This article looks at sleep. We will look at insomnia, its symptoms and causes. We also will look at some theories about why we need to sleep at all. I will talk about sleep hygiene and give some helpful tips for when you can’t sleep and how to fall asleep when you have disturbed sleep. I will also talk about how, as an insomnia hypnotherapist, I use hypnosis to help you sleep deeply through the night.
I have included some helpful infographics and created a special audio hypnosis to sleep deeply, which I hope you will find beneficial and support you sleeping better and sleeping more deeply as well. If you would like to discuss more about how I use hypnosis to improve sleep, please get in touch.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: What causes insomnia?
Insomnia symptoms may be caused by a number of possible factors. These range from a medical condition, unhealthy sleeping habits (poor ‘sleep hygiene’, more on this below), over use of substances such as caffeine and alcohol, too much sugar, your use of laptops or other devices close to bedtime or by specific psychiatric or psychological conditions.
Your brain and body have cycles. We normally have a clear sleep cycle and a waking cycle. When one cycle is turned off, the other one will be on. It follows that insomnia can occur when these cycles are not functioning well.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Medical causes of insomnia
If you can’t sleep, there are several medical conditions which could cause insomnia. The condition itself may be directly causing insomnia. However in many other situations the condition may create symptoms which in turn simply make it difficult to fall asleep. Some examples of conditions that can cause insomnia include chronic pain, asthma, gastrointestinal problems such as reflux, endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism, sinus or nasal allergies, arthritis, or lower back pain.
Restless leg syndrome is a neurological condition in which a person feels an involuntary need to move his or her leg. Having restless leg syndrome can lead to disturbed sleep patterns and a lack of deep sleep, since it feels uncomfortable at night. Often restless leg syndrome will be experienced as worse later on in the day and so feels worse at night. It’s estimated that even as much as 10% of the population will experience restless leg syndrome.
Another common sleep disorder is sleep apnoea. During sleep apnoea, the person’s nasal or lung airways will become obstructed, leading to pauses in breathing and a drop in levels of oxygen coming into the body. This will then cause the sufferer to wake up repeatedly for short periods during the night. It is common for people with sleep apnoea to experience insomnia.
If you find that you can’t sleep or experience insomnia symptoms, it is important to exclude any serious causes, so it is recommended to seek professional medical advice. In certain cases, medication can cause insomnia. For example medication taken for high blood pressure, heart disease, birth control, asthma or depression, may cause insomnia and a concern that you can’t sleep.
Listen to my hypnosis to sleep deeply YouTube audio.
This relaxing guided audio is ideal to help you fall asleep at night. Find somewhere to lie down, where you won’t be disturbed. Enjoy using headphones.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Depression and insomnia
Psychological struggles can make it difficult to fall asleep. People with depression many wonder how to fall asleep with such an active mind with constant worries or unhelpful thoughts. Changes in mood or hormone levels can also bring about feelings of depression and sleeping problems. Check and notice your mood and simply ask yourself, ‘Do I feel depressed?’ Often this simple question will be a good way to initially assess whether you are indeed feeling depressed.
Depression can be short lived and may go away or can last for a longer period of time. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of depression, such as a lack of interest in enjoyable activities, feeling sad, or experiencing low energy levels. Often depression is accompanied by insomnia symptoms. However, depression is often treatable, so seek attention from your GP or talk to a qualified therapist.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Anxiety and Insomnia
It’s quite normal to occasionally find it difficult to fall asleep, especially when you have worries or anxiety is on your mind. If anxiety is disturbing you over a number of nights, you will feel tired during the day too. It could be worth seeking help to look at the anxieties in more detail. During sleep hypnosis sessions, I will frequently look in greater depth at underlying thought patterns.
