The Science of Hypnotherapy for Sleep

One of the most effective things I did to regain healthy sleep habits has been hypnotherapy (It was so impactful I decided to become a hypnotherapist!). How hypnotherapy actually impacts sleep has been a bit of a mystery until recently.  Research is understanding more and more how hypnotherapy can help you improve the quality of your sleep. One study, conducted in 2014 through the University of Zurich showed that 13 minutes of hypnotherapy compared to "reading something neutral" aided in Slow Wave Sleep (SWS is a very healthy aspect of sleep which aids in memory recall and immune function and the stimulation of growth hormone).(1)

Like many of my clients, I had insomnia for most of my twenties.  Admittedly, I was living in Manhattan, working 12 hours a day and filling my recreation with high intensity exercise or alcohol.  Looking back, I can understand why my poor body might have had a bit of a tough time falling asleep.   Despite my poor sleep habits, I was certainly not in the minority.  It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans have insomnia at any given time (sleephealthfoundation.org). In today's modern environment, stressors on sleep can come from so many places ranging from unhealthy living habits to the stress of being chronically ill, the impact of the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job. Hypnotherapy is a great tool to address all of these stressors and to restore healthy sleep.

When seeking a mental health clinician to restore sleep, there are a few things to keep in mind before your session. 

1. Your hypnotherapist should still do a thorough assessment.  Insomnia is a complex issue that often needs to be addressed from multiple angles.  Often it is a combination of relearning stress management, practicing sleep hygiene (like turning off the computer at least an hour before bed), changes in diet and even testing for things like sleep apnea.  Your clinician should be prepared to take a holistic view of what's going on for best results. 

2. Anxiety may be the root cause. Even though you might be experiencing insomnia, this could be a symptom of anxiety or depression.  It may be helpful to explore this with your hypnotherapist.  If that's the case, your hypnotherapy sessions may focus more on anxiety reduction (which will naturally help you sleep). 

3. Practice makes perfect. While many people find dramatic results after one to three hypnotherapy sessions, it's going to be helpful to continue practicing either self hypnosis or listening to hypnosis recordings regularly to internalize the body's reaction to the experience. Some hypnotherapists will even record the session for you to use on your own!

Not only is hypnotherapy effective, it's a fun, playful, stress-free way to improve the quality of your life. Want to try a session in person or virtually? Contact me here! ruschellekhannalcsw@gmail.com

(1) Hypnosis Extends Restorative Slow Wave Sleep, Research Shows. (2014) University of Zurch. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602101207.htm