• Sleep is one of the most important factors to overall good health – disturbed sleep can lead to low moods and physical health issues

  • Hypnotherapist Maha Amin explains how hypnotherapy can help with insomnia

  • We have hypnotherapists and psychotherapists who specialise in working with insomnia – find yours here

Have you ever laid in bed trying to sleep, but found yourself preoccupied with the events of the day, or of what you need to do the next day? Do you think about the people you forgot to call, the books you did not mark, the bathroom you did not clean, the lawn you did not cut? Do you lay in bed worrying about the chores of tomorrow, such as meeting deadlines, having to speak to your boss, taking the children to after school club? Do you wake up several times to look at the clock to see how much more sleep you can have? Do you find that this stresses you out and stops you from having a deep and restful sleep?  

These are symptoms that anxiety and worry are interfering with your sleep. Overthinking can prevent us from falling asleep, or it can cause up to wake up numerous times during the night. The result is bad quality sleep, which can make us tired, irritable, and less productive during the day. Hypnotherapy can help us unwind, relax, and have an improved sleep. 


What is hypnotherapy? 

Hypnotherapy is a normal state of deep trance that normally happens between consciousness and sleep. It is when the mind is very relaxed and the subconscious is alert, making it receptive to suggestions. The hypnotherapist helps the clients to really relax through helping them to focus on beautiful, calming imagery, allowing them to enjoy a wonderful state of deep trance. 

During the trance state, the hypnotherapist talks to the subconscious mind asking it to change negative behaviours to positive ones. It is important to note that hypnosis does not control the client’s mind or their ability to make decisions. The client is always in control.

Hypnosis often occurs naturally in our daily lives. It is when we are totally focused on an object or an event to the exclusion of what is around us. Examples of these are when we are totally absorbed in a film or a book. Have you ever driven from one place to another, only to think: ‘I can’t remember how I got here!’ ? This is because you were on autopilot, you were following something that has become a habit, without needing to think about it. In this case, you are totally conscious and in control, but in a type of hypnotic state.


Is hypnotherapy effective for insomnia?

For hypnotherapy to be effective, it is essential that other factors that effect sleep negatively are avoided. So, it is important to avoid stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine before sleep. Ideally, screens – such as televisions and mobile telephones – should not be kept in the bedroom, as they also act as stimulants. There should be a separation between our work and sleep; so, it is essential that we do not bring any work to our bedrooms. 

Doing moderate exercise can help with a good night’s sleep, but it needs to be done 90 minutes before sleep. Meditation, a hot bath, and calm music help relax the mind, allowing for a better sleep.

How does hypnotherapy help with disturbed sleep?

So, now the environment is ready for sleep hypnotherapy. The session would start with the hypnotherapist checking in with you and agreeing on what is going to happen during the session. Afterwards, the hypnotherapist may ask the client to reflect upon the events of the day. Then the client may be encouraged to write down all the positive events and thoughts about the day and to think about them instead of the negative thoughts that can creep into our minds when we are trying to sleep. This part helps with the next part of the session, which is the hypnosis.

The client is usually guided to focus on some beautiful imagery that would help with the relaxation process. The more relaxed the person becomes, the deeper they get into hypnosis. While the client is in a hypnotic trance, the hypnotherapist talks to the subconscious mind, telling to change the negative thoughts and habits that hinder sleep and replace with them with positive ones that can help the client sleep. 

The goal with sleep hypnotherapy is to train the subconscious to allow the client to practise positive habits so that they can sleep better after the hypnotherapy session is complete. For example, the hypnotherapist may ask the subconscious to remember the positive things that happened during the day instead of the negative thoughts that may enter the person’s mind. The hypnotherapist may also suggest to the person to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. 

It is normally recommended that the person has 4-6 sessions to get most out of hypnotherapy, however, the effects of hypnotherapy are evident from the first session. The state of deep relaxation which lasts for at least half an hour, can really help the person have an improved sleep after the first hypnotherapy session. 

Finally, the hypnotherapist can also suggest meditation and breathing exercises to optimise the results.   

After having one session of sleep hypnotherapy, you should start noticing a difference in the quality of your sleep. With the reinforcement of consecutive sessions, this should continually improve, especially if combined with some of the good sleep routines suggested above.

Maha Amin is a verified welldoing.org hypnotherapist in South Woodford and online

Further reading

Why is sleep so important?

10 ways to beat insomnia

Can hypnotherapy cure my phobias?

Try yoga nidra for a good night's sleep

How hypnotherapy helped me regain my confidence