Anxiety symptoms that can lead to insomnia can include excessive worrying, feeling overwhelmed, a general heavy feeling, or a tension in the chest. Other anxiety symptoms include a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms and so on. It seems totally logical that someone experiencing anxiety symptoms would find it difficult to fall asleep and begin to wonder how to fall asleep at all with so much stress. Anxiety may also mean that the quality of the sleep is reduced as well. To begin again to sleep deeply, it is very important to discuss lifestyle habits as well.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Lifestyle and sleep
If you’re experiencing insomnia, notice what you’re eating, your usage of electronic devices, your work life balance and any daily stresses. Insomnia can be exacerbated or caused by your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
Get honest about your lifestyle choices! Do you stay up very late or wake up too early or too late? If you work from home, ensure your work space and sleep space are not one and the same. Ensure you can differentiate between your home life and your work life. So, don’t spend all day in your pjs. Rather shower and get dressed. If you’re a shift worker or work irregular hours, your body clock may become confused, so ensure that your schedule remains regular and doesn’t change too frequently.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Short-term insomnia becomes long term insomnia
Often people who come for sleep hypnosis sessions, will explain that their insomnia started out short-term but then turned into a more long-term problem. This can happen, for example, if you’re going through a stressful situation. You may have one or two nights when you can’t sleep. You might then adopt some unhealthy habits to deal with it, such as getting up in the middle of the night to watch television, drinking too much alcohol before bed and so on. The insomnia may then turn into a longer term, chronic problem. Many people who approach me for hypnosis support for addictions or for overeating or alcohol reduction notice that their sleeping patterns are disturbed as well.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Worrying about falling asleep
You may find worries or thoughts about falling asleep keep you more awake. The more you try to fall asleep, the more you worry about not falling asleep. It can become a vicious cycle. These worries about how to sleep can be varied, but may include, for example, “I’ll never sleep”, or “I can’t fall asleep”. Addressing insomnia will often include addressing those thoughts as well. During treatments such as insomnia hypnotherapy or hypnosis to sleep deeply or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia, your therapist or hypnotherapist will look at these thought patterns.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Insomnia, food, alcohol and smoking
As mentioned, eating habits and what you drink, be that caffeine or alcohol, can affect your sleep. Alcohol is a sedative and it may initially help you fall asleep, but you may find that your sleep is later disrupted or you sleep less deeply than you need to. Caffeine is a stimulant, which is why we often start the day off with a coffee. Caffeine will keep you alert and though it may be a great way to start your day in the morning, excessive caffeine can cause insomnia. Caffeine can stay in your system for several hours, so ensure you reduce caffeine intake after lunchtime. Eating heavy meals close to bedtime may also disrupt your sleep as your body is using energy to digest your food.
Watch your smoking. Nicotine also is a stimulant and can cause insomnia. Often people smoke in order to relax. However, smoking does not really relax you at all and smoking is, of course, damaging to your health. Think about ways that you could cut back on smoking and replace nicotine with healthier and calmer ways to look after yourself.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene can be defined as those practices or habits which you find conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. Think about what supports how to fall asleep at night. Look at your bedroom and if the atmosphere is relaxing. Notice lifestyle and the other considerations we have mentioned here. What helps you relax? Would a hot bath, herbal tea, hypnosis for sleep or meditation exercises, or reading help you unwind?
Sleep hygiene involves looking at your habits and behaviours during the day as well.
In the morning, ensure you have a regular time at which you wake up. This can be difficult if your work does not start at a regular hour or you’re a shift worker. Keeping regular and fairly set hours for going to sleep and waking up will help your body regulate its systems and promotes good health.
During the day ensure you eat healthily and take in some exercise. Eating at regular times helps strengthen and support your body so that you’re not going hungry for too long. Check how much water you drink, so you are adequately hydrated. Moving your body can really help improve the quality and quantity of the sleep you have at night. You may want to do some more strenuous cardiovascular exercise, but also consider more gentle exercise such as yoga or Tai Chi. These help your body become calmer and relaxed.
Studies have shown that exercising too close to bedtime may in fact prevent you from falling asleep, something you may have experienced personally also. Ensure you do not exercise for an hour or two before bedtime.
During the evening, notice your sleep routine. Some ideas in this article can help change how you organise the hour or so before you go to bed. Remember our advice such as not relying on alcohol to get to sleep. Check the light levels in your room and whether your curtains stop the light coming in from street lighting. Sleep quality can be affected by too much light. Notice also your bedroom temperature and noise levels. A really important sleep hygiene consideration is your actual bed and pillows. Ensure that your mattress is supportive and comfortable. Check your pillows are of good quality, clean and support your breathing and posture.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: Why do we sleep?
I don’t know about you but I find sleep somehow very fascinating. During the day we’re awake and aware of our thoughts and actions. Then we fall asleep at night and have dreams, often vivid dreams in which we go into fantasy worlds. How important is dreaming to a refreshing sleep, is an open question. During your dreams you might play out different roles and imagine things that can’t even be possible in reality. Some people even have lucid dreams. In lucid dreaming you actually gain a degree of consciousness during your dream. The lucid dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming. They have the ability to act and change at will events occurring as they dream. Through hypnosis, it is possible to improve sleep quality and hypnosis can help you sleep more deeply too.
Experts have come up with a number of theories as to why we need sleep at all. If you can’t sleep, you may lose out on these natural mechanisms which support your wellbeing.
