Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Laura Garcia

Laura Garcia is a freelance writer based in Chicago. She holds degrees in writing from Drake University. When she’s not busy writing, Laura likes to spend as much as time as possible with her husband James and three-year-old son Elijah.

Magnesium as a Sleep Aid

Magnesium’s sleep-promoting qualities are rising in popularity, and the supplement is quickly ascending to the throne of natural sleeping aids. The power of this common mineral not only helps you fall asleep quicker, it gives you deeper, more restful slumber as well. Having this in mind, we wanted to give you insight into what magnesium is, how exactly is it connected to your sleep, and what can it do to improve it.

Restless, sleepless nights are a modern-day plague, don’t you think? The hectic lives we lead today often leave us all distraught and vulnerable, making our sleep utterly destroyed. Instead of falling asleep quick and easy, we twist and turn in bed, unable to enter the dreamworld. 

Let this happen for a few nights, and you will slowly start to experience the effects of full-blown sleep deprivation and the raging onset of insomnia. 

That’s what got you looking into different solutions for your sleep in the first place, right? While behavioral lifestyle changes and learning different relaxation techniques are all crucial for you to achieve quality sleep, many people go for sleeping pills instead, but we also recommend opting for natural supplements instead. 

Navigating through the vast, overcrowded market of natural sleeping aids can sometimes be tough and overwhelming, and often quite unnecessary. 

Why? 

Well, while there’s a lot of different natural supplements out there, you might just need only one – magnesium. 

Magnesium’s sleep-promoting qualities are rising in popularity, and the supplement is quickly ascending to the throne of natural sleeping aids. The power of this common mineral not only helps you fall asleep quicker, it gives you deeper, more restful slumber as well. 

Having this in mind, we wanted to give you insight into what magnesium is, how exactly is it connected to your sleep, and what can it do to improve it. 

Let’s dive right in. 

Magnesium 101 

As one of the most widespread minerals on the planet, our health thrives on high levels of magnesium. In fact, it’s one of the seven macro-minerals that the human body needs in large quantities. Our bodies use it in over 600 biochemical reactions, making it an essential electrolyte for our holistic health. From every cell to every organ, our bodies desperately need this mineral to maintain proper function. Bone health, brain, heart, nerve, and muscle function – magnesium regulates it all. 

Since our bodies do not produce it, we must do our due diligence and be on the lookout for foods rich in magnesium. So, legumes, dark green veggies, whole grains, nuts, fish – all of these foods will go a long way in keeping your magnesium levels high and happy.

On top of all these health benefits, let’s add contributing to better sleep to the mix! There is increasing interest in how maintaining good levels of magnesium can help sleep issues like insomnia, delayed sleep-onset, and sleep deprivation.   

Let’s take the time to examine the connection between this mineral and sleep from multiple angles.

Magnesium and Sleep – Overview 

The benefits magnesium holds for our sleep come through helping our bodies and brains relax. How does it do that exactly? First and foremost, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system – the part of our autonomous nervous system that regulates our fight/flight response. Second, it regulates your melatonin levels. As we’ve discussed millions of times before, melatonin is responsible for your regular sleep-wake cycles in your body. 

Let’s say all this simpler – by giving your nervous system piece of mind and regulating your melatonin levels, magnesium helps you relax, thus preparing you for sleep. 

Since falling and staying asleep majorly depends on your ability to relax, taking magnesium supplements instead of sleeping pills now seems to be the better choice, doesn’t it? 

What the Research Says

If you’re still not sold on the idea that magnesium is an effective sleeping aid, we’ve got some research to back up our claim. 

The Journal of Research in Medical Sciences clearly shows that magnesium, used as a supplement, was able to promote better sleep through increasing sleep time. 

Furthermore, the Oxford Academic Journal Sleep states that using magnesium as a supplement is effective in helping people suffering from restless leg syndrome fight off insomnia. 

Taking it even further, a comprehensive MIT report exploring the interaction between magnesium and fibromyalgia shows magnesium as a mineral able to reduce chronic body pain almost always associated with insomnia. 

Vitamins and Minerals provided a report that magnesium improves cognitive functioning, including enhanced mood, sleep, and lower stress levels.

Last, but most important, the National Sleep Foundation study shows that both calcium and magnesium are crucial when it comes to promoting high-quality sleep in adults. The study also points to magnesium used as supplementation is a lot safer than sleeping pills. 

Two questions arise from all this information – How does the interaction between both magnesium and melatonin and nervous system work? Let’s take a peek.  

The Interaction Between Magnesium and Melatonin

The idea is fairly simple. As your magnesium levels go up, so do levels of your neural activity. Neurotransmitters further pulse their messages and establish communication between your brain and your nervous system – charging up all that needed melatonin and sparking it into active production. making all that needed melatonin sparking to get activated.   

Based on the interaction between magnesium and melatonin, researchers conclude that magnesium is closely linked to your circadian rhythms

While we won’t elaborate on that, we’ll tell you this much – the lesser your magnesium levels, the poorer your sleep. 

The Interaction between Magnesium and the Nervous System

This is where neurobiology comes into play, making the link between magnesium and the nervous system a little bit complex. Since the neurotransmitters that get activated as your magnesium levels increase reduce neural activity by binding to GABA receptors, you can think of magnesium as this instigator of all these other chemical processes that have a calming effect on your brain as a result. 

To put it simpler – the more GABA levels go up, the less neural activity there is in your brain. This inhibitory process is responsible for making you sleepy. It’s no wonder that some sleeping pills have a little bit of something in them that jumpstarts GABA levels.

