Sleeping Problems & Insomnia

Sleeping Problems & Insomnia Treatment with Hypnosis & NLP – Hertfordshire

Sleep deprivation is when you are not sleeping the right amount for your individual needs.
Insomnia is not getting enough sleep, either because you can’t fall asleep or you can’t stay asleep. Most of us suffer the occasional bad night’s sleep, but when it goes on for three or more weeks it can be very concerning.

Signs and symptoms

Tip-offs that you are not getting enough sleep typically include falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, regularly need an alarm clock to wake up, or feel the need for frequent naps during the day.

Signs that you are suffering from sleep deprivation include:

  • difficulty waking up in the morning
  • poor performance in school, on the job, or in sports
  • increased clumsiness
  • difficulty making decisions
  • falling asleep during work or class
  • feeling especially moody or irritated

Sleep deprivation can be dangerous for you and others, since it affects your ability to do things properly, like operate machinery, equipment, driving or carry out work tasks without mistakes. Chronic sleep deprivation is also thought to cause long term changes to the body, and contribute to increased risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Your Sleep Problem and Potential Causes
If your sleeping problem has gone on for more than a few weeks, it may occur in any the following three ways:

  • Difficulty getting to sleep; then a deeper psychological or emotional cause may possibly be involved
  • Disturbed sleep – frequently waking up and difficulty getting back to sleep; then a psychological or emotional cause is likely
  • Waking up early in the morning – in which case your REM sleep is depleted (see below); very likely psychological or emotional factors, including depression (New Scientist article).

Dealing with Insomnia? Possible Causes and Steps to Take 

There are many potential factors that may or may not be involved in your particular sleeping problem. People are unique, and insomnia is a catch-all category that covers a wide range of different symptoms and contributing causes.

Important factors to rule out first
Possible factors can include medical issues, including problems with drinking or taking recreational drugs, or other psychological conditions. These are matters for your doctor, of course. If these are ruled out, then it’s fair to say that most sleep problems are fairly easily resolved without the need for hypnosis to help you sleep.

Your environment
Next, think about your environment, lifestyle and routines, which may be contributing to the problem.  Making changes here will very often resolve your sleeping problem, and you can easily find lots of advice to help.

Mind Re-training
Ongoing stress in our lives can certainly disturb our normal sleep. Passing phases of stress can also cause problems, which should settle down in time. When things don’t, it can be that we have ‘forgotten’ our normal sleeping pattern which has been disrupted. More rarely, it can be that an underlying worry is at the root of the problem.This worry or concern can be something that we don’t want to think about, maybe because we’re too busy, or we can’t see a solution, or it’s too unpleasant.  It may be totally outside our normal everyday thoughts. All of these causes of insomnia are very suited to treatment with hypnotherapy and NLP.

How Hypnosis and NLP can help
Did you know that treatment with hypnosis – hypnotherapy – can help with insomnia in these four ways?

  1. Teach you to relax, using self hypnosis to train your mind
  2. Stop negative thought patterns at night
  3. Treat underlying causes of stress which may be keeping you awake
  4. Make up for lost REM sleep (New Scientist Article)

A properly trained and experienced hypnotherapist will assess your particular case and propose a treatment programme designed for you.  In my case, I carry out that assessment in the first one-hour session, and we go from there.

Sleeping Problems & Disorders in Adults & Children – The Facts

Sleep is regulated by an internal body clock, and is sensitive to light, time of day and other cues for sleep and awakening. Understanding how sleep naturally varies through the night can sometimes help you make better choices to improve your sleep. There are two very important types of sleep. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is when you do most active dreaming, and deeper Non-REM sleep. Both kinds are vital, and cause their own problems if disturbed.

read more about understanding the sleep cycle

Healthy sleep goes in cycles throughout the night, passing gradually through deep restorative sleep and more alert stages and dreaming. As the night progresses, we spend more time in dream sleep and lighter sleep. Typically we experience three to five cycles of about an hour and a half each through the night.

