In our hectic and fast-paced world, insomnia is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem for people from all walks of life.
Various studies have shown that anywhere between 10% and 60% of the global population suffer from insomnia at any given time and what’s more, insomnia can tend to have far-reaching negative effects on many aspects of our physical and mental wellbeing.
There’s no denying that struggles with sleep can be a real problem, and many people spend years trying to find a method that will help them to cure their insomnia once and for all.
Throughout my career, I have used hypnotherapy to treat several clients with their insomnia, and I truly believe that hypnotherapy is one of the best methods available when it comes to dealing with sleep issues. It can really make a difference when it comes to improving sleep disorders like insomnia, whether short-term or chronic.
Why does insomnia happen?
Insomnia can appear in many forms, including difficulties getting to sleep at night, problems with staying asleep through the night, or waking too early in the mornings. For some people, it is a short-term issue and takes place over a matter of days or weeks, sometimes in response to a stressful event or an illness or injury that a person is dealing with. Other times, insomnia can last for three months or longer, at which stage it is classed as chronic insomnia.
There is no single cause for insomnia, so if you are struggling to get to sleep or to stay sleeping throughout the night, it is always worth considering what factors are affecting you that may be contributing to the problem.
Sometimes, insomnia can be a response to stress, and can be brought on by a state of ‘hyperarousal’ in which a person is on high alert due to stressful things that are happening in their lives, or due to a particularly difficult or traumatic event which may have occurred recently. Stress itself can cause an overwhelming amount of the hormone adrenaline to flood a person’s body, and this can contribute to difficulties in sleeping, as the adrenaline works to keep the person alert and energised.
In some cases, physical pain or discomfort can be a clear-cut cause of insomnia, and people who are dealing with illness or injury can be very prone to suffering from a lack of sleep as a result of this. Digestive issues can also be a contributing factor to problems with sleep. Eating a heavy meal too late in the evening, for instance, can make it difficult for your body to fall asleep, and continuing to do this on a regular basis can cause insomnia to become a longer-term issue.
There is also a wide variety of lifestyle factors that can contribute to insomnia. Many of these factors are increasingly becoming common facets of our everyday lives, which goes some way to explaining the high prevalence of insomnia in today’s world. Our electronic devices, for instance, can affect our sleep patterns when we use them too late in the evening. This happens because the white light emitted by our devices tricks the brain into believing it is daytime, and therefore keeps the brain stimulated. Carrying out other activities such as working or playing computer games late into the evening can also work to keep our brains overly stimulated and can stunt our ability to get to sleep in good time.
Having a healthy and regular sleep pattern is extremely important when it comes to preventing insomnia, and it can be all too easy to fall out of this pattern by sleeping in too late in the mornings, getting into the habit of going to bed too late at night, or regularly taking naps in the daytime.
It has also been found that those who use their bed for other activities besides sleep (for instance, people who make a habit of working in bed) can find it more difficult to get to sleep as their brain stops associating the bed with sleep.
Poor mental health can be both a cause and an effect of sleep disorders such as insomnia. For example, many people who live with anxiety find it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep due to raised levels of hormones such as adrenaline in the body. Poor sleep can then have a knock-on effect on mental health, and can in itself be a further cause of anxiety, depression and many other mental health problems, both common and complex.
Effects of insomnia on day-to-day life
For a person who regularly struggles to get to sleep or stay asleep throughout the night, the experience can begin to become extremely stressful and uncomfortable. This is not the only problem with insomnia, however. A lack of sleep can cause far-reaching effects on the lifestyle and health of the sufferer. A lack of sleep can cause excessive tiredness throughout the day, and has been linked to increased rates of motor accidents. In addition, a lack of sleep can have negative effects on the immune system, making insomniacs more prone to catching illnesses; can cause weight gain due to a decrease in production of the hormones required by your body to feel full; and has also been found to have links with the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to inflammation which can cause issues such as heart disease, and a lack of sleep can also have adverse effects on a person’s fertility and sex drive.
It is clear to see that insomnia is no small problem, and it is extremely important that those suffering from the condition, for whatever reason, to take steps to regain a good sleep pattern in order to preserve their health and wellbeing.
How can hypnotherapy help?
Traditionally, those suffering from a sleep disorder such as insomnia may be prescribed sleeping medications or may try herbal remedies to help them improve their sleep. Over time and continued use, however, these medicines begin to lose their potency, and soon the insomniac finds that their sleep issues have returned in full force.
Hypnosis can be an extremely helpful tool for those dealing with insomnia, and does not tend to lose its efficacy over time. It also comes without the unhelpful side effects that sleeping medications can often cause, including digestive issues such as diarrhoea and constipation; dry mouth or throat; headaches, and changes in appetite.
The word ‘hypnosis’ itself comes from the Greek ‘hypnos’ meaning ‘sleep’! Hypnosis is a relaxed state in which a person suffering from insomnia can be guided to build healthy sleeping habits and patterns. Through hypnotherapy, a therapist can help a client to get to the root cause of their sleeping problems, and adjust any behaviours which may be affecting their sleep patterns.
Hypnotherapy can also be used for clients whose sleep is affected by pain and discomfort by helping the client to reframe their relationship with the pain or uncomfortable feelings, and helping them to feel more relaxed even when they do feel pain.
Hypnotherapy can be used to improve mental health issues such as stress and anxiety, and doing so can also have positive effects on sleeping patterns for those who are suffering from insomnia as a result of these issues.
If you or someone you know is suffering from insomnia, hypnotherapy could be the right solution for you. Get in touch to find out more about how I can help you manage your insomnia and help you to build healthier sleep patterns that will have a knock-on effect on your health and wellbeing in all areas of your life.