Furthermore, being the potential inhibitor that it is, magnesium served its greater purpose and made for a few studies that ended up suggesting that magnesium might be what people have been looking for when it comes to treating underlying depression and anxiety that are fueling one’s insomnia

Now that we’ve explained how this mineral intertwines with melatonin and our nervous system, we’ll walk you through how magnesium levels affect sleep and the recommended amount of magnesium you should be taking in daily. 

How Magnesium Levels Affect Sleep? 

Since people approaching their golden years or people suffering from diabetes, ADHD or alcohol addiction are prone to magnesium deficiency, all of them stand to benefit from supplemental magnesium. 

You see, having insufficient magnesium levels means you’re more than likely to experience disturbed sleep and insomnia. Relevant enough, research on mice suggests it too – mice kept on a diet that had little to no magnesium intake not only had disturbed sleep, but they also experienced more frequent awakenings. 

However, having too much of something creates an equal problem. Think of it as a ‘magnesium rush’.  Having an abnormally high magnesium count means sleeping problems, as well.

Finally, we get to the million-dollar conclusion – everything is good in moderation. Finding the right balance and keeping your magnesium levels at just the right spot translates into improved quality of your sleep.

Magnesium for Sleep: What’s the right dosage?

As far as the right dosages go, according to the National Institute of Health adult men should intake between 400 and 420 mg, and adult women should intake 310-360 mg. When it comes to children, The Food and Nutrition Board suggests that supplemental magnesium doesn’t go over 350 mg for males and females 9 years and older, 110 for children between 4 and 8, and 65 mg for toddlers. 

On the other hand, you could choose the alternative path and get all that precious magnesium the natural way. The abundance of foods and liquids that practically ooze magnesium (that contain high amounts of magnesium) includes nuts, whole grains, green vegetables, meat, fish and fruit.

As we’ve mentioned above, finding a sweet spot and having just the right daily dose of magnesium helps you regulate your nervous system, minimize the stress, improve your mood and last but not least, helps you come out as a winner in your battle with sleeping problems. 

Winning that battle with sleeping problems won’t be possible if you don’t show on the battlefield at the right time, so to use magnesium as a sleeping aid, take that sweet spot dosage somewhere between 1 to 2 hours before the desired sleep time. 

Since everything comes at a price, with supplemental magnesium come common supplement side effects, such as nausea or diarrhea. To prevent the trouble these side effects can get you in, take the following note to heart – don’t take magnesium on an empty stomach, and take it with a glass of water. Go and schedule an appointment with your doctor as well to discuss whether or not magnesium supplements are right for you and whether they will interfere with any other medication you are taking – if you’re taking any for other health conditions.  

Takeaway 

The evidence is clear – sleep is vital for your wellbeing. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s research tells us sleep is vital from everything from healthy brain function to emotional wellbeing, putting sleep at the center of our holistic health. People who aren’t getting consistent, continuous, sufficient, and good-quality sleep can experience all these different consequences, including emotional disturbance and safety risks. 

Since magnesium plays an essential role in regulating your nervous system and calming it down, this mineral can improve the overall quality of your sleep. 

Now that you are armed with enough knowledge about magnesium as a mineral, its interaction with our nervous systems’ and the part it plays in promoting high-quality sleep, it’s time to make an informed decision whether you will continue using the sleeping pills, switch to supplemental magnesium or travel the natural path and get your daily dose of this mineral via your diet.

If you end up deciding to give magnesium as a supplement for sleep a go, we recommend that you schedule an appointment and talk with your doctor first. Since it can interact with other medications, or produce side effects such as nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, your doctor will be able to make an educated decision and a plan on how much supplements to take daily. 

Finally, always keep in mind that lifestyle choice and making behavioral changes will also go a long way in improving your sleep. The typical activities for promoting sleep are warm baths, exercise, and relaxation techniques. 

 

Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Tamara Smith


Guide to Sleep Restriction Therapy 

Sleep restriction is based on the idea that sleep deprivation will boost your sleep drive and keep you asleep. Read on to learn more.

Have you ever caught yourself lying in bed awake, in the middle of the night, and as the time passes you check your phone while thinking “If I fall asleep now, I will get this-or-this amount of sleep”? 

We all know this story too well. The truth is, our sleep pattern often gets disrupted due to our work, obligations, and even if we try to go to bed “on time” we often spend more time in bed rather than being asleep. But what is interesting is that many people often mistake light sleep for being awake. This is because your cognitive abilities might still be active, and as you drift out and into light sleep, your mind is still processing some information, though chances are you won’t remember them later.   

Light sleep is still better than no sleep, but unfortunately, it does not provide the restorative effects that our body needs, which is why experts recommend trying techniques specifically developed fotreating symptoms of insomnia, like sleep restriction in combination with CBT-I. 

What is Sleep Restriction Therapy? 

Sleep restriction was first invented in 1982 by Dr. Spielman and his colleagues in order to focus more on the efficiency of sleep and decreasing the time that a person spends in bed. It is based on the idea that deprivation of sleep will boost your sleep drive and keep you asleep. It might be a challenge for people who struggle with insomnia, but when we consider the fact of misinterpretation of being awake and being in light sleep, it is worth a shot.  

Another goal of sleep restriction is to break the connection that your mind is making between bed and wakefulness. As time passes and you are not able to fall asleep in bed, the conditioned stimulus for being awake will be your bed. To understand better the conditioned stimulus and conditioned response lets illustrate it: 

If you ever had food poisoning, you might already know where I’m going with this. Imagine that you ate a taco and for some reason it made you feel sick after a short time. Now every time you think or smell taco (conditioned stimulus), you will associate it with feeling sick or wanting to vomit (conditioned response). 

