The sequence of sleep disturbances varies:
- Some people find it difficult to go to sleep and toss around at night listening to their partner’s snoring and deep breathing until the early hours of the morning.
- Other people go to sleep without difficulty but on the dot of early morning hours (three or four o’clock in the morning) they will wake up and find it almost impossible to go back to sleep again.
- Still other people cannot achieve what we call REM sleep. They hover between light to moderate sleep patterns so that when they wake up they feel even more tired than when they went to sleep. This is because they cannot manage any deep sleeping patterns. As clients describe it: “it is as if I am running and working in my sleep; I am on a rollercoaster….”
The important question is…
Why do some people find sleep such a luxury that they crave every night for while others sleep off like a baby and wake up after six/seven hours feeling fresh and energetic?
There are several reasons:
1. Cognitive over activity and conditioned habit patterns incompatible with sleep: over analysis of past events, ruminations during pre sleep, conditioning oneself “it’s no use; I will not sleep!”. Often the mind is kept so busy working that even if we do fall asleep we find that we wake up and carry on thinking from exactly where we dozed off!
2. Central Nervous System excitation: anxiety, tension contained in the muscles which keeps indicating to the mind that the person has some unfinished work and cannot let go. Anxious people keep thinking in a seemingly vicious circle so that they never reach deep sleep or find that they cannot relax enough to fall asleep, even if they have a nice glass of wine or a hot bath.
3. Underlying (unconscious) conflicts or fears that disrupt sleep: often the mind has been conditioned to always maintain control because in the past (maybe early childhood, or after a trauma or major loss) losing control of their emotions left them feeling too vulnerable, fragile or fearful.
The mind does not let go even and the result is that the mind remains awake. If we sleep the unconscious mind starts working on our fears and this is what leads to dreams /nightmares. We have conditioned our brain not to let go and keep a good check on these fears with the results that it will not allow us to sleep. Eg. a woman went through a major divorce; she spent hours thinking about the past and the events so that when the sense of release comes, she should be able to let go and relax; surprisingly enough it is then that she finds she cannot go to sleep.
In my experience as a hypnotherapist I believe sleep problems are the unconscious mind remaining in a state of alarm. The unconscious mind is that part of our brain that learns all our responses in life and then responds to similar situations almost instinctively. So once you have learnt to walk as a baby you do it without thinking after that; once you have learnt driving you drive without thinking too. In the same way, sleep is a natural and instinctive response to a state of safety.
A hypnotherapy client who has recovered their ability to sleep soundly says:
“It happened in just two sessions!! I have never been a great sleeper but I took that as natural until I got married and was amazed that my wife could sleep off like a log while I am still brushing my teeth….by the time I came to bed she was sleeping like a baby. Then we actually had our first child and then I lost my sleep, however light and less, completely. I just could not go back to sleep after the first time the baby woke us up in the night.
Seeing me arrive to work as a very tired and stressed man, my boss suggested therapy and I looked into Hypnotherapy. I came to the first session thinking “there’s no way she can make me relax. I have been so tensed lately!” But within fifteen minutes I was deep into that craved- for world of peace where my mind became so quiet and calm I was amazed it could happen to me…”
By the end of the second session, where Amreeta taught me self-hypnosis, I was sleeping very deeply by starting off with my self-hypnosis when I went to bed; we ended after three sessions and I am writing this after four months of having last seen Amreeta in Wokingham and I am very happy to sleep a full night’s sleep after long agonising years of sleepless nights. Hypnotherapy has given me back my sleep!!”
Hypnotherapy comes to the rescue within two or three sessions; the mind of an insomniac has been conditioned (either through stress, anxiety or habit) to stay awake and thereby despite changed circumstances later on in life, you find that the old habit keeps you awake.
During hypnotherapy we access the unconscious mind where all the programming and conditioning has been stored and help you change that past programming and set newer, more constructive ways of behaving. More importantly we program the mind to go back to sleep properly and in a state of safety. In a nutshell we retrain your unconscious mind to become natural and safe with sleep so that you go back to sleep as you used to when you were born.
Are you ready to enjoy a great night’s sleep again?
Amreet Chapman, Psychologist and Hypnotherapist, Reading, Wokingham, Windsor and Woodley
Website: www.innerpotential.info Article Posted – 17th June 2008. Copyright Amreeta Chapman