Are your eyes bleary as you read this? Did you just stifle a yawn? If so, youâ€™re not alone because over 30 million adults and over two million children suffer from insomnia every year.
Having worked with hundreds of clients who struggle to get some shut-eye, I know the toll it takes on their lives. And having helped corporations who are working to decrease the expense of an unhealthy work-force, I know the toll it takes on companies too. Did you know that employers spend around $3,200 more in health care costs on employees with sleep problems?
Insomnia is defined as, â€œa prolonged and abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep,â€ and comes in many different forms from not being able to fall asleep, to not being able to stay asleep. Then thereâ€™s transient insomnia, which is occasional and lasts from one night to a week, short-term which can span up to a month, or chronic which can last for a month or more.
No matter what form it takes it wreaks havoc in our lives, havoc in our families, our bank accounts, at work and on the road. Did you know that 100,000 accidents occur annually due to drowsy driving and about 1,500 of those accidents are fatal?
I had one poor woman come in who hadnâ€™t slept for more than a few hours a night in over five years! She lost her job, was unable to drive and felt like she was looking at life through a thick haze and could no longer make sense of even the simplest conversations. Thankfully, that siege on sleep has ended for her and sheâ€™s back to enjoying a productive life. If you have insomnia, you know how challenging it can be. It can affect all aspects of life and can be a living nightmare.
Thankfully, there is help. Our bodies have been designed to get the sleep we need for health. Even though you may not remember it, there was a time in your past, before the â€œinterferenceâ€ came in, when you slept as your body was designed to sleep. That â€œinterferenceâ€ grew in your system over time. Just like the maple seeds that land in the yard in the spring, before you know it, itâ€™s a little sapling. If you pull the sapling early it comes out easily. If not, you really have to put some muscle in it and if you let it go any longer you may not be able to pull it out without help. The seeds of our sleep disturbances are the same. They start very small. For example, one clientâ€™s â€œseedâ€ got planted because of her parentâ€™s tendency to fight after the kids went to bed. Meanwhile, the kids are upstairs, all alone, hearing every word and more importantly feeling the energy of conflict and thinking, â€œIâ€™d better stay awake in case anything bad happens.â€ That seed grew over time and continued to disturb her sleep long after she was grown, out of the house, and married with kids of her own.
The birth of a child is another perfect example of a seed of disturbance. A harried and short-tempered mom came in saying that she hadnâ€™t had a decent nightâ€™s sleep since her first child was born, and her oldest was in her early teens. The seed in that case was, â€œIâ€™d better keep an ear open for any sounds from the baby because if I sleep deeply I might not hear if something happens or if she needs me.â€ One gentlemanâ€™s seed was a past affair that heâ€™d been â€œlosing sleep overâ€ for years. His lack of sleep was his subconscious mindâ€™s way of punishing him for that misjudgment. I had a client just last week whose belief of â€œI donâ€™t have time to sleepâ€, even though sheâ€™s now retired, prevented her mind from being able to relax, let go and sleep.
For children, itâ€™s very often being exposed to age inappropriate scary movies, a nightmare or the fear of being alone. The seeds of sleep issues are always very interesting, and rarely what we consciously think is the cause of the problem.
Stress and Anxiety
More than half of the folks struggling with sleep are doing so because theyâ€™re stressed, anxious or depressed; all things that hypnosis can help with. And all these things winnow back to the class fear of â€œNot Good Enoughâ€. People feel stressed because they think theyâ€™re not capable enough, not smart enough, not organized enough, not something enough to handle the challenges that life throws their way, in spite of the fact that they have successfully handled hundreds of challenges in the past. Theyâ€™re anxious because theyâ€™re afraid theyâ€™re, â€œNot Good Enoughâ€ and that as a result, people wonâ€™t like them, will leave them, then theyâ€™ll be all alone and may not survive.
Depression is the same thing. How can you feel good when you spend the bulk of your day judging yourself to not be as good as others? You simply canâ€™t. I know many people believe that these issues run in families. Iâ€™m like this because my motherâ€™s brother has anxiety. Those are behaviors that have been modeled, so itâ€™s energetic as much as it is genetic. They are modeled thought patterns, belief patterns and habit patterns. Iâ€™m anxious because my mother was a worrier and her mother was a worrier and so on and so forth. OK, did that work for them? I donâ€™t think so. â€œIâ€™m this way because I have a chemical imbalance.â€ How did your chemicals get imbalanced? Did you know that every thought you think releases chemicals in your brain? Maybe your chemicals became imbalanced because your thoughts are imbalanced.
If you think about biting into a lemon you experience a physical response. A pucker, extra saliva, tightness in your jaw â€“ all because of a chemical change in your brain. If you imagine biting into your favorite fruit, maybe you would feel differently, unless the lemon is your favorite fruit. A perfect demonstration that your thoughts control your chemistry. You change your thoughts, you change your chemistry. Your ancestry is not in control of your life, you are.
Hypnosis for Insomnia
So, how do we find the seed in order to pull it out? Thatâ€™s the magic of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a conversation with the subconscious mind and because the subconscious mind holds our long-term memory, it can easily find the time before the sleep disturbance came in and remind the body of its natural ability to sleep. It can also fast forward from that time to the moment that the seed of disturbance came in and can literally clear the seed, releasing that interference, and return the body to its natural, healthy sleep patterns. Itâ€™s like going back in time and picking up that maple seed, and throwing it in the trash, so the sapling can never grow and become an unwanted weed in the garden of your mind. I know youâ€™re probably thinking â€“ that sounds too easy, but it is easy. Most people can work through their sleep issues in less than a handful of sessions. No expensive sleep studies or risk of getting addicted to or experiencing the many side effects of long-term prescription medications.
If your insomnia is caused by something like sleep apnea, you may need to release some weight or require medical intervention to resolve your issue, but most sleep disturbances can be cleared with the help of the subconscious mind. So, if youâ€™re struggling, why not end your nightmare of insomnia now. A good nightâ€™s sleep is the best gift you can give yourself, your family, your employer and fellow drivers.
Tips for Healthy Sleep
Here are some healthy sleep tips that may help you. In addition, I have two wonderful sleep CDs/MP3 on my web-site at www.mindmattershypnosis.com/shop. If that first line of action doesnâ€™t do the trick then come in for a few sessions and weâ€™ll clear whatâ€™s interfering with your sleep and get your life back on track.
- Listen to white noise or relaxation CDs.
- Avoid grains and sugars before bed. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.
- Have a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan needed to produce melatonin and serotonin.
- Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. Light in your room can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal glandâ€™s production of melatonin and serotonin. There should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night.
- Wear an eye mask to block out light.
- No TV right before bed especially the news.
- Read something positive and inspirational. This will help you to relax. Donâ€™t read anything stimulating such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect.
- Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, write down whatâ€™s on your mind so your mind knows that itâ€™s been captured and doesnâ€™t have to remember it all.
- Get to bed before 11:00 pm. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11 pm and 1 am.
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well.
- Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.
- Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it.
- Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.
- Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful sleep.
- Abstain from drinking fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.
- Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep.
- Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it.
- Make certain you are exercising regularly. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day can help you fall asleep. However, donâ€™t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can do it.
- Establish a bedtime routine. This could include meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy or essential oils. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night to help you release the dayâ€™s tensions.
- Put your work away at least one hour (but preferably two or more) before bed. This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrowâ€™s deadlines.