For the second one, imagine you get attacked by a dog while riding a bike. Now every time you are near the place of the attack (conditioned stimulus) your brain will automatically connect it with the attack; hence you will feel fear (conditioned response) as you pass it. The list can go on; the point is that our subconsciousness can do wonders and we shouldn’t underestimate it.
 

How Does Sleep Restriction Therapy Work?
 

The first thing that should be done is to estimate three primary factors of sleep: 

  1. Usual sleep duration 
  1. Wake up time during the workday 
  1. Sleep efficiency  

An example will help you to create a mental picture of how sleep restriction works (roughly). Let’s talk about Bob. Bob is an office worker (a typical 9-5 job). He usually wakes up at 7 am and goes to bed at 11 pm. But here is the catch, Bob has insomnia, which means he sleeps around 5 hours or less. To implement sleep restriction therapy, the first step is to limit his time in bed. Meaning, if he sleeps 5 hours, he should be in bed for 5 hours, going to bed at midnight and waking up at 5 am. It might seem harsh, but after a week or two the time spent awake during the night will decrease and increase sleep efficiency, but more on that later. 

The best way to follow that pattern is to keep a sleep diary. 

  1. Usual Sleep Duration 

The first couple of weeks use the sleep diary to keep track of your sleeping pattern, when do you go to bed when do you wake up, when do the sleep disruptions occur, etc. Once you have collected the data, calculate how many hours of sleep you get on average each night by reviewing your sleep diary. The easiest way to calculate it is simply by adding the number of hours during the whole week and then dividing by 7 (the days).  For instance, if you have slept for 38h in one week dividing it by 7 gives you the average number of 5.4h a night. 

  1. Schedule wake up time that works for you 

Since you will spend less time in bed, your waking up time will probably be slightly earlier than usual. Based on your choice you should schedule your optimal bedtime. You can do that by calculating backward, compared to the time you would wake up. In the previous example, we had 5.4h of average sleep per night. Adding 30 extra minutes as a start would lead us to about 6h allowed in bed. That means if you chose to wake up at 6 am, you should go to bed at 12 am. Sometimes it can be challenging to stay awake until chosen time but try your best to follow the schedule because that kind of sleep deprivation will limit the time awake in bed, and it will make you will fall asleep quicker. 

  1. Sleep Efficiency 

As with most new situations, it will be a bit difficult to get used to it, but as you track your sleep at the end of your first week, you’ll notice that it’s gradually improving. Naturally, there will still be some disruptions. Also, at the end of the week, you should calculate the efficiency of your sleep. You can do that by calculating the number of hours you spent asleep and dividing that with the number of hours you spent in bed in total. Going back to the mentioned example, let’s say you spent the whole 6h in bed, but due to disrupted sleep or sleep latency, the real amount of sleep varied from 4-5.5h. It means you spent 44h in bed while getting approximately 34.5h of quality sleep. The percentage of sleep efficiency is around 78. 

That percentage determines whether you should add more or deduct time spent in bed which you adjust every week. 

*All deductions and increases in TIB should be supervised and determined by clinician or therapist of your choice.  

For best results combine sleep restriction therapy with CBT-I and make sure you are supervised by a therapist who has experience with this type of treatment. Another benefit of having a therapist is that he/she can help you if you experience some side effects. Sometimes people who have bipolar disorder can feel moody due to sleep restriction. Others might feel that their seizures are getting worse. With the help of an expert, those side effects can be controlled or even avoided. 

It is hard to say how long you should implement this therapy strictly as it all depends on your progress. It can all be modified to minimize the symptoms of sleep disorders that can cause disruptions and help you get the best sleep quality to function in your day to day life properly.
 

Tips for Stimulus Control 

These tips are designed to help your brain connect bed with sleep instead of associating it with wakefulness. 

 

 

Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Tamara Smith


Sleep Restriction Therapy – A No-Medication Approach To Fighting Insomnia

Sleep restriction therapy is a part of cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a revolutionary treatment procedure that can be conducted without the use of risky medications. The concept for SRT is based on the idea that excessive time spent in bed can often perpetuate or amplify insomnia.

Insomnia is a very common problem, with about 20 percent of adult Americans reporting cases of it regularly. This sleep disorder directly or indirectly affects many aspects of your daily life, from work performance to your immune system or mental and emotional stability. Most sleep disorders happen without clearly defined causes, which can make treatment problematic, especially since a lot of recommended medication comes with side effects that could amplify the symptoms or cause unrelated conditions. For this reason, a lot of insomniacs are looking for a way to treat their condition without heavy medication use, as their work performance or social life would worsen dramatically due to those side effects.

Sleep restriction therapy (or SRT for short) is a part of cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a revolutionary treatment procedure that can be conducted without the use of risky medications. The concept for SRT is based on the idea that excessive time spent in bed can often perpetuate or amplify insomnia. By making a very strict sleep schedule and lowering the amount of time spent in bed (without going under five hours for obvious health-related reasons), we can work our way to higher sleep quality and quantity in the long run. Think of it like diet plans or exercise – sleep restriction therapy takes time and dedication. In this article, we will go over the basics of CBT-I and its components, focusing on sleep restriction therapy as a core method of dealing with insomnia without using prescription medication. Let’s get into it.

Cognitive Behavior Treatment for Insomnia (CBT-I)

The purpose of CBT-I is to change the patient’s behavior patterns and habits that help perpetuate or amplify insomnia. These habits include poor sleep hygiene, bad lifestyle habits, hyperarousal and so on. This technique can be used without or alongside medication treatment, although as always, meds carry the risk of very inconvenient side-effects that could be counterproductive for the whole therapy process.