Should I sleep during the day? Cat nap or Powernapping
If you are having trouble sleeping at night, it is good advice try to eliminate napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and sleep no longer than about thirty minutes.

Research shows that a mid-day sleep, or ‘powernap’ can make you more alert, reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning. Specifically, you have more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency and better health. 20 minutes in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning (though the last two hours of morning sleep have special benefits of their own). The body seems to be designed for this, as most people’s bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoon, about 8 hours after we wake up.

Loss of deep sleep
You are most difficult to awaken in deep sleep, but if you are you’ll likely feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes. Deep sleep allows the brain to go partially ‘off-line’ which it needs to get on with a variety of essential physiologically restorative tasks – such as to do with energy. If we have not had enough deep sleep, the brain makes this a priority to recover first, and reduce the time spent in REM sleep

REM sleep (Dream Sleep)
You reach your first REM sleep towards the end of your first seep cycle, after about 70 to 90 minutes sleep. You usually have three to five REM episodes per night. This stage is associated with processing emotions, retaining memories and relieving stress. Breathing is rapid, irregular and shallow, the heart rate increases, blood pressure rises and sexual arousal may occur.

Improving your overall sleep will also increase your REM sleep, since it is sacrificed if you don’t get enough deep sleep. If REM sleep is disrupted one night, your body will go through more REM the next to catch up on it. Studies have shown that better REM sleep helps boost your mood during the day. 

Sleep Disorders
There are a range of classified sleep disorders that you may come across in both adults and children. These include Nightmare disorder, Sleep Terror Disorder, Sleepwalking disorder, Restless Legs Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder, Narcolepsy, Sleep Paralysis, Sleep Myoclonus. Somatic dreams.

Read more about Sleep Disorders

  • Nightmare Disorder Also called dream anxiety attack. Mostly affects children. Frightening dreams that occur during REM sleep, with associated increase in heart rate and breathing rate, profuse sweating, and arousal. Usually the sufferer remembers the scary dream in detail and responds to soothing and comforting by a parent or caregiver.
  • Sleep Terror Disorder (night terrors) Extreme panic and a sudden, loud, terrified scream during sleep, followed by physical activities such as hitting objects or moving in and out of the bedroom, which may result in injury. They are not nightmares as there is no visual content, and mostly occur during deep sleep. Usually full or partial amnesia, and may be accompanied by sleep walking.
  • Sleepwalking Disorder Carrying out complex automatic behaviours, such as wandering aimlessly, carrying objects without any purpose, going outdoors, even driving. Usually  eyes wide open in a stare. Consider them to be in deep trance. They may mumble, and communication with them is usually poor or impossible. This disorder occurs during NonREM sleep. 
  • Restless Legs Syndrome An overwhelming, irresistible urge to move the legs (and sometimes the arms), sometimes with an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs. Often worse in the evening or at night, leading to insomnia.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep. Repetitive and rhythmic (‘periodic’) movements occurring about every 20-40 seconds. The movements often disrupt sleep and lead to daytime sleepiness. 
  • REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder  Sufferers will act out distinctly powerful dreams that are vivid, intense, action-packed, and violent. This can include talking, yelling, punching, kicking, sitting, jumping out of bed, arm flailing, and grabbing. An acute form may occur during withdrawal from ethanol or sedative-hypnotic drugs.
  • Narcolepsy Sufferers can fall asleep while working, cooking, or even driving. Sleep paralysis may also occur. Usually starts between the ages of 10 and 25, and is a lifelong condition, but certain lifestyle changes and medical help can reduce symptoms and improve alertness.
  • Sleep Paralysis  Momentarily losing your ability to move either as you fall to sleep or as you are awakening. Fairly common and harmless.
  • Sleep Myoclonus This is a sudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles – for example jerking your leg. Often occurs harmlessly in the early stages of sleep, especially at the moment  of ‘dropping off’. However, it may be a symptom of more complex and disturbing sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome.
  • Somatic dreams These are dreams that foretell of illness. 

Image courtesy of Graur Codrin and num_skyman at freedigitalimages.net

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