Hypnotherapy in Bristol, London and Taunton for insomnia
Some insomnia is only poor "sleep hygiene," but very commonly there is a worry about sleep, or an underlying cause such as depression, stress or anxiety. If the first case, my list of the very best tips for a good night's sleep may be all you need. When the sleeplessness is caused by stress or something else, then hypnotherapy, combined with cognitive self-help and deep relaxation techniques is the ideal way to bring back deep, sweet, sleep.
Much of the information on this page is based on the research of the Sleep Research Unit at Loughborough University.
The amount of sleep you need varies enormously from person to person. Typically it is 7 – 9 hours, though children need more and older people much less. And sleep of 5 or 10 hours a night is common and perfectly normal. In addition, a little-known fact is that it's perfectly OK to wake for an hour or so in the middle of the night. The notion that we need eight hours sleep in a block is an invention of industrial society. In his diary Samual Pepys talks of his sleep patterns and evidently was not surprised, and found it normal, to wake for while in the night and calmly lie there. This natural sleep pattern has become historically lost. Sometimes, if you can lie there calmly and without anxiety or your mind racing, dealing with "insomnia" is a simple as relaxing and thinking "Like Samual Pepys, it's natural for me to sometimes be awake in the night for a while." So insomnia is not defined in terms of a certain amount of sleep, but in terms of how you feel as a result of the sleep you get.
The pattern of insomnia varies. Maybe you feel tired when you get into bed, but then toss and turn, turn and toss, with your mind racing with a thousand things. Or maybe you get off to sleep easily, and then wake with a Zing!, bright and energetic at 3:00 am and can't get off to sleep again. You wake feeling unrefreshed, have a lethargic or irritable day ... and increasingly dread night-time and the stuggle to sleep.
Sleeping tablets bring a limited relief of course, but many people instinctively don't want to rely on artificial aids for such a basic natural function. Sleeping tables also progressively lose effect, can cause dependence, do little to make you feel better next day, and in careful studies some types actually do not increase sleeping time by all that much (instead they give you amnesia for the time you were awake!) Hypnotherapy offers a gentle and effective approach, which is very popular with insomnia sufferers. Because hypnosis communicates directly with the inner mind, it can directly address the unconscious habit of bad sleep in a way which other methodologies cannot.
To the surprise of insomnia sufferers, a majority of people with insomnia sleep for around about 6 hours per night. It feels much less because it is typically ten minutes or so of dozing sleep, a minute or two of wakefulness, and so on, repeated. The time awake feels endless, but actually there is typically enough good sleep to give you a minimum night's sleep. Insomnia sufferers have a rotten "didn't sleep well " feeling the next day. But most often, they do not experience the key sign of extreme lack of sleep, namely tending to fall asleep the following day. In fact, they get adequate sleep. My experience is that sufferers find this hugely re-assuring to know.
Are you sleepy right now? There's an informal fun test of sleep reaction times at the Wellcome Foundation "tiredness test" page.
Typically, insomnia is caused by one of several things:
Not all sleeplessness is actually insomnia.
A good many people who think they have "insomnia" actually have their body clock (circadian rhythm) running early or late. This is called Delayed (or Advanced) Sleep Phase Syndrome. Teenagers are notoriously nocturnal, sometimes to the point where they can't get up for exams. Disrupted sleep phase affects shiftworkers also, as well as others. These people naturally just don't feel sleepy until 1:00 am or later, and then can't wake up until very late in the morning. But they don't have insomnia because if allowed to sleep and rise at their preferred time, they sleep soundly. If this may be you, it is well worth considering using a light-box to reset the circadian rhythm. The list of insomnia tips below has some details and links.
As mentioned above, historically it was considered normal is wake sometimes in the night and lie calmly in bed for an hour or so. If you get enough sleep and feel OK the next day, this may just be something to accept. Of course if you wake with your mind racing or anxious, that is a problem.
There's also a symptom called "sleep-state misperception insomnia." In this, people claim they don't sleep at all, even though actually they do. They will often argue vehemently against records which prove they do sleep, but happily, once they believe the records, the feeling of insomnia goes away.
Finally, never assume any physical symptom is "only in the mind." ALWAYS go to your doctor with insomnia or any physical symptom, to rule out an underlying diagnosis. These include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and hyperthyroidism.
You will probably be offered sleeping pills. In my view definitely aren't the answer, and you don't have to take them. They are controversial even with doctors; the effects wear off, they can lead to addiction, and what's more when you come off them a withdrawal symptom is - insomnia. But it can be comforting to know they are by the side of the bed if needed, even if you only use them occasionally. Check that the pills you are offered are suitable for such occasional use.
If you would like to take the first step to heal your insomnia and have a good night's sleep, then just give me a ring. Call any time of the day or night - if it's 3:00am, call right now! - and leave a message, and I'll call you back. 0845-3510604 / 0117-968-7307. I'm happy to answer questions or arrange, in Bristol or Taunton, a free, no-obligation half-hour initial meeting. My approach is friendly, respectful, and very effective. My approach is friendly, respectful, and very effective.
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.
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