Repair and restoration
According to this theory of sleep, slumber helps the mind and body repair and restore itself. Sleep is like a car going in for a service. Our body, whilst relaxed, can work on restoring, repairing and revitalizing our physiological processes. This is to ensure that both your mind and your body remain in great shape, are healthy and are functioning at an optimum level. Support from research has shown that rapid eye movement (R E M) sleep will increase after periods of physical exercise or lack of sleep. This means that when you do go to sleep, there is an increased rate of cell division and protein synthesis. As such sleep allows the brain to, as it were, perform its tidying and housekeeping tasks, ensuring you are at optimal functioning. If you suffer from insomnia, have jetlag, or simply can’t sleep, you will feel less refreshed.
The evolutionary theory of sleep
According to this theory, sleep or rather how much sleep we need, has come along as an adaptation to ensure we survive and live well. According to this theory, we go through periods of activity or inactivity in order to maintain a balance of energy. If you think about early man, back in primitive times, there would have been times of day when danger was higher or times of day when hunting or work were more suited. Our sleep patterns therefore need to support survival and health. Researchers point out that other species have been shown to sleep varying hours. They consider these differences to also be due to evolutionary or survival needs. For example animals that are natural predators will have shorter sleeping periods, often sleeping only four or five hours.
Information consolidation theory of sleep
According to this theory, based on cognitive research, we sleep in order to process the information and data we have acquired during the day. This idea might ring true with you, especially if at night you often are lying in bed processing and thinking thoughts about your day. In a sense, sleep, therefore allows the brain to prepare for the next day or for what is coming in the future. Sleep helps embed into our long-term memory data or information we have learnt. Several studies support this theory and those studies demonstrate that a lack of sleep will have a serious impact on memory function and the ability to process information.
The cleanup theory of sleep
This theory suggests that sleep is the way the brain, in a sense, cleans itself up. It does this by removing toxins and waste that accumulates during the day. The brain cells produce toxins during normal activity and during sleep the fluid which flows through the brain increases and acts as a form of waste disposal unit cleaning.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: How much sleep do you need?
The body is very clever. It knows exactly how much our heart need to pump, how much our lungs needs to breathe and also exactly how much sleep we need. Yet it’s not always easy to get enough sleep. Some people use a sleep calculator to assess how many hours they require. Here is a sleep infographic that lists the amount of sleep that different age groups require.
Hypnosis to sleep deeply: How to sleep better tips
If you can’t sleep easily or sometimes experience insomnia symptoms, here are some helpful tips. You will agree that getting enough sleep can sometimes be much easier said than done in practice. We all have experienced wakeful nights, when we simply can’t sleep. This might have been due to too much stress or anxiety, over thinking or an over active brain. Sometimes our insomnia symptoms seem to have no clear cause. Here are 10 tips to help you sleep better.
One – Sometimes it can be difficult to fall asleep because you’re thinking so much about how to fall asleep or why you can’t sleep. It can therefore be useful to only go to sleep when you actually really feel sleepy. Ensure that even if you go to bed late, you consistently get up always at exactly the same time in the morning. Set an alarm clock to ensure this happens. Having a stricter routine around sleep will help the body gain equilibrium around your sleep hygiene and hopefully when you do sleep, you will sleep deeply through the night as well.
Two – If you head off to bed and notice that you’re simply not falling asleep within about 15 to 20 minutes, it may be wise to get out of bed, stand up, walk around, and then try again later. Resist putting pressure on yourself or talking to yourself harshly or getting annoyed about not falling asleep. Don’t stress about how to fall asleep. If you can’t sleep, these thoughts and self criticisms will themselves make it harder for you to relax because you will work yourself up into a state.
Three – Consider whether taking a nap during the day will be helpful or not. For many people taking a nap during the day can be a great way to feel refreshed and ensure they get their work done. However many find that taking a nap during the day means they can’t sleep well at night and experience insomnia symptoms.
Four – When you wake in the morning, it can be really helpful to have natural light as soon as possible, even going outside if feasible. If you don’t feel sleepy at bedtime, having natural sunshine in the morning is a great way to help reset your body’s natural rhythms. You probably have already noticed that if you wake up and it’s dark outside, it’s that much more difficult to get out of bed and feel awake. So having natural sunlight as soon as possible, when you wake up, is advised
Five – Do you spend time in bed for many hours before or after you actually sleep? To sleep deeply and reduce insomnia symptoms, it can be helpful to restrict yourself to only being in bed for the amount of hours that you sleep. For example, resist the temptation to read or watch TV in bed for many hours before bed time. You may find that you’re trying to fall asleep, but your partner is watching television. See if you can discuss with them about changing this routine. You may fall asleep with the television on, but that sleep may be lighter and of lower quality.
