This is a crazy time, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Like the rest of the world, we are doing our best to stay positive.
This moment presents a tremendous challenge, and can affect us all in different ways, anxieties related to loss of control and uncertainty are understandable, but it’s also been an incredible reminder to how much support is out there for us.
Instead of spending time and energy worrying, why not channel that energy into what you can control — self-care.
Finding something you can positively focus on, that you can control, can be helpful and sleep is a natural fit for working on self-care, as we know that getting enough sleep can benefit your immune system.
Sleep is one of the most undervalued components of health in today’s society. It’s come to be regarded as optional. If we don’t put an importance on our sleep it can have consequences on our health.
Short term sleep deprivation causes
- Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Raised blood pressure
- ·Impairs the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar
- Activates the nervous sympathetic system – our flight or fight response
- Makes us feel anxious in situations causing nervousness
- Increases the levels of inflammation in the body and in our skin
- ·Affects our immune system.
If you have a good night’s sleep, your goals for rest and relaxation, exercise and better eating choices becomes easier. Because sleep plays a role in our metabolic pathways i.e. our body functions.
However, in the current climate it’s little wonder that our sleep quality has become difficult to initiate or maintain or just not as good as it could be.
Everywhere we turn the news can be all consuming to our thoughts especially for the people we love, our work and our social situation. It’s certainly no invitation for beckoning the calm brain waves of sleep. Our overactive sympathetic system – our amygdala – our flight or fight switch is being left on!
Imagine a laptop, you may close the lid at the end of the evening, but if it’s not properly switched off, the fans, programmes and routines will still be running, still be active. And so, it is for our minds.
In order for sleep to be initiated our overactive mind needs to calm down. We need our para-sympathetic nervous system (sometimes called the rest and digest system), to be triggered. It conserves energy as it slows the heart rate and relaxes our body.
It’s the system that takes the Amygdala off high alert. And to do this we need to relax. Relaxation is the strongest most powerful treatment for symptoms created by anxiety and stress, and hypnotherapy can help to invoke a deep relaxed state by mirroring REM.
At night when we sleep our brain enters a specific state called REM or Rapid Eye Movement. In this state we are able to empty our ‘stress bucket’.
We all have a metaphorical stress bucket that can easily fill. The more stress and worry we have in our lives and on our minds the bigger the load we carry. Which in turn has a negative impact on our ability to sleep properly. Sometimes you may even find yourself waking up at 3 or 4.00am and not being able to go back to sleep.
Because we have limited REM during the night, about 20% of our overall sleep, we are unable to deal with all the anxiety, negativity and worry created during the day and this can create a backlog and raise stress levels generally.
In Solution Focused Hypnotherapy the aim is to reduce anxiety levels by promoting positive thoughts and feelings and thereby regularise sleep patterns.
The REM state is a trance like state similar to daydreaming and is a deep form of relaxation. When we fully relax, we can take control of our emotions, calming the nervous system and triggering the para-sympathetic system, which takes the Amygdala off high alert.
In a typical session whether in person or conducted online, clinical hypnosis encourages REM to occur which reduces stress and over a period, sleep patterns improve.
I always provide a relaxation audio either in the form of a CD or MP3 download which can recreate the trance state outside of the sessions and can be very helpful to listen to before going to sleep to relax and reduce tension before bedtime.
These are strange and unsettling times but there is a lot of help available to get us through. We may be isolated, but we’re not alone. I am confident that we can lift each other up and come out of this stronger, wiser, and better than when we went into it. We just have to keep pushing forward and look after ourselves and one another.
Stay safe, stay well.
When you book an Initial Consultation, I provide a full explanation on how hypnotherapy works and how it may help you.
Tel: 07765 692 072