We are fast becoming a population of insomniacs as health and lifestyle problems like obesity, excessive alcohol and sugary drink consumption, smoking, lack of physical activity, mental health problems, stress at work, shift work, financial concerns, and long commuting impact our sleep patterns.
In general, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night but the exact amount varies from person to person, depending on age, lifestyle and genes. However, more than a third of Britons sleep for less than six hours a night according to The Sleep Council with modern life blamed for problems we have in nodding off.
But feeling positive about life can make a difference, too, and in the first research of its kind, US scientists found that having a purpose in life results in fewer night time disturbances and improved quality of sleep.
“Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia,” said senior author Jason Ong, an associate professor of neurology at the Northwestern University in Illinois. “Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies.”
The team now wants to see if mindfulness-based therapies can improve purpose can also improve sleep quality. The new study was published in the journal Sleep, Science and Practice.
“Research shows that hypnosis combined with cognitive behavioural therapy is the most effective treatment for insomnia,” says the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s largest not-for-profit professional body for clinical hypnotherapy with over 1,800 highly-trained therapists across the country.
“Insomniacs generally respond very well to hypnosis. A hypnotherapist can create a programme of personalised treatment that identifies your sleeping patterns and teaches you self-management techniques which make a big difference not just to how long you sleep but the quality of sleep you enjoy,” adds the NCH.
So how does hypnotherapy work? Says the NCH: “It’s similar to drifting off to sleep at night, that stage when you are not quite awake and not quite asleep.
“You may feel a sense of weightlessness or you may feel heaviness as all your muscles relax. Everyone experiences it differently, and your therapist will be able to reassure you and help you relax and enjoy the experience.”
Given that stress and anxiety can cause sleepless nights, the NCH adds that, after sessions to be treated for stress and anxiety, people often feel more confident and more relaxed in situations that have previously been challenging or stressful.
“Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily. People who have experienced side effects of anxiety such as insomnia, find that they are sleeping much better and as a result are able to work more effectively.”
Clinical hypnotherapy can also be successful in helping people quit smoking or other bad habits and manage their weight and what they eat.
It is estimated that insufficient sleep among the British working population costs the economy up to £40 billion a year through lost working hours, the equivalent of 1.86 per cent of the country’s GDP.
So, if you want a good night’s sleep, contact an NCH therapist near you by using the NCH directory. Do that and look forward to a good night!