In modern society, sleeping for a long time is sometimes seen as a sign of laziness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sleep is one of the most beneficial gifts you can give to your health, just like exercise and eating a balanced diet. And for some, sleep hypnosis is a way to achieve these benefits.
Unlike exercise and eating healthy, though, you can’t simply decide to sleep. Your brain has to be on board, and this makes it difficult for many people to get the sleep they need. In fact, 25% of Canadians report having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most of the time or all of the time. If you’re one of them, keep reading below.
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What Is Sleep Hypnosis?
Sleep hypnosis is a broad term that refers to using hypnosis to help you sleep. It can come in many forms and varies based on exactly what type of sleep problems you’re having: getting to sleep, staying asleep, achieving deep sleep, and so on.
In its truest form, this sleep treatment involves a trained and knowledgeable hypnotherapist using hypnosis techniques while treating you. Those techniques bring you into the altered state of consciousness known as hypnosis: a deeply relaxed state in which your brain is highly focused while blocking out the outside world. The hypnotherapist can design your sessions to help you get to sleep more quickly, reach and sustain deep sleep, or overcome other sleep challenges.
What Is Deep Sleep Hypnosis?
You may hear the terms “sleep hypnosis” and “deep sleep hypnosis,” so what’s the difference? It’s simply a matter of word choice. The two terms are often used interchangeably, although the latter may be used to focus on deep sleep.
How Does Sleep Hypnosis Work?
Hypnosis is fascinating for the medical community because we don’t entirely understand how it works. We know that it is an altered state of consciousness that involves deep relaxation. We also know through brain scans that certain parts of the brain are more and less active during hypnosis.
In particular, hypnosis increases activity in a brain area called the default mode network or DMN. The DMN is an area that contributes to introspection and self-reflectiveness. For this reason, researchers believe that hypnosis helps people become more aware of their bodies so they can better react to their bodies’ needs and sensations.
So how does all of this help you sleep? It can work in many ways. Sleep hypnosis sessions can help you better learn how to control your mind and body and lull it to sleep when it’s time to go to sleep. These sessions can also address the reasons you’re having trouble sleeping, like anxiety, in addition to training your brain to associate certain sounds or sensations with sleep so you can more easily put your brain into “sleep mode” at home.
How Effective Is Sleep Hypnosis?
While we don’t know exactly how this type of hypnosis works, we do have strong evidence that it can be effective. In fact, studies have shown sleep hypnosis to improve insomnia symptoms in not only adults but children as young as age seven.
There are numerous studies that have found improvements in sleep quantity and quality after this form of sleep treatment. One study into sleep hypnosis and deep sleep, for example, found that it improved deep sleep by up to 80% in patients.
As with many treatments and topics in the medical community, though, it is still being studied. Some studies remain inconclusive, so there are many variables that can affect whether the treatment is successful.
How is Sleep Hypnosis Done?
In sleep hypnosis, there isn’t necessarily a uniform step-by-step process because each treatment is tailored to the patient and their needs. There are many different methods a therapist can use to guide your brain into hypnosis, such as:
- Guided imagery or guided meditation
- Breathing exercises
- Progressive relaxation, in which you isolate and relax one muscle group after another
- Disrupting your balance and equilibrium, such as by laying down and moving your head from side to side
While you are in hypnosis, your hypnotherapist can use specific strategies to help you reduce anxiety, train your brain for better sleep, or otherwise address the reasons you are struggling to sleep.
Benefits of Sleep Hypnosis
Like any other treatment, it will be more beneficial for some people than others. It is, however, a promising technique that can offer a variety of benefits.
One of its most common uses is treating insomnia: difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. It can help you learn ways to better lull your brain into sleep and to perceive your body’s sleep signals.
Better Quality Sleep
Your health is affected by not only the quantity but the quality of your sleep. There are certain types of healing and biological processes that only happen when your body is in a deep sleep. Sleep hypnosis can help your brain to more efficiently reach and sustain deep sleep.
Safe, Natural Sleep Aid
Many people with sleep problems are hesitant to use sleep aids and sleep medications because they can have significant side effects. They may also interact poorly with other medications or certain health conditions, and they can impact your ability to drive or perform other activities because you don’t know how long their effects will last.
Sleep hypnosis, on the other hand, is highly natural and generally safe. Research reviews have shown no side effects in nearly all cases, and it can even be used safely for kids.
Potential Drawbacks of Sleep Hypnosis
Every medical treatment needs to be viewed from a lens of pros and cons or potential benefits and risks. Fortunately, in the case of sleep hypnosis, the risks and potential drawbacks are minimal when it is performed by a knowledgeable professional.
Like any other form of therapy, it will take some time. Most people will start with a series of sessions to begin experiencing the effects, and those sessions take time. However, sleep problems can have a severe impact on your quality of life as well as your long-term health. For most patients, the time investment is a negligible price to pay for getting their sleep back on track. And for many others, it gives them genuine hope for improved health and overall wellbeing.
Possible Adverse Reactions
While it is rare, there are cases in which people have adverse reactions to sleep hypnosis. It primarily happens in people with certain mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. This is why it is so important to work with a knowledgeable, experienced hypnotherapist who can evaluate and minimize your risk for adverse reactions and can adequately address those reactions if they happen.
How SRx Can Help You Sleep Better
Sleep issues are complex challenges that may involve your mental health, physical health, life circumstances, past trauma, and much more. For this reason, the best way to treat sleep problems is under the care of your physician within a multi-faceted health system so you can get any type of care you might need within one trusted group that can efficiently coordinate your care. That is precisely what SRx Health has to offer.
Our comprehensive healthcare system can provide or refer you to the care you need without the hassle of jumping around between numerous unrelated providers. Contact your nearest SRx Pharmacy to discuss sleep problems and various solutions to help you sleep better..