When we talk about sleep therapy, hypnosis has a good part to play. As a hypnotherapist, over the years I’ve helped many people restore their natural sleep patterns.
Thinking relaxed thoughts to go to sleep is good of course, but not always easy. And if you can’t sleep, the last thing you want is to wrestle with an already racing mind.
Sleep therapy sounds a bit heavy, doesn’t it? But it’s not, and here you’ll find some relaxation techniques that you can use straight away. Later there’s a recommendation for a lovely sleep meditation recording.
Hypnosis for ….
Hypnosis can help you to correct many habits that have got out of hand. Hypnosis for weight loss, for anxiety, for quitting smoking – these are all well known. It can also help with sleep. It certainly should be able to: ‘hynos’ is Greek for ‘sleep’.
As we fall asleep, we pass through a lovely state between waking and sleeping when we feel kind of floaty. When we wake up, unless we are woken up by an alarm or some other some other trigger, we pass through that state again. The name for this is the hypnogogic state.
Hypnosis and sleep certainly have an affinity.
The surprising first step in your sleep therapy
The key is a relaxed mind – which doesn’t mean an empty one. That’s almost impossible. It means one where our thoughts stop causing tensions in our body. But if you try to think yourself out of thinking, things can get very tense indeed.
So, instead of straining your mind to calm down, your sleep therapy to relax your mind in fact begins with relaxing your body.
Next time you go to bed, notice your neck when you are intending to sleep: often we find our neck shortened into our shoulders. Stretch it and lower your shoulders, then release the muscles. Stretching and then releasing relaxes us – that’s why we do it.
Notice where you may be tense, and stretch or move those areas and then let them go. Thinking about doing this this also takes your mind out of those thoughts that might have been racing through it.
About those thoughts that seem to crowd in: often it’s because we’re trying to solve a problem. Often it’s one where we can’t think of a solution, or else we would and then that would be that. Or we can and then we’re worried that we won’t remember what the answer was in the morning.
To repeat ‘Deposit your concerns’ from the Homepage – Get better sleep: 10 things to do –
Some people that I interviewed about their good sleeping habits said that they imagine and picture some kind of receptacle beside their bed. They then mentally and deliberately deposit their concerns and ideas into that box or basket (ideally it has a lid!) until the morning. If another one floated into their minds, they simply mentally lifted the lid and popped it in there.
Interestingly, none of these people know each other, yet each one had developed this creative habit.
And a lesson here is; do not read whodunnits in bed. Your brain is structured to solve problems. It will hunt for whodunnit whether it’s a work of fiction, or a real-life situation.
To sum up:
1 Relax your body and interrupt your thoughts
Get warm and comfortable, notice any tensions, stretch or squeeze them then release the muscles.
Now turn your attention to your toes. Give them a little wriggle, then let go. Then spread them very gently, and let them go. Feel how they feel different – lighter.
In that mental space that you have created, you can move on to
2 Relax your mind ; your sleep mantra
A mantra is a word or sound.
- Pick a word that you love and that is simple and positive.
- Check your physical comfort, warmth and relaxation then repeat this word rhythmically and gently. What will happen is that, with repetition, the word will lose its meaning and you’ll just be repeating a ‘mental sound’. Truly, this can be very relaxing and can keep your mind happy and those other thoughts at bay.
- If you find thoughts crowding back, just take a deep breath, check your physical relaxation, gently stretch or move to remove any tensions that might have crept in, and away you go with your chosen word: your sleep mantra.
- Deposit any concerns or ideas that come to mind.
Extra tip: if possible, lie on your side to go to sleep. If you lie on your back, your body is likely to remain in a meditative or hypnogogic (in between) state rather than go to sleep.
One more: for sleep therapy, ‘sleep’ is a good mantra!
This may be all you need to get into a drowsy state that leads to sleep. However, if you would like a helping hand – or voice (and it’s lovely indeed to be led and helped by someone with something we’ve tried so hard to overcome on our own) there’s this:
Sleep therapy, hypnosis and Paul McKenna’s book and guided sleep meditation (my review)
It’s not unusual for people to go to sleep during sleep therapy while sitting in the armchair in my clinic in Sherborne. (And it’s lovely when they do, because often they really need it.)
Paul McKenna’s book ‘I Can Make You Sleep‘ is about restoring good sleeping habits, and includes a sleep induction recording. We all need a little help sometimes and that includes me: I bought this book in 2011 and have used it very happily.
I have great respect for Paul McKenna although I could wish that he chose better titles rather than ‘I Can Make You…..’ for his books on losing weight, quitting smoking etc. But as a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner and trainer of twenty years or so myself, I can only applaud the effective way he puts these things together through his own extensive learning and experience.
I do receive a small commission for recommending this publication (and the other finds on this site), but I do so because I have used it, and many others by him, and know them to be good work.
Click on the text link below to find out more: please read the customer reviews for more information – there’s nothing like first- hand experience.
Happy days! and peaceful nights…