Six – Avoid mixing up messages about what your bed or bedroom is for. Use your bed only for sex or sleep. If you do activities in your bed which are ‘daytime’ or stimulating activities, then the association of being awake and your bed will be made in your brain. You want to see your bed and begin to relax already. If you want to get sleepy faster, as soon as your head hits the pillow, it’s good to ensure that your mind doesn’t see your bed as place or work, TV, devices or eating. Your mind takes cues from your environment as to whether it’s in a zone of quietness and relaxation. This brings us to the concept of ‘sleep hygiene’. Sleep hygiene is about how you ensure your activities and home environment supports falling asleep easily and sleeping deeply.
Avoid using your bed for extended periods for eating, using devices or watching television. Pay attention to the room that you sleep in. What does your bedroom look like? Is it cluttered or untidy? Does it smell nice? If it needs tidying up, tidy it up. Sometimes a bedroom or living space can be a reflection of how you feel about yourself inside. An untidy, cluttered or dirty room may reflect a lack of self care you feel towards yourself. So consider the lighting, add in some nice smelling candles, tidy up your dirty socks and give a dust and vacuum if needed.
Seven – Devices such as iPads, phones and laptops with stimulate, as they have bright screens. Bright lights can prevent hormones which make us sleepy from being produced. It’s not just the light which affects our sleep, but also the activities we might use our devices for, can keep us awake. So reduce your use of social media, dating apps and reduce playing online games and ensure you turn off your device a good 30 minutes before you wish to go to sleep.
How to fall asleep more easily is to use this pre-sleep time to create a relaxed sleep routine. Sleep hygiene can involve those practices and activities that you do to help you unwind. Consider when you do tasks such as brushing your teeth. Consider some sleep hygiene ‘rituals’ such as having some herbal tea or reading a book.
Eight -It’s okay to wake up once or twice in the night. In fact for many people, that is perfectly normal. Do not allow getting up to worry or concern you during the night. If you are getting up frequently, can’t sleep and you are sleeping for only short periods of time, then you may wish to discuss this with your doctor.
We go through different sleep cycles from a lighter sleep to a deeper sleep and REM sleep. These cycles last approximately 90 minutes, so it can be common to wake up when you come to the end of the light sleep stage of the night. You can use a sleep calculator or software app to monitor these cycles. If you do wake up, how to fall asleep again, might be by simply turning over and not allowing you mind to overthink why you woke up in the first place.
Nine – Don’t sit watching the clock all night. In fact, I’d suggest you turn the clock around. You can become quite obsessive by checking your clock or your phone too frequently. If you are checking your phone and using it, this bright screen will be stimulating as well. Many people in fact find it helpful to have a simple alarm clock in their bedroom. They keep their smart phone in another room, reducing the temptation to use it.
Ten – You may find it hard to fall asleep because you have lots on your mind. However right now it’s time to sleep and it’s not the time for a long drawn out discussions or planning the whole of the rest of your life. For some people, keeping a diary or journal is helpful to note down these late night thoughts. Often just simply writing down what’s on your mind helps you let go of thinking or being so stressed. Write out a list of concerns that are on your mind. You can then put this list aside, making an appointment or time for yourself to discuss or think about them the next day.
Bonus tip 11 – At the end of the day, before going to bed, it can be really beneficial to review the day in a positive way. Make a list of three or four things that you are grateful for. Make a list of three or four things that you did during the day that you feel good about or helped you feel proud about yourself. These don’t have to be big things but simply small aspects of your day that you enjoyed and you felt pleased about.
How does hypnosis help you sleep more deeply?
Hypnosis is really quite a natural choice if you are having trouble falling asleep or troubled by insomnia. This is because hypnosis or hypnotherapy itself is about calming the mind and body. For people who suffer from insomnia symptoms, hypnosis can help relax you, helping you let go of the day’s worries and concerns and fall asleep.
I help people in London using hypnosis to reduce insomnia and gain a good night’s sleep, hopefully sleeping deeply and feeling refreshed upon waking. Through hypnosis, you will learn easy to use techniques that you can use to help you fall asleep. Some of these will be based on Mindfulness. For some people that find it difficult to fall asleep, this can be due to anxiety or depression or other factors. During sessions of hypnosis to sleep better these factors will be looked at in depth as well. My London hypnosis for insomnia treatment will help reduce and remove barriers or obstacles preventing you from letting go and drifting off.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how hypnosis can help you sleep deeply, get in touch and find out more about my Central London hypnosis sessions.