Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. Trouble sleeping affects over 40 million people in the United States alone. It probably doesn’t take statistics to convince you that trouble sleeping is affecting your life. Think about it, you get to bed nice and early, happily anticipating a productive workday. Then you lie there, hour after hour, watching the minutes tick by. If professional clock-watching was an Olympic sport, you would have a gold metal as surely as you’re reading this article now.
As you watch the orange numbers on the clock laboriously tick by, you continuously calculate how much sleep you’ll get. “I guess 5 hours is alright,” you say to yourself. “Four isn’t bad, I’ve got by with less. Three is OK. Two is better than nothing…” The next thing you know, you wake up groaning, and mumbling profanities to yourself, feeling as though you were hit by the 5:00am DART bus.
You get through the day in a fog, your performance compromised in every way. You’re a walking hazard to those around you. You awaken at the blaring of car horns as you fall asleep at yet another stoplight. Finally, you resolve to get more sleep, only to have even MORE trouble sleeping the next night.
Let’s face it, I don’t even need to ask if you would like to stop having trouble sleeping. That would be like asking a dolphin if it wants a sardine. Well, I’m about to open the can and give it to you. And no, I don’t mean a slippery sardine. I mean I’m going to give you 5 ways to make your trouble sleeping a thing of the past.
End trouble sleeping tip #1 – Set the stage for sleep
Just imagine if CNN recorded the evening news without any fancy sets, lighting, or a teleprompter! It wouldn’t be quite as effective would it? To record a professional news broadcast, they need to set the stage. You need to do the same with your sleeping stage – your bedroom.
When it comes to using the bed, remember the two S’s. Sleeping and sex. Those are the only two things you’re allowed to do on your bed. Not bad rules to live by right? Don’t do anything else on your bed. For example if you study or do other “fully alert” tasks on your bed, you’re going to condition yourself to be alert when in bed. And remember the two S’s 😉
Black out the curtains to make it completely dark. Use a sleep mask if you need to. You want to be sleeping in a dark environment so your body can release the natural sleep hormones that promote sleep.
Cover up that clock
While you’re at it, why don’t you cover that pesky clock? After all, isn’t that thing just a source of anxiety? Just cover that clock up. You don’t need to know what time it is because you’ll be asleep!
End trouble sleeping tip #2 – Change your diet
Your diet can contribute to your trouble sleeping. At Maness Hypnosis, we recommend that you immediately discontinue caffeine consumption. Yes, this includes your morning cup of Joe. Hey, we never said that you can do this without changing, right? Next, cut out black/green tea in the afternoons. We also recommend that you avoid sugar after 4pm and no alcohol in the evenings. Make these simple dietary changes, and you may find that this is all you need to sleep better.
On the food side of things, avoid snacking before bedtime. Eat natural, nutrient-dense foods.
End trouble sleeping tip #3 – Pull the plug on technology
For thousands of years, humans went to bed at sundown and woke up before sunrise. Without electricity, there wasn’t the temptation to get all cozy with your iPhone late at night. When you use electronic devices, the blue light from the screen is interpreted by your body as the morning sunrise. As you can imagine, using such devices can put a major damper on natural sleep cycle.
There are some workarounds if you must use technology before bed. For example, here are some apps you can use to limit blue light emissions from your devices. Your doctor might also prescribe special glasses or lenses to reduce your exposure to blue light in the evening hours.
When it comes to trouble sleeping, we think it’s best to completely abstain from using electronics before bed. After you get a handle on the problem, you can always figure out ways to use your electronics in ways that support your healthy sleep cycle.
End trouble sleeping tip #4 – Reduce stress
Many times, trouble sleeping has its roots in stress. When we see clients that are having trouble sleeping, we often coach them in dealing with their stress more effectively. Here are some tips to reduce stress:
- Make a list of what’s in your control and what’s not
- Set boundaries to clearly define what is and isn’t your responsibility
- Learn a mindfulness practice and use it every day (self-hypnosis, meditation, breath-work, and other mindfulness practices)
- Make a to-do list before leaving work (that way you’re not thinking about what you have to do tomorrow)
- Take some time to unwind in the evening before going to bed.
- Plan plenty of rest for yourself each night
End trouble sleeping tip #5 – See a hypnotherapist
Yes, hypnosis can actually help you sleep overcome your trouble sleeping. Here are some of the way hypnosis can make trouble sleeping a thing of the past. Hypnosis can help you:
- Learn to deal with life’s daily stress in ways that don’t affect your sleep
- Regressive hypnosis can help you discover and release the underlying pattern that led to trouble sleeping in the first place.
- Discover the payoff for being compromised during the day. Does it help you avoid doing something? Hypnosis can help you find positive ways to meet your needs and be more proactive in your life.
- Discover and eliminate the emotional causes of trouble sleeping
- Change habits that contribute to your sleep challenges
Things to do before seeing a hypnotherapist for sleep
While seeing a hypnotherapist can definitely help restore your natural sleeping pattern, there are a few things you need to consider before actively seeking out hypnosis. You’ll need to first get approval from your doctor to use hypnosis to improve your sleep. Why is this? Well, there are many reasons you may have trouble sleeping. Many of them may be organic/physical in nature (like a tumor, hyperthyroid, etc.) We want you to get the best results, and so we need to have your doctor on board to make sure any physical issues are being properly treated.
Also, trouble sleeping could be a mental health issue. If you are working with a therapist such as a counselor, you will need to get approval for from your therapist to seek out hypnosis for your trouble sleeping. Again, this is to make sure that any mental health issues contributing to your trouble sleeping are being treated. This allows us to help you in the most effective way possible.
There you have it. 5 ways to make trouble sleeping a thing of the past. Try these tips, then give us a call when you’re ready for step 5.
Article by Sean Maness