Try implementing these simple but effective solutions for insomnia and prepare your mind for better and more restful sleep:
- Plan for success
Instead of making insomnia into a mental monster (I’ve met a few people who even imagine it like this), try visualising what a good nights’ sleep looks and feels like to you. Using your imagination, see yourself relaxing beautifully before going to bed and waking up feeling refreshed and happy. Self-hypnosis audios or, better still, sessions with a professional hypnotherapist, are a good way to practice this. Hypnotherapy for insomnia can in some cases help you overcome longer-term sleep issues within 3-6 sessions.
- Ditch or defer the worries
Many poor sleepers wake up in the early morning and find that they are still worrying about all the things they need to take care of. Before you go to bed, try writing down a list of these tasks, worries or concerns in a journal or notebook. When you finish, say to yourself that you can come back to it tomorrow, but for now you can just put them out of your mind as you put them away in a drawer or filing cabinet.
- Learn progressive relaxation
This is a famous and simple hypnotic technique to release body tension and calm the mind. First, find a comfortable chair or lie on your bed with your eyes closed. Now, use your imagination to feel the tension and tightness in each body part (starting with the top of the head), and then feel that part relaxing and letting go of that tension. You could imagine feeling really loose and limp, like a rag doll as you send the relaxation all the way down to your toes.
- Don’t try to sleep!
Often the harder we struggle to do something, the more it seems to slip from our grasp. Sleep is the same. Research proves that trying to force sleep has the effect of raising our stress hormones. This then leads to increased heartbeat, muscle tension and an overactive and racing mind. Instead, try accepting the situation and use the time as an opportunity to relax or do something calming.
- Make your mind a sanctuary
Many people rush around all day, are constantly on laptops or devices just before bed and then expect to enjoy perfect sleep. A better way is to set aside thirty minutes of quiet relaxation before you go to bed. Perhaps you could practice meditation or self-hypnosis, plan an exotic break or simply do nothing. By doing this, your brain will have chance to release the stresses of the day and prepare for sleep.
- Change your perception
The negative effects of impaired sleep are very real, but sleep researchers discovered something really important:
Excessive worrying about sleep is more detrimental to health than sleep loss itself!
So the key here, is to look honestly at your negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep and to change or update them. These thoughts are very understandable. But are they helpful or 100% true all the time?
Kristian is a hypnotherapist based in Bournemouth, Dorset. He specialises in stress, anxiety and sleep-related issues.