Before any treatment procedure is initiated, the patient should have their sleep patterns evaluated, or document them themselves. This usually involves sleep tracking methods like keeping a sleep journal, as it’s very important for the patient to take note of everything in their life that could contribute to insomnia. These things can include stress from work or environments, too much time spent in front of screens, a bad diet plan, overstimulation from caffeine and similar sources, etc. If there is another condition that acts as the underlying cause of insomnia, it’s crucial to be aware of it.

Once all of these factors are taken into account, treatment can begin. CBT-I consists of several methods that all work alongside each other to improve the patient’s sleeping habits and remove misconceptions about sleep that can influence their decision-making. These methods include:

–          Stimulus control, a regime where the amount of things the patient uses their bed for is limited to sleeping and sex, and daytime napping is forbidden. Additionally, the patient is instructed to move to a different room if they stay awake in their bed for fifteen minutes or longer. This is done to prevent the mind from associating their bedroom with stress and frustration.

–          Sleep hygiene education, an approach where the patient learns about sleep-ruining habits and behaviors. They get educated on the consequences of heavy caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, exposure to TV, smartphone or computer screens before bed, and other factors. By knowing how to arrange a good sleeping environment (including how to create an ideal sleeping temperature and noise management) and properly wind down at the end of the day, the patient can maintain a healthier sleep schedule.

–          Relaxation exercises vary from method to method, but all have the same purpose: to help the body relax throughout the day, especially as bedtime starts approaching. Depending on the person in question, these exercises may include yoga sessions, self-hypnosis, meditation, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. Most relaxation exercises require no financial investment to perform and can be a healthy habit even if you’re not dealing with insomnia.

How Sleep Restriction Therapy Works

The main goal of sleep restriction therapy is to reduce the amount of time insomniacs spend in bed without sleeping. One of the main concerns sleep experts and therapists have is that excessive time spent tossing and turning can create a mental connection in the patient that connects their bed to frustration and anxiety. The bigger the percentage of time spent sleeping while in bed, the higher the sleep efficiency. To this end, it may be best to shorten the sleeping period to improve that efficiency.

As a whole, sleep restriction carries several benefits that help the patient over time. Because their nocturnal sleep window is reduced significantly, they become tired earlier in the day. While this can cause certain problems (which we’ll discuss later), it means that the patient is always tired and sleepy when it comes time to go to bed. Sleep onset latency is reduced considerably, which is one of the primary goals of SRT and CBT-I treatment in general. Much like with stimulus control, their newfound ease of falling asleep will help their brain make a positive association between their bed and relaxation, severely reducing the amount of anxiety the patient experiences in bed.

Being very tired right when they should go to bed helps people maintain a sleep schedule. A strict time-frame for sleeping is healthy for the body because it helps stabilize one of the most important processes our bodies are governed by – the circadian rhythm. Our brain has what amounts to a built-in biological master clock, and all of our hormonal secretions, metabolic functions, etc. are regulated and managed by this clock. Unfortunately, it is very easy to ruin our circadian rhythm through factors like alcohol consumption, heavy exercise before bed, stress, etc. The demographics with the biggest risk here are shift workers or long-distance drivers and pilots – these people either have to change their sleep schedules drastically to serve the needs of their occupation, or they (and their potential passengers) are particularly susceptible to the dangers of drowsy driving while on the road or in the air. Fragmented sleep is one of the main causes of daytime fatigue, as the affected person doesn’t spend enough time in deep sleep or REM sleep. These sleep stages are responsible for a large portion of physical and mental repairs, as the immune system, tissue repair, and memory consolidation primarily occur at this point in the sleep architecture. SRT is very effective in dealing with fragmented sleep – think of all those moments where you sleep like a log after dealing with fatigue all day. Your sleep becomes more restorative as a result of this therapy method.

The step by step process is fairly simple. The patient is instructed to maintain a sleep journal, usually starting several weeks before SRT begins properly. Through that sleep journal, the doctor receives information about the realistic number of hours the patient spends asleep each night. If they sleep only six hours but spend more than that amount of time tossing and turning in bed, then the sleep period is set to just under six hours (but never under five hours), to maximize initial sleep efficiency. The schedule is arranged, so the patient always goes to bed and gets out of bed at the same predetermined times. The patient is forbidden from taking naps or going to bed earlier than what was established.

Once their schedule is set, the patient must stick to it while working on the sleep journal. If the person estimates that their sleep efficiency is over 85 percent (meaning that at least 85 percent of their time in bed is spent sleeping) for a given week or two, the sleep period is increased by 15-30 minutes for the following 1-2 weeks. Should their sleep efficiency ever drop below 80%, the doctors will decrease the patient’s allowed sleeping time to correct that problem. A sleep efficiency value of 80-85 percent results in another week or two without changes. Over time, this technique is expected to not only improve sleep efficiency but help the patient sleep healthily throughout the night, as their insomnia symptoms get resolved.

Sleep Restriction Therapy Downsides and Risks

While its effectiveness has been noted many times, sleep restriction therapy isn’t without its share of controversy and critique. Most of these criticisms focus on the negative effects of sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness on the patient’s daily life. The fatigue that comes as a result of insomnia doesn’t normally go away during this therapy plan, which can put the patient in danger during their work commute or at their workplace. Drivers and pilots are particularly unsuitable for SRT, as their jobs require a very high level of vigilance and awareness – something that cannot coexist with fatigue. Shift workers can also find it incredibly hard to stick to one predetermined sleep schedule due to the nature of their unstable work hours. During studies, subjects have dropped out solely out of concern that their work performance and other aspects of life would be ruined by extra sleep deprivation.

