We all know sleep is important. Our sleeping habits affect everything we do. No one enjoys feeling that mental fog or physical sluggishness. Most of us plan to go to bed early enough to get up when we need to. However, sometimes it feels impossible to get your brain to shut off so you can get that sleep you really want and deserve. Whatever it is that makes it hard for us to sleep, hypnosis can help us improve our sleeping habits and have a better quality of life.
Who Needs Sleep?
Sleep is vital to our wellbeing and our health. Without it, we are more susceptible to depression and anxiety, among other problems. How much sleep you get can affect how you feel, think, learn, and function. Sleep helps our mind prepare for the next day and organizes the brain to take in more information. Without sleep, we often struggle to solve problems or control our emotions and behavior. It can destroy our creativity and make it impossible to focus on what we have to do.
We have all seen that child who needs a nap. They are cranky and unwilling to cooperate. As adults, we can get that way too. It is hard to be at our best when our brain is not working optimally.
Our Bodies and Sleep
Our body works best when it gets the rest it needs. Without it, the body does not perform much better than the mind. The National Institute of Health tells us that sleep can drastically affect our physical well-being. It affects the hormones our body produces. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risks of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even obesity. Who would ever have thought that a lack of sleep could cause our blood sugar levels to rise?
In addition, sleep is deeply connected to our immune system and our body’s healing process. When we fail to get enough sleep our body does not have time to repair damaged cells. It can cause our bodies to fail to defend itself against germs or bacteria. It can also prevent the body from building muscle mass.
How Sleep Works
Sleep is a cycle which can be split into two main categories: REM and non-REM. We start in non-REM sleep. Our muscles slow down. As non-REM sleep continues our heart rate and breathing slow down to their lowest levels. The further we go through this process the more disoriented we may feel if woken suddenly. During non-REM sleep our body makes repairs, builds muscle and bone, fights illness , and recharges to do it all over again the next day.
Our mind cycles between non-REM and REM sleep about 3-5 times per night. This means that about 25% of the sleep cycle is spent in REM sleep. It occurs about an 1-1.5 hours into sleep. This is when our brain is the most active. Our eyes dart side to side, hense the name, Rapid Eye Movement (REM). During REM the body does not move. This is currently presumed to have something to do with our dreams. Many scientiest believe that during REM the muscles are paralyzed to prevent them from acting out the dreams that we have. This is the stage where we dream and our mind processes the events of the day.
Did You Know?
Here are some sleep deprivation facts from the National Institute for Health and the National Sleep Foundation:
- Losing even 1-2 hours of sleep per night can cause your brain to function as if you have not slept for a day or two.
- Sleepiness has been estimated to be a factor in about 100,000 car accidents per year.
- People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels fall.
- One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can increase your risk for the following:
- Inflammation in the body.
- Depression and mood disorders.
- Weakened immune response.
- Diabetes and Obesity.
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Bone and Muscle weakness.
- Chronic pain.
- More accident prone.
- Memory problems.
- Microsleep (a state of being semi asleep while awake)
- Groggy (or brain fog)
- Lack of attention
- Struggles in communication and interpersonal relationships.
What Causes Sleep Deprivation?
There are many reasons for someone to be sleep deprived. Stress or anxiety can make sleep deprivation more likely as well. Furthermore, others may have an actual sleep disorder. Our own poor choices and sleep habits can also cause sleep deprivation. If you are concerned that you may have an actual sleeping disorder, it may be helpful to contact a physician to determine if that is the cause of sleeping problems.
Improve Your Sleeping Habits
- Turn off computers or devices about an hour before bed. This is due to the light emitted, which is thought to suppress the natural hormone that induces sleep.
- Exercising before bed can increase your ability to sleep.
- Create a consistent sleep schedule for yourself or your family.
- If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, particularly in the afternoon.
- Determine if noise, light. or even allergens in your room could be making it harder for you to sleep and correct any problems you find.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and heavy meals in the evening.
- Do not watch television or read in bed. These activities can make it harder for the brain to wind down and fall asleep.
If you are still struggling to get to sleep or manage your sleep habits, it may be time to contact your physician to determine the cause of your sleep problems. There may be an underlying cause that you are unaware of. Your doctor may recommend that you see a neurologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, dietitian, or ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) for further evaluation.
It will be easier to determine the best treatment once you determine the cause of your sleep problems. This may include medication or changes in diet and lifestyle. For some people, treatment may require surgery (such as a deviated septum or other physical problem). Your physician may even recommend hypnosis.
How Hypnosis Can Help
Hypnosis is a natural and safe alternative to man medications. Bad habits, anxiety, or negative thought patterns can all be reasons why you struggle to get a better nights rest. Hypnosis may be able to help you if you believe that any of these may be the cause of your own sleep disturbances.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with chronic pain please see our Contact Us page. To learn more about the hypnotic process, please see How Hypnosis Works.