Treatment for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
We’ve all been there. The nights when sleep just won’t come or you find yourself waking up in the early hours and you toss and turn, becoming progressively more anxious about whether you’ll ever drop off.
Mercifully, for most of us, these episodes are sporadic, one-off events that come every now and then and disappear for weeks, months or even years. But for others, they can be chronic conditions that happen night after night and have a destructive effect on the individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health in the United States, about 30%–40% of adults say they have symptoms of insomnia within a given year, and about 10%–15% of adults report chronic insomnia (National Institute of Health 2005).
Mentally, not getting enough sleep can lead to anxiety and can make it hard for you to concentrate; it can affect your concentration, alter your mood, increase your stress, and even affect your immune system.
Taking sleep medications can be counterproductive, as your body becomes reliant on the drugs which only makes the problem worse. That is one reason why many people are turning to relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and hypnotherapy, to help with insomnia.
Hypnotherapy has been used in medicine for generations to relieve pain and discomfort and assist patients in overcoming stubborn habits like smoking and alcoholism, as well as modifying behaviour like insomnia.
Most of us will have experienced a disrupted sleep and will know how it feels when you can’t seem to fall asleep. It may be that you are thinking about the next day or have had a coffee too near to bedtime. Perhaps you found it easy to fall asleep, but continue to wake up through the night. Either way, a rough sleep can leave you feeling drained and irritable the next day. Those who suffer from insomnia will experience these feelings regularly.
There are a number of factors to check before seeking treatment for insomnia and sleep disorders, as any of the following can lead to a loss of sleep:
- Poor sleeping environment such as excessive noise or light
- Excess Caffeine
- Alcohol or other drugs
- Heavy smoking
If you feel that any of these factors might apply to you, it is worthwhile attempting to control environmental and lifestyle factors such as too much light, noise, caffeine or other stimulants, or erratic hours, as often great improvements can be made in this way.
Sleep can also be affected drastically by:
- Physical illness
- Anxiety or stress
If you are experiencing any of these factors; or feel that you are suffering from a lack of sleep, or perhaps just feel that you simply “can’t sleep”; then it’s important to get some help before the trend gets too established.
Mental health conditions
Certain mental health concerns can create sleeping problems. For example, a person suffering depression is more likely to suffer from insomnia. The low moods that come with depression can also be intensified when a person is lacking sleep.
Hypnotherapy For Insomnia
The word hypnosis stems from the Ancient Greek word hypnos – which means sleep. Difficulty achieving sleep or staying asleep is often accompanied by an ‘overactive’ or worrying mind. Hypnotherapy can help you change the thoughts and behaviours that keep you from sleeping.
There is a wealth of research supporting the use of hypnosis in sleep disorders including insomnia. A clinical review of hypnosis and relaxation therapies published in the British Medical Journal considered the existing research on hypnosis and concluded that hypnosis was proven to be effective for treating insomnia. (Vickers & Zollman, ‘Hypnosis and relaxation therapies,’ BMJ 1999;319: 1346-1349).