Many people find it difficult sleeping and getting a good quality of sleep. This can lead to a number of physical and psychological issues, including tiredness and feeling irritable. But missing out on a good sleep does more than make you feel groggy and cranky.
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. Science has linked poor slumber with a number of health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system.
Hypnotherapy is extremely effective in treating insomnia. There are many examples of people who have been cured of chronic insomnia by hypnotherapy and one is journalist Shona Hedley of SBS, Australia.
Her story is below:
For a few years after the birth of my two children, I was reminiscent of a Walker from The Walking Dead; dark, hollow eyes, my feet dragging along the ground as I ambled around without energy, my arms outstretched desperately searching, in my case not for humans to devour but for a remedy to help to my chronic insomnia.
As much as I would like to say that this description is an exaggeration, in reality, it wasn’t far off my exact situation. And in my desperation to alleviate my inability to sleep, I had already tried a wide assortment of things. Melatonin (both natural and prescription), antihistamines known for drowsiness, mindfulness, exercise, herbal teas, acupuncture, a variety of sleep podcasts, reading, practising positive sleep hygiene, a combination red light emitting oil diffuser releasing lavender into the air, I changed pillows and bed linen, I ensured the room temperature was not too hot, I avoided stimulants like caffeine before bed, the list goes on and on.
While some of these helped to a degree, none were effective long-term and my lack of sleep would return, as well as that heavy weight of exhaustion that comes along with it.
I got to the point where my GP recommended that I undertake a sleep study to try and determine what the cause of my insomnia was.
I got to the point where my GP recommended that I undertake a sleep study to try and determine what the cause of my insomnia was. So, I did. But after having nearly every part of my body wired up for a night, the results couldn’t determine a definitive reason, it just confirmed what I already knew, that I wasn’t getting much sleep.
A few months later (with a definite case of serendipity), at a totally unrelated medical appointment, my specialist shared with me that his daughter undertook hypnosis to help her with exam stress. He said that he now often referred his own patients to this particular hypnotist for assistance with breaking habits like smoking but suggested that maybe he could also help with my insomnia. While usually I may raise an eyebrow (or two) at an idea like this, at this point in time I was willing to try whatever it took to get proper sleep. So I made an appointment for the following week.
When I arrived, the hypnotherapist, a man in his in his 60s welcomed me into the consulting room. His deep voice soothed me from the get-go as he explained to me what hypnotherapy was, how it worked and how it could help my insomnia.
He told me how hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation – it is the state of mind between when we are asleep and when we are awake
He told me how hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation – it is the state of mind between when we are asleep and when we are awake. This particular state means we are conscious and aware of physical sensations and surroundings but much more receptive to therapeutic suggestions. This state is where he would suggest to me that I could sleep, that it was in my ability and in my power.
Once he had finished this introduction, I was shown to the recliner where I would be seated for the session. I closed my eyes as he instructed, and he counted down from 10. For the next hour I recall hearing his voice, his words of encouragement to go to sleep, to stay asleep, that I could do this, there was nothing stopping me. Other times I had quick flashes, thoughts of how strange this was and even doubts that it would work.
When I was instructed to open my eyes, I felt drowsy, like I’d woken from a nap. He asked me how long I thought I’d been hypnotised for, I replied “20 minutes.” He told me it was an hour. I was in disbelief; time had been lost and that’s when I actually thought this process might work.
Before I left, he provided me with an audio track of him, saying some of these same encouraging phrases. I was instructed to play it before I went to sleep each night, the aim was that it would help me recall the hypnosis session and for it to work more effectively.
And it did! From that night, I have slept nearly perfectly. There is the odd occasion where I still have some issues but for most of the time, I stay asleep for the entire night.
Since that first appointment, I have gone back to my hypnotist twice annually, for what my therapist likes to call ‘maintenance.’ And six years on, it is still doing its magic.