This week, I will cover some self-hypnosis methods of overcoming insomnia.
In last week’s post I explained some background about insomnia – causes and reasons for insomnia, health effects of insomnia, the four stages of falling sleep, and some methods of overcoming insomnia.
Outline of hypnotherapy
As the techniques and methods in this post involve hypnotic principles, I have included this section to explain some facts about hypnosis, as some people have been misinformed about this.
Hypnosis is a state of natural deep, relaxation and concentration in which attention is narrowly focused. Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes, and is conducted very differently to what you may see on TV or in a stage show!
It is a consent state – which means that no-one can be hypnotised if they do not wish to be hypnotised.
However, each of us have a different level of ability (like we have with other things in life) to enter into hypnosis. This can improve with practice. Ability to enter a state of hypnosis has nothing to do with willpower
Hypnosis overall feels very pleasant. It feels very relaxing, but can also involve concentration on your goals. Some people feel tingling in their arms and legs.
Most have a feeling of heaviness or lightness or floating sensation.
- Mostly people are aware of everything that happens during hypnosis, much as they would be if relaxing with their eyes closed.
- Some people do not remember everything immediately, but it will generally be remembered shortly after the session.
- Some people think that they have fallen asleep during the session, but if they respond to requests from the hypnotist during the session, and / or wake up at the end they have probably been deeply hypnotised.
Nearly everybody can go into a hypnotic state. Exceptions include those under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and those with active psychotic illnesses, severe depression, and some other mental illnesses.
We all pass through a state very similar to hypnosis at least twice per day – when we are waking up, and falling asleep.
We also go in and out of hypnotic states naturally throughout the day when focussed on some idea or object. This focus can be internal (daydreaming, internal dialogue, or concentration on an idea) or external (watching TV, at the cinema, concentrating on a task, or listening to music).
So when people state that “I have never been hypnotised” they are incorrect. They have probably been hypnotised many times by the activities just mentioned.
Our conscious mind is approximately 10% , and subconscious 90% of our total mind. It seems amazing (that the unconscious mind is such a large percentage of the total), but if we consider what the unconscious mind does (e.g. temperature regulation, digestion, reaction to danger, blinking, emotions, etc. it is not so amazing.)
When are the conscious or subconscious minds most active?
waking hours – conscious mind more active and not aware of unconscious.
- makes decisions
- critically analyses new information based on our beliefs.
- the unconscious mind also protects us and is ‘on guard’ 24 hours per day, running our body functions, in the background during the daytime.
- unconscious is more active, but conscious mind still active in background
- critical faculty and conscious mind ‘takes a back seat’,
- unconscious not critical or judging, so it accepts whatever it is told as long as it does not contravene our moral code. This is one of the bases of hypnotherapy. If someone while awake was told that they preferred eating fruit rather than sugary food they may not agree. However, if told this while in a hypnotic state, they would very likely accept this idea.
- unconscious predominates – e.g. during dreams.
- physical and mental recuperation
Methods of overcoming insomnia via self-hypnosis and creating restful sleep
Please note: if you have any mental illness, please check with your Doctor before using these techniques.
Slow down thinking
Move your thinking to the fantasy stage by imagining your thoughts slowing down. Only dwell on pleasant thoughts – perhaps imagining a future event going well (if you are worried about it), or remembering a pleasant past event.
Use a box for your worries
If you cannot think of a solution during the day, use a ‘box’ to keep your worries until morning. You can reassure yourself that your subconscious will be exploring solutions during the night. Concentrate on pleasant thoughts while going to sleep, and tell yourself that you are glad you do not have to worry until morning.
Remember / imagine what it is like to be falling asleep
This also involves a degree of fantasy, and pleasant memories, as we find it pleasant to be falling asleep. It also involves concentration, a feature of hypnosis.
Practice relaxation – “body scan”
This involves visualising relaxation moving up your body from the toes upwards, and imagining the areas of your body relaxing and becoming heavy. Relaxation and heaviness move you towards the fantasy and hypnoidal stages of sleep (see post 1). If you do not feel sufficiently relaxed once you ‘reach your head’, then start again from your toes and do it again. The reason that I recommend starting from your toes (rather than your head) is that if your mind is active or you are worried, it can be difficult to relax your head and facial muscles. Once the rest of your body is relaxed, it is easier to relax the facial muscles and head. However, if you find it easier to start from your head, this is perfectly fine 🙂
Control your nightmares
If nightmares awaken you during the night, you can learn to control your dreams. Make an effort to decide if you are dreaming, or situation is real. Once you have done this, and judged that you are dreaming, you can start to direct the dream. (I know this sounds unusual, but if you manage to do it, it works very well.)
Concentrate on breathing
As we need to pass through the hypnoidal stage before getting to sleep (see post 1), focussing on your breath can help to move you towards this stage, and thus towards sleep. Concentrate on the sound of your breath, and the feel of the air entering and leaving your lungs (cool breathing in, and warm breathing out).
I hope this has been of some assistance to you. As a hypnotherapist, I can help you use the power of your subconscious mind to increase the quality and amount of sleep, so please feel free to contact me on 0403 932311.
Please note: If you are concerned about your insomnia, or feel that there could be an underlying medical condition, please see your GP or healthcare provider. This blog post is not a substitute for medical treatment, and is general advice that does not take into account your particular circumstances.