Evidence?

There is some scientific evidence SUPPORTING the use of hypnotherapy for insomnia. Studies have shown that it can help improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and increase total sleep time.


A comprehensive study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine examining results from 24 different research papers reported that more than half (58.3%) of the included studies found evidence that hypnosis could benefit sleep [1].


However, MORE RESEARCH is needed to establish the long-term effectiveness of hypnotherapy for sleep disturbances and to determine the best practices for its application.



Frequently Asked Questions


How Many Hypnotherapy Sessions Are Needed For Insomnia?

The number of hypnotherapy sessions for insomnia varies per individual. Typically, 4-6 sessions may show improvements, but severity and responsiveness influence outcomes. Consult a professional hypnotherapist for tailored recommendations based on your unique needs.


What Is The 20-minute Rule For Insomnia?

The 20-minute rule for insomnia suggests that if you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. This strategy prevents associating the bed with frustration and wakefulness [2].


Should You Use Self Hypnosis for Insomnia?

Self-hypnosis can be a beneficial tool for managing insomnia, but it is best practiced under the guidance of a qualified professional. A hypnotherapist can teach you self-hypnotic techniques and guide you through the practice in a safe and supportive environment.



Conclusion


Hypnotherapy may not be a surefire cure for insomnia, but evidence suggests that it can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve sleep quality.


It is important to discuss any underlying mental health issues or medical conditions with a qualified professional before attempting hypnotherapy.


Additionally, take steps to ensure good sleep hygiene and make lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption close to bedtime. With the right guidance, hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool in changing your sleep habits.



Sources -

  1. Chamine I, Atchley R, Oken BS. Hypnosis Intervention Effects on Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 2018;14(2):271-283. doi:https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.6952

  2. What Is Sleep Hygiene? | Sleep Foundation. Sleep Foundation. Published April 17, 2009. Accessed April 18, 2023. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene


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