How to get a good night’s sleep

How to get a good night's sleep using hypnotherapy

Clinical Hypnotherapy is a great support for people with sleeping difficulties. You could also try self-hypnosis and some of the tips below. Sometimes it is the little changes that make a big difference.

The unconscious mind regulates our sleep patterns, although we often feel that it is something we should be able to control consciously. Actually, all we need to do is create the right environment for sleep to happen.

However, many things can interrupt our sleeping pattern. Sometimes we go to bed after watching stressful TV or take our entertainment to bed by playing with computers and mobile phones, stimulating our minds rather than relaxing them. Exercising late at night as well as drinking alcohol and caffeine are also common stimulants. Noisy neighbours and snoring partners can keep people awake too! Sometimes periods of stress can disrupt our sleep and it can be difficult to get back to normal sleeping patterns even once the stressful event has passed.

It is very common for people to go to bed and then begin to think about problems and worries. This type of thinking once again stimulates our minds, expanding our anxieties. It is natural to think when we are lying waiting on sleep to come, but wouldn’t you rather switch off and enjoy this period of rest?

It can be helpful to just notice the thoughts, remembering that they are only thoughts, nothing more - and that we do not need to follow them. Problems are usually best solved when we are awake and refreshed the next day anyway.

Things to do during the evening:

  • Be aware of drinking caffeine, which can be found in teas and coffees, but also many soft drinks and chocolate. Hot milky drinks can be good, or teas without caffeine. Alcohol can disturb sleep.

  • Snoozing on the sofa can upset sleep later on, so try to keep all sleep for bed.

  • If you are still feeling stressed from your day, or have worries which are taking up your time, choose to lay them to rest just for the night. You could write them down, think them through, and leave them there. You can always pick them up again in the morning.

  • Gentle early evening exercise can help to ease away the tensions of the day and promote sleep. Walking, swimming, yoga… there are all sorts of things you could try.

  • Self-hypnosis is very helpful for promoting sleep. You can do this in the evening, or in bed.

  • When you use self-hypnosis, it can be a great idea to imagine you are going down stairs as you count down from ten to one. You can leave a worry on each stair so that by the time you reach the bottom you are worry free. Or, if you prefer, you can put the worries in a basket or drawer in your imagined room for sleeping.

  • For an hour and a half before bed, it is best not to engage in anything that is stimulating (wakening), such as loud TV, some computer games, work, and so on. You could try some gentle music, relaxing in a bath, whatever appeals to you.
  • Have a look at your bedroom. Is it comfortable, calming, not too hot or cold? Make sure it is just right for sleep.

When you go to bed:

  • Getting up at the same time every day helps to regulate your sleep pattern. Try going to bed at the same time each night too.

  • Your body recognises certain signals which help it get ready for sleep. Darkness is one of these triggers and so ensure you put out all lights when you get into bed.

  • Become aware of your body and how you are feeling and go to bed when you notice you feel ‘sleepy tired‘.

  • Do self-hypnosis and really enjoy allowing your body to relax into your bed. Notice your head sinking comfortably into the pillow and your breath slowing and deepening as you leave the day behind. Even if you don’t go to sleep straight away, you can enjoy the rest and the comfort, the peace and the quiet.
  • Keep waking activities such as watching TV, reading or using a computer for another room. This can stimulate your brain, making it more difficult to get to sleep. It’s helpful to calm your mind rather than stimulate it.
  • Sleep is the job of your unconscious mind, it knows exactly how to allow the mind and body to rest. You don’t need to try to control sleep, it will come to you when it’s ready. It will find you. Just enjoy the rest until then.

If you are lying in bed having difficulty getting to sleep:

  • Don’t forget that lots of people have trouble sleeping. The body copes well even after a difficult night’s sleep.

  • Practising self-hypnosis each evening can begin to ease you into a deep, refreshing sleep. It may only help a little at first, or you may find it difficult to imagine or focus, but it doesn’t matter too much. The fact that you are taking time for yourself to rest will in itself have a positive effect. The more you practise, the more easily and deeply you will relax.
  • There is no need to try harder, or to worry about not sleeping. Leave thinking about the next day until the next morning, forget the clock, just allow yourself to rest, fully experience the calm, follow your breath, enjoy self-relaxation and wind down naturally.
  • If you are still having trouble, then maybe you went to bed too soon, or need a little more winding down time before sleep. You could get up, but if you do, ensure that you do something restful and calming. Go back to bed when you feel ‘sleepy tired‘.