Some sleep labs may set an initial “time in bed” value as low as 4-4.5 hours. Studies have concluded that going under five hours can create serious deficits in the patient’s attention span, cognitive sharpness and immune system, which is why some experts propose a mandatory lower limit of five hours. Anything less than that makes the person a liability at work and in traffic if maintained as a regular sleep schedule.

However, no connection has been drawn between SRT and increased daytime fatigue thus far (assuming the patient was given a sensible initial sleep window). This method rarely forces a patient to sleep for less time than they normally would – it only decreases how much time the patient spends in bed without sleeping. Additionally, the fatigue tends to disappear from the patient’s life slowly, as their insomnia starts to subside.

Note: If you experience unforeseen negative consequences of sleep restriction therapy, inform your doctor immediately. They may recommend an alternative treatment method or some natural sleep aids since those are much safer than the prescription medication you may be trying to avoid. Be thorough and dedicated when writing information down in your sleep journal, since your doctor will need anything you can give them.

Sleep Restriction Therapy and Depression

Depression is a potentially crippling mental health condition, and sleeping problems are some of its core symptoms. There is a reason that a lot of depressive people get tested for sleeping disorders – the two go hand-in-hand. When a doctor suspects their patient may have depression (which is important to know when diagnosing further problems), they often pose questions about the person’s sleeping patterns. Both insomnia and hypersomnia are possible outcomes of depression.

A vicious cycle can form in depressed people. As we’ve established, depression can result in all manner of sleeping problems, and those sleeping problems cause daytime fatigue. This fatigue negatively affects the person’s performance at work and their ability to socialize and stay energized or motivated. The mood drop that results from these problems fits in perfectly with how depression affects a person’s self-image and outlook on life, which can directly or indirectly contribute to further sleeping problems, repeating the cycle.

The consolidation of sleep achieved through SRT helps alleviate some of those problems by eliminating fragmented sleep. As a result, sleep restriction therapy is often used as a short-term depression reliever while a more concrete and thorough mental health care plan is constructed.

 

Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Dusan

Dusan is a biologist, a science enthusiast and a huge nature lover. He loves to keep up to date with all the new research and write accurate science-based articles. When he’s not writing or reading, you can find him in the kitchen, trying out new delicious recipes; out in the wild, enjoying the nature or sleeping in his bed.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and How Can It Be Used to Treat Insomnia?

Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective way of fighting the symptoms of insomnia. Learn how CBT can help you if you are struggling with insomnia.

Our lives in the modern age have changed quite a lot. We are always in a rush, working too much, and stressing about everything, while being bombarded with different stimuli all around. Whether those are screens that emit blue light, which messes with our internal clock, or simply noise from the urban environment.

As a result, our sleep is often suffering. It is no wonder that we have a pandemic of sleep disorders. One of the most common sleep disorders is insomnia, and it is estimated to affect around 30% of people at some point in their lives.

Treating insomnia is a challenging task, and it can be different depending on the individual. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first option for treating insomnia. It is supposed to be a long-lasting solution, in contrast to medication that is used to help manage short-term symptoms of insomnia.

Research done so far has shown that CBT is an effective way of lessening and eliminating symptoms of insomnia. Let’s dig in into different aspects of CBT, how it works, what are the benefits, and why you should try CBT if you are struggling with insomnia.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, where an affected person is either not able to fall or stay asleep. Depending on that, a person is diagnosed with either sleep onset or sleep maintenance insomnia.

Everyone experience a sleepless night now and then, and if it just one night, you probably shouldn’t worry about it. Maybe you had an afternoon nap, or you got too excited about some event, and your nightly rest suffered a little bit.

If the symptoms persist for some time, it is probably best to seek professional medical help. Some people may experience a condition called transient insomnia, which can last up to three months. It can usually be connected to a stressful period, some acute illness, hospitalization, or a significant life event. It can even be caused by a rebound effect when a person stops using sleep medication. The important thing is that the situation usually resolves when the conditions go back to normal.

Chronic insomnia is a little different. Environmental factors can trigger it, but genetic factors and underlying conditions play a significant role as well. 

Some people have a naturally low threshold for nighttime arousals, which is why their sleep is often fragmented, and they are more prone to developing insomnia. Others might have a condition like restless legs syndrome, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, kidney disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, or some other medical condition that is affecting their sleep.

If that is the case, besides standard insomnia treatment, doctors also focus on eliminating the underlying causes and managing the disease that is responsible for sleep disruption.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)?

CBT-I is a go-to treatment when it comes to insomnia. It consists of a series of visits to a psychologist who specializes in this type of treatment. The goal of CBT-I is to address problems surrounding sleep and to create a more peaceful sleep environment, as well as a positive attitude towards your nightly rest.

CBT-I is used for treating chronic insomnia since people usually develop negative thoughts and behaviors connected to their sleep. It is understandable that after tossing and turning in bed for a long time, people tend to get a bit frustrated. And if this persists for weeks or months, you might go to bed every night expecting to get inadequate rest.

That is where CBT-I steps in and tries to turn these negative associations into positive ones. That takes time, and CBT-I is often viewed as a long term solution for sleep problems. Standard CBT-I program involves regular sessions for 6 to 12 weeks, and it includes different approaches based on each case.

