Insomnia is one of the more common symptoms of stress and depression. While clients come to my office with a wide range of symptoms to eliminate, most of them have a sleep disturbance in addition to the symptom they have come to eliminate. Whether you have a hard time falling asleep, or you fall asleep promptly and then awaken later and are unable to fall back to sleep, you have insomnia.
THERE ARE FOUR TYPES OF INSOMNIA
PSYCHO-REACTIVE INSOMNIA: This is caused by tension. The subject gets into bed and begins to think about the activities that went on throughout his day. He or she may think about what has to be done tomorrow or some other problem. The person's mind is keeping them awake with worry. In addition, they may begin to worry about getting to sleep because they have to waken in the morning. The person may worry that they may become ill or die from lack of sleep.
ENDOGENOUS INSOMNIA : This is caused by a discomfort within the body ranging from indigestion to pain.
EXOGENOUS INSOMNIA: This is caused by external disturbances such as noise or a partner's snoring. This is the easiest type of insomnia to cure.
FUNCTIONAL INSOMNIA: This is caused by a functional problem in the subject's sleep-wakefulness center in the brain.
Many people have had insomnia of such long-standing that they also develop an irrational fear of getting into bed. They are afraid to get into bed because they expect to lie awake. This negative expectancy will bring about insomnia all by itself. An understanding of the human organism is the first prerequisite in bringing about a cure to insomnia.
HERE ARE THE FACTS
No one has ever died from or become ill from lack of sleep. The body and mind will get at least the minimum amount of sleep that it needs, no matter what. If you lose some sleep one night, the next night you will get some additional sleep to make up the loss.
We all have an internal clock. This internal clock brings about an apex (valley) of fatigue in cycles. Although the cycle is different in each individual, it generally runs between four and six hours. In other words, every four to six hours, you will experience your maximum fatigue, and this will be when it will be easiest for you to fall asleep. After the valley of fatigue, you will experience a renewed feeling of energy and at this time it will be quite difficult to fall asleep.
Although subjects complain of not having slept a wink all night, it has been proven in sleep laboratories that we all sleep during the night. Sometimes the subject feels that he has been lying awake thinking, but actually he has been sleeping lightly and dreaming.
Trying to fall asleep: There is a law of nature called The Law of Reversed Effect. It says that if you try to do something, you will get the opposite. and the harder you try, the more you will get the opposite. So, trying to fall asleep will insure that you will remain awake. So it would actually be better for you to try to remain awake!
Alcohol will put you to sleep: This may be true; as alcohol is a depressant. However, as soon as it wears off, you will abruptly awaken and it will be harder than ever to fall asleep.
Sleeping pills can help: During sleep it is the dream phase of sleep in which you get your rest. Sleeping pills suppress the dream phase of sleep (REM sleep). That is why one generally awakens more tired than before going to sleep after using sleeping pills. You will get more rest by lying awake quietly than you will from narcotic induced sleep. In addition, one builds up a tolerance to this type of medication so that more and more is needed. In addition to the tolerance, an addiction to this type of medication is also likely.
Find out when your time of greatest fatigue is in the evening. At least an hour before your time of greatest fatigue, take a warm bath, slightly warmer than body temperature, soak and relax for 20 minutes or so. It is important to note that a shower just won't do. A bath is strongly recommended.
Have a warm beverage, preferably not coffee or tea because of the caffeine which will wake you up. Warm milk is the best if you can tolerate it.
Discontinue thoughts of problems that you have, or what needs to be done tomorrow. If you are worried about forgetting what you have to do tomorrow, write it down.
Stay away from stimulating thoughts and television shows. If you must read, then read something that is boring.
Reserve your bed for sleep. Read and watch television only from a chair or couch.
Get into bed at least 20 minutes before your apex of maximum fatigue. Once in bed, if worries begin to pop into your mind, tell yourself, "I'll think about it tomorrow, I'll think about it tomorrow". This will go a long way toward eliminating excessive thoughts and can be repeated several times. Do not try to make your mind blank. Do not try to fall asleep. Just allow yourself to rest.
For Endogenous Insomnia, you should eliminate the discomfort to the best of your ability.
For Exogenous Insomnia, make the room as quiet as possible. If your partner snores, you can move to another room. Running a fan motor can also help induce sleep, as it will tend to cover up outside noises and the monotonous drone of the fan generally proves to be very relaxing.
HYPNOTIC THERAPY FOR PSYCHO-REACTIVE AND FUNCTIONAL INSOMNIA
In addition to the steps outlined above, you will want to practice self-hypnosis every day. Stress aggravates and can even cause a sleep disturbance. Self-hypnosis can help you to quickly dissipate stress. Post-hypnotic suggestions for coping, and to instill the expectation of sleep can help. “I fall asleep promptly, and sleep soundly and restfully all through the night.”
It is important to note that most of the clients who sought my help for appetite control, smoke cessation, self-confidence and other problems also had a sleeping problem. And when I taught them to practice self-hypnosis for these other problems, in almost every single case, the insomnia went away all by itself within a week or two, without any direct suggestions to eliminate the sleep disturbance!
Alan B. Densky, CH opened his professional practice of hypnosis & NLP in 1978. Mr. Densky is the developer of the patented Neuro-VISION video hypnosis technology. He can be reached through his web site at www.neuro-vision.us