If you've ever had a disrupted night's sleep, you know only too well how it can affect you the following day. Sleep serves many vital functions both physically and mentally. So, if you're being deprived of the sleep you need your body may not have time to complete the phases of sleep needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Not only do you wake up feeling tired, less prepared to concentrate, make decisions, or engage with the day ahead. Long term it can lead to burn out and spiral into further mental health problems.
So, let's explore what insomnia actually is, how it happens and what you can do to put your sleep issues to bed once and for all.
What's the difference between insomnia and sleep deprivation?
If you're suffering with insomnia, it refers to your inability to sleep adequately, either in length or quality, despite the opportunity to sleep. So even if you're willing to sleep, tucked up in bed nice and comfortable insomnia keeps you awake wondering when you'll drift off.
Sleep deprivation on the other hand refers to externally imposed restrictions on your opportunity to sleep. Perhaps your job keeps you working late, or your children need attending during the night or you're just not allowing yourself enough hours for sleeping. Whatever the reason it all adds up to losing precious hours of sleep you need to function at your best. So, it's important to spot the warning signs and issues which can cause insomnia.
What causes insomnia?
- Emotional issues such as stress, anxiety and depression are common causes of insomnia. Having issues sleeping then tends to make anxiety, stress and depression worse, so getting support to treat these emotional issues is key to overcoming your insomnia.
- Medical conditions and diseases including asthma, allergies, Parkinson's disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer can contribute to insomnia. Chronic and persistent pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
- Medication can also impact sleep, including antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, corticosteroids and some contraceptives.
- Sleep disorders. Insomnia is itself a sleep disorder, but it can also be a symptom of other sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and circadian rhythm disturbances tied to jet lag or late-night shift work.
The good news is that you can begin to overcome your insomnia by taking action to address the underlying causes and with some simple changes to your daily habits and routines, you can break the cycle of sleepless nights. Here are my top tips to help you sleep:
Four things you can do to sleep better:
1. Create good sleep hygiene
Think about the changes you can take to create better sleep hygiene and a relaxing bedtime routine. Create a plan of action identifying the things which are easy to change such as a regular bedtime and waking time, avoiding stimulants before going to bed (e.g. cigarettes and caffeine), having enough exercise during the day, creating a quiet, dark and comfortable bedroom and removing all electronic screens from the bedroom.
2. Practice positivity
Turn negative thoughts and worry around. Think about the positive aspects of the day and celebrate success. Your brain triggers thousands of neurons with every thought and these neurons combine to form a neural network. Repeating the same thought process triggers the same neurons so, when we make a conscious effort to recognise the positive things in life, we build new helpful thought patterns which helps to reduce anxiety and promote good sleep.
3. Visualise change and find solutions
Finding solutions harnesses your power of expectation. What would life be like tomorrow if you slept well? What would you be doing differently? What would friends and colleagues notice about you? Creating a positive expectation, visualising that actually happening will strengthen the likelihood of a positive outcome. Begin with one small change, what one thing could you do differently to promote better sleep?
4. Seek out professional support
Reaching out for professional support can be a big step, but has many lasting benefits, it's often the start of real focus and change for my clients. There are many therapies available and Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help you relieve the symptoms of insomnia in a positive and uplifting way. Research shows that hypnotherapy is a highly effective treatment for helping people suffering from the underlying factors that lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation such as stress, anxiety and low mood.
How does Hypnotherapy help to overcome Insomnia?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a type of 'talking therapy' combining the use of psychotherapy with hypnosis. It is a positive and enjoyable process which helps overcome the underlying anxiety or habits which may be contributing to insomnia, which in turn improves sleeping patterns and provides the support needed to make the lasting changes.
Our minds follow well-trodden neural pathways, including unhelpful thought patterns and hypnosis uses guided relaxation techniques to help your mind relax bringing the conscious and subconscious minds together to focus on positive suggestions which may be helpful. All clients receive a hypnotic relaxation audio track to use at bedtime to enhance our work and it helps them fully relax each night before sleeping using guided relaxation techniques to calm the body and mind, so they're able to sleep better each night and feel better.
Are you getting the sleep you need?
If you'd like to improve your sleep, please get in touch for a discussion in confidence and explore if solution focused hypnotherapy is a good fit for you.
Feel free to book an initial chat or get in touch to ask for advice or ask questions