The CBT-I can include stimulus control, sleep restriction, biofeedback, relaxation training, and sleep hygiene education. The treatment usually consists of a combination of these approaches, and sometimes you can even be prescribed medication for short term relief if the symptoms are severe. It is all closely watched by a sleep specialist, who evaluates your condition with each weekly session, and they adjust the treatment accordingly. 

Stimulus Control

People with insomnia often have a lot of negative thoughts about sleep. They get frustrated with the inability to fall asleep, which can later develop into anxiety. That results in a negative attitude towards going to sleep, as people are already expecting a negative outcome.

Stimulus control aims to reinforce positive associations with sleep and to get rid of any distracting thoughts. That usually means using your bed only for nightly rest and intimacy and leaving all electronics, and other distractions from your bedroom. All other activities like watching TV, reading, catching up with news, or looking up social networks should be left outside the bedroom.

When you get rid of distractions, it should be easier to fall asleep. However, if you have been in your bed for 20 minutes, and you haven’t fallen asleep, it is time to get up. Doing some relaxing activity should wear you out, and then you can return to bed when you feel tired again.

After some time, your brain learns to recognize the bedroom as a place for relaxation, and nightly rest. That means that it takes less time for you to fall asleep, and all the negative thoughts surrounding sleep will slowly go away.

Sleep Restriction

Most people think that going earlier to bed should result in more sleep. However, that is not true in most cases, since more time in bed doesn’t necessarily mean more rest. Our internal clocks dictate our sleep and wake cycles, and the best thing you can do for your internal clock is consistency. Going and getting out of bed at the same time every day is one of the most important things when it comes to good sleeping habits.

Sleep restriction limits the time spent in bed each night in an attempt to cut down the time needed to fall asleep. For instance, if you usually spend 7 hours in bed each night, but you only get 4 hours of sleep, the initial limit is set at 4 hours. 

Sleep restriction seems to have an opposite of the desired effect in the beginning, since you are spending less time in bed, you are not getting enough sleep. But with time, falling asleep becomes more comfortable, and your sleep efficiency increases. After that, you start gradually increasing your time spent in bed until you can regularly get sufficient amount of sleep without prolonged sleep onset and nocturnal disturbances.

Biofeedback and Relaxation Techniques

These two usually go hand in hand as the ultimate goal is for you to calm down, and enter a relaxed state that should make it easier to fall asleep. 

Biofeedback refers to using a small device that tells you about the state of your body. This device tracks your heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, or body temperature, and can tell you when these parameters change. The device alerts you when these parameters increase, which is an indicator that you are getting restless. Using these devices comes naturally for some people, while others need time to get used to them. Either way, don’t worry and take your time. 

After you learn to recognize the signs of restlessness, it is essential to know how to reverse your mind and body into a calm state. That is when relaxation techniques come into play, and the most common ones include meditation and breathing exercises

With biofeedback and relaxation techniques, you will learn to recognize when you are getting frustrated with the inability to fall asleep, and also to calm yourself. That is useful not just for sleep, but for other aspects of your life as well.

Sleep Hygiene Education

One of the first things a sleep specialist does is examining your lifestyle habits. People often do certain things that disrupt their nightly rest, without them even realizing. That is why it is crucial to learn about good sleep hygiene and make some adjustments to help you sleep better. That includes:

On top of all of these techniques and education, a sleep specialist will discuss everything with you during weekly sessions. They can discover underlying sleep problems, tell you where you go wrong and point you in the right direction. Even though it may seem like all of these different techniques aren’t complicated, having a professional guide you makes it much easier. 

Is CBT-I Effective?

It all means nothing if CBT is not effective for treating insomnia. Luckily, there has been a lot of research, where scientists investigated aspects of CBT and how it compared to sleep medication.

This 2002 meta-analysis tried to discover how effective sleep medication and behavioral therapy were in treating chronic insomnia. The review looked at different parameters, including total sleep time, sleep latency, number of nighttime arousals, wake time after sleep onset, and sleep quality. All of these were assessed before and after the treatment was conducted. The results showed that both pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy are an effective way of treating short term effects of primary insomnia. There was no difference in effectiveness between those two, except in sleep latency, where CBT showed a more significant reduction in sleep latency.

A 2004 study looked at different treatment approaches for insomnia. The results showed that CBT was the most effective intervention, and it also produced the most persistent improvement in sleepers. That was another step in proving the effectiveness of CBT, and placing is as the number one treatment for insomnia.

The results of later research followed the same trend. This meta-analysis also highlighted that CBT-I is at least as effective as pharmacotherapy in the short term, and it is superior in the long term. Because of the long-lasting effects of CBT-I, it is considered a first-line treatment for insomnia.

Besides insomnia, CBT has been proven effective for some other conditions, like anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. A 2012 study showed some long term effects of CBT on patients with chronic pain. There was a 23-minute improvement in total sleep time recorded six months after the treatment. That showed that CBT was valid and that it also had long-lasting effects.

When to See a Professional

If you occasionally experience a night of poor sleep, there is probably nothing to worry about. However, if your problems persist for some time, you might need to see a professional. If your everyday life and work performance are affected, it is time to book an appointment.

Medical professionals will help discover the cause of your sleep problems, and prescribe you the needed therapy. Depending on what’s causing your sleep problem, it could even be CBT.

If you have been advised to try CBT-I, it is vital to remember that it has been proven effective time after time. Stick to it even though it might not seem like it’s working in the beginning, it will definitely pay off in the long run. 

 

Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Dusan

Dusan is a biologist, a science enthusiast and a huge nature lover. He loves to keep up to date with all the new research and write accurate science-based articles. When he’s not writing or reading, you can find him in the kitchen, trying out new delicious recipes; out in the wild, enjoying the nature or sleeping in his bed.

