When I was recently cooped up in hospital after an operation, the silver lining wasn't just the view of the stunning copper beech soaking up the sun outside my window. It was the prospect of the rare and precious gift of extra time. More time to map out my next business venture, more time to listen to the birds at dawn. But as I soon found out, there was a catch... sleep, or rather, the lack of it.
Recovery has proved to be a companion with a sense of humour. The healing process was, and still is, ticking along like a well-oiled machine, but there has been one, wee, unexpected snag. You see, coming off HRT before my op and then having limited mobility as a result of the surgery (which meant I couldn’t get comfy in bed) turned night-time into a bit of a challenge. As the saying goes, "been there, done that and kicked it into touch" because it's been donkey's years since I last wrestled with insomnia. Last time, a few years ago, the sleepless nights only ended when I plucked up the courage to leave a job that was making me miserable. So, this time, I turned to my old friend; self-hypnosis.
Now, for those of you rolling your eyes, research published in the 'Sleep' journal, shows that hypnosis can actually improve your deep sleep by up to 80%. And trust me, in my line of work as a hypnotherapist, I've seen the difference it makes first-hand.
And another strategy that has worked for me and will for you too - laying off the booze. Even the snifter or nightcap. You might think it helps you because it can seem like your friend when it helps you to nod off, but it's actually a bit of a traitor when it comes to keeping you asleep. In the same way as scoffing a 3-scoop ice cream can seem like a good idea until it melts all over your fingers and down your front.
Why should we bother so much about missing out on a good night’s sleep, you ask?
Well, apart from making you more likely to spill your morning tea, a 2010 study by some clever folk at the University of Rochester found that chronic sleep-deprivation ups your odds of having car prangs, taking more sick leave, and generally just being narky.
Now here's a bit of trivia - it might surprise you to know we're not the only ones who lose our beauty sleep and have trouble because of it. Ever heard of insomniac flies?
Uh huh, you heard right. Animals and insects get sleep troubles too.
In one study, scientists bred flies that slept only an hour a day – that's less than 10% of what normal flies get. And guess what? Those poor flies had more stumbles, were slower learners and piled on the weight. Sound familiar?
And let's not even start on Monday mornings. Those who sleep in on weekends and drag themselves out of bed on weekdays might be suffering from "social jet lag". And as a recent study showed, those with irregular sleep schedules are three times more likely to be overweight. Turns out, we're a bit like toddlers – we need our routine, just as Colleen Carney, a Canadian sleep psychologist, rightly pointed out.
Finally, tying back into my own hormonal, hot flushing experience… Did you know women are twice as likely to have insomnia than men? Blame it on those dratted hormones, life changes, or even conditions like anxiety and depression. Pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycles all play a role. Yay.
Through my professional hypnotherapy journey with sleep, I've seen it all. From poor sleep hygiene to nightmares and even night terrors.
What's poor sleep hygiene? It's all the things that stop you from getting a good kip - like scrolling through your phone in bed, or having a late-night caffeine fix.
Nightmares and night terrors? A whole different ball game.
Nightmares are the bad dreams that scare the wits out of you,
usually during restorative REM sleep.
Night terrors are episodes of extreme fear that wake some people, screaming and kicking and can send them off sleepwalking. It’s often horrible for the whole family when it happens, sometimes several times a night.
It’s more common in kids, though I’ve seen and successfully worked with adults too.
Lack of sleep, unfortunately, doesn't just leave you yawning – it might be the hidden anchor keeping you stuck. You see, when you're short on sleep, your ability to make clear decisions plummets and your drive to make beneficial changes fizzles out.
It's like trying to steer a boat without knowing to lift the anchor; you might drift a bit but you make no headway because something always stops you and you have no energy to see what's causing the problem.
This fuzzy thinking can be the difference between feeling motivated to pursue your dreams or finding yourself drifting and stopping, drifting and stopping.
So, how can my experiences help you?
Navigating my own choppy waters of insomnia has made me more determined to help others, like you, in the same boat as I once was.
With a dash of patience, a pinch of consistency, and a smart dose of the right techniques, it's a journey we can tackle together.
Here are some of the tricks I've got up my sleeve:
Deep relaxation: Hypnosis can teach you how to deeply relax your mind and body, creating the perfect environment for sleep.
Stress Management: By uncovering and addressing all the things you’re lying awake fretting about, hypnosis can help you manage stress effectively, improving your sleep quality.
Breaking bad habits: Hypnosis can help reprogram your mind to kick those late-night scrolling habits or caffeine or alcohol cravings that hamper your sleep.
Overcoming fears and anxieties: Hypnosis can help you confront and let go of any fears or anxieties that might be causing your nightmares or sleep disruptions.
Establishing a sleep routine: With hypnosis, we can work on reinforcing a healthy sleep schedule and improving your sleep hygiene
So, if you're dreading bedtime because you're sure you'll be staring miserably at the ceiling come 3am, thinking "here we go again," I'm here to help. Remember, there's no such thing as a "hopeless" case when it comes to sleep. Sometimes, you just need the right strategy, and I have plenty of those to help you.
www.janelakeland.com +447801 357461
Cordi, M. J., Hirsiger, S., Mérillat, S., & Rasch, B. (2015). Improving sleep and cognition by hypnotic suggestion in the elderly. Neuropsychologia, 69, 176–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.02.001 ↩
Léger, D., Guilleminault, C., Bader, G., Lévy, E., & Paillard, M. (2002). Medical and socio-professional impact of insomnia. Sleep, 25(6), 625–629. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/25.6.625 ↩
Ebrahim, I. O., Shapiro, C. M., Williams, A. J., & Fenwick, P. B. (2013). Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(4), 539–549. https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.12006 ↩
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Thimgan, M. S., Suzuki, Y., Seugnet, L., Gottschalk, L., & Shaw, P. J. (2010). The Perils of Star Trekking: The Effects of Acute Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Sleep Restriction on Attention and Sleepiness. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213, 2756–2764. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.037648 ↩
Roenneberg T, Allebrandt KV, Merrow M, Vetter C. (2012). Social jetlag and obesity. Current Biology, 22(10), 939–943. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2012.03.038 ↩
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