CPAP vs. BiPAP

Both CPAP and BiPAP are types of noninvasive ventilation therapy that are prescribed to help with symptoms of sleep apnea and other respiratory disorders that disturb sleep. Read on to find out whether you should choose a CPAP or a BIPAP machine for your sleep-related breathing disorder.

Many people suffer from sleep-related breathing disorders that prevent them from getting a good night’s rest. The most prevalent one is sleep apnea that is estimated to affect millions of people in the US alone. When you are not breathing correctly during the night, your body is not getting enough oxygen for its basic needs. Also, the carbon dioxide that is produced in the cell metabolism can’t be taken out, and its buildup can be toxic for your body. The first sign of many sleep-related breathing disorders is snoring. People also often experience daytime sleepiness, fatigue, impaired memory, concentration, and they have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2.

Good news is that adequate oxygen or positive air pressure (PAP) therapy are proven to be very effective with these conditions. They might not cure the disorders, but they significantly improve the symptoms, and people feel better rested after sleeping, and exhibit higher energy and oxygen blood levels during the day. Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy.

What Conditions Can CPAP and BiPAP Treat?

Both CPAP and BiPAP are types of noninvasive ventilation therapy that are prescribed to help with symptoms of sleep apnea and other respiratory disorders that disturb sleep.

One thing that all of these conditions have in common is that people have a hard time to maintain proper breathing during sleep, which leads to disrupted blood flow and oxygen blood levels. If left untreated, these disorders can lead to a lot of sleep disturbances and many health conditions, that can drastically shorten a person’s lifespan. That is why adequate CPAP and BiPAP treatment is essential in improving symptoms in the affected population.

What Is CPAP?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is usually the first treatment for OSA. It is widely successful in people with mild to moderate OSA symptoms. CPAP machine a steady, continuous flow of air, set at a defined pressure based on your needs. The device consists of a body that is the main powerhouse, and it is usually placed next to a patients bed. It works by sucking in the air from the room, which then goes through a specific filter to remove all the particles and impurities that may have a negative impact. The device then pressurizes the air to a certain degree that has been determined and set to suit an individual patient. Most of the machines also have a humidifier to prevent possible irritations such as the dry mouth and nasal cavity. The device usually comes with a setting that allows you to start at a lower than prescribed pressure, and then slowly increasing it to help you adjust to CPAP treatment. CPAP therapy requires some getting used to, and the person will usually adapt to it fully within the first few weeks.

The hose is carrying the pressurized air from the machine, and its diameters might vary, but the length is usually standard 6 feet. CPAP masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to better suit the needs of every patient. However, there are three basic models: nasal masks, nasal pillow, and full face masks. First go over your nose, second rest comfortably in your nostrils, while the third one goes over your mouth and nose. Full face masks are a good option for people suffering from allergies, as their nose can often be congested, which prevents proper breathing and can also worsen symptoms of OSA.

CPAP devices use the constant flow of pressurized air, and that is one of the most common complaints among patients since many have a hard time breathing out with continuous flow. That is why newer CPAP models have a variable pressure setting such as AFLEX, C-FLEX, Bi FLEX, SenseAwake or EPR, depending on the manufacturer. This feature reduces pressure while exhaling, making it more comfortable to use. Some patients won’t ever need this setting, others will find it sufficient, while others might feel like CPAP is uncomfortable even with this feature. They might turn to an alternative of BiPAP, which is often prescribed if people have a hard time with CPAP treatment.

How is CPAP Pressure Determined?

The diagnosis of sleep apnea or other mentioned conditions is usually made in a sleep clinic where technicians do an overnight sleep study called polysomnography. After you have been diagnosed with a specific disease, the doctor will order a CPAP titration study to determine the appropriate pressure of your CPAP machine. This test might even be done on the same night that the polysomnography takes place.

First, a sleep technician fits a CPAP mask on your face, and you can decide between three standard designs. Full face masks are usually a good option for people with allergies. Nasal pillows are suitable for people with a lot of facial hair, or those who are somewhat uncomfortable with putting a mask over their face, while nasal ones are somewhere in the middle, being stable enough for people who toss and turn at night, but less bulky than the full face ones. After picking the right mask, you will go to sleep, and sleep technician will change the pressure during this time to find the best option for you.

What is APAP?

Auto-titrating positive airway pressure (APAP) functions similarly to CPAP. The difference is that the machine can sense subtle changes in breathing patterns, and automatically adjust a pressure setting according to a range from a titration study.

APAP is often prescribed to people who experience apneas during REM sleep, when they have allergies, or when they are sleeping on their backs. For example, when you are sleeping on your back, your tongue may fall back and obstruct the airway, which leads to longer and more frequent episodes. People with allergies may need a higher pressure to clear nasal congestion.

What Is BiPAP?

Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) is prescribed to people suffering from central sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, congestive heart failure, and other lung or neuromuscular disorders. It can also be prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea if CPAP therapy showed ineffective. That often happens in people with severe OSA, complex sleep apnea, or those who simply don’t respond well to CPAP therapy. For example, the most common complaint is that people find it hard to exhale with constant air pressure, and that is why BiPAP is a better option.

The way that BiPAP works is somewhat similar to CPAP. It delivers pressurized air to the user, but in this case, there are two distinct pressures, a higher one during the inhalation, and a lower one during exhalation. Most BiPAP devices also come with a feature that measures an optimal amount of breaths per minute. If you miss an inspiration in your sleep, the machine increases the air pressure and forces you to take a breath, therefore providing optimal airflow and oxygen blood levels.

Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) is an alternative option for those who don’t respond well to BiPAP therapy. These devices are more advanced and versatile as they can change the pressure, the volume, as well as the speed at which the air is being delivered, based on your needs.

CPAP And Bipap – Pros and Cons

Advantages of CPAP:

  1. It is the most cost-effective method of treating sleep apnea.
  2. Newer models have settings that allow lower pressure during expiration.
  3. It provides users with far better quality sleep, lessening the apnea events if used as prescribed.
  4. It prevents snoring.
  5. The use of CPAP lowers blood pressure, which prevents other heart-related issues from happening.
  6. Affected person’s sleeping partner also gets a better night’s rest due to fewer disruptions caused by snoring and apnea events.
  7. Lower stress levels, better mood, more energy and motivation during the day, and less daytime sleepiness.

Drawbacks of CPAP:

  1. The biggest one is getting used to CPAP treatment as some people may feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable upon exhaling. The result of this discomfort is infrequent use of a CPAP machine, which makes the treatment far less effective.
  2. The pressure setting is fixed.
  3. Wearing a mask can cause skin irritation, rashes, and itching.
  4. Some people may experience dry mouth.
  5. The fixed setting can become too weak or strong, depending on the changes in the user’s weight.
  6. Bloating.

Advantages of BiPAP:

  1. It is very effective in treating people with severe sleep apnea and other health conditions.
  2. There are two different pressure settings, allowing users to exhale more comfortably against a lower pressure.
  3. The machine can force you to take a breath if you haven’t inspired in a certain period.

Drawbacks of BiPAP:

  1. It is more expensive than CPAP.
  2. You need to show insurance companies proof of prior use of a CPAP machine, to receive the approval for BiPAP.
  3. Bloating.
  4. Eye irritation.
  5. Sinus problems.
  6. The development of complex sleep apnea in some cases where only OSA was present.

It is hard to determine which one is a better option. They both have strengths and drawbacks, but the good news is that both CPAP and BiPAP are highly effective in treating sleep-related breathing disorders. Keep in mind that BiPAP machines cost more to buy or rent and that the parts are also more expensive if something breaks down. The best way to decide which option is the best for you is to talk to your doctor. They can tell you more about your condition, and how to treat it, so stick with their prescription. If you don’t feel comfortable or notice that some other symptoms are developing, tell them right away, and help them figure out the best treatment for you.

 

Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Laura Garcia

Laura Garcia is a freelance writer based in Chicago. She holds degrees in writing from Drake University. When she’s not busy writing, Laura likes to spend as much as time as possible with her husband James and three-year-old son Elijah.

Hypnosis Treatment – Can it Help with Insomnia?

Looking for alternative ways to beat insomnia? Try hypnosis therapy! Recent research suggests that hypnosis can be one of the better treatments for insomnia, as it is natural, and generally good for physical and mental health.

Most people have experienced trouble falling asleep at some point in their life. Studies show that around 70 million Americans suffer from some sleep disorder. Unfortunately, nowadays, we are very active during the day, have more obligations than ever before, and as a consequence experience a lot of stress which negatively affects our sleep. 

If a person has constant difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep enough to get rested, it might be a symptom of chronic insomnia. There are several ways to prevent or recover from this condition. Recent research suggests that hypnosis can be one of the better treatments for insomnia, as it is natural, and generally good for physical and mental health. Read on to find more about insomnia and how hypnotherapy may help with this condition.

The Importance of Good Night’s Sleep

Quality sleep positively affects every aspect of our lives, and sleeping less than our body requires can lead to serious health problems. There is evidence that shows that bad sleeping habits can even shorten our lifespan. Heart problems may arise if we are constantly tired. Lack of sleep can also affect how we deal with the world around us. We are more likely to get angry and not be able to control our emotions properly. Because our focus decreases, we are more prone to accidents and have a harder time adapting to stressful events. Although not as essential, our social life can suffer as well. When we don’t get enough sleep, we appear less physically and socially attractive to others.

If you have sleep problems, reaching for sleeping pills is not always the solution. In most cases, sleep medications help you to fall asleep by making you feel drowsy. As a consequence, you won’t feel refreshed in the morning, but rather as you were run over by a train. Before reaching for sleeping pills, it’s better to try some natural treatment options such as herbal supplements and teas, CBT-I, or even hypnosis.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, and people who suffer from this condition have problems falling asleep or staying asleep long enough to get rested. Waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep can also happen. Common symptoms include difficulties concentrating, fatigue, and trouble with performing everyday tasks.

Based on what causes it, this sleep disorder can be primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is not caused by another condition, while secondary insomnia occurs as a symptom of another health problem or condition. Insomnia can also vary in how often it happens and how long it lasts. It can be short, and only occur occasionally, for instance, the night before or after some stressful event. This condition is called acute insomnia. 

On the other hand, chronic insomnia can last several nights in a row over at least three months. If this happens, treatment is recommended because it can be a sign of other medical or psychological issues. Knowing what causes sleep disturbance is vital as it will help with treating it correctly. 

Scientists believe that one of the causes of insomnia is a problem with the sleep and wake cycle in our brain. For instance, when our brain is supposed to enter the sleep cycle, we stay awake. Additionally, the wake cycle lasts significantly longer than normal, so we don’t feel the need to sleep even though our body is tired.

Medical conditions are some of the most common causes of secondary insomnia. Among leading causes are chronic back pain, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, endocrine and gastrointestinal problems, etc. If any of these conditions cause sleep problems, it is recommended to inform a doctor as there may be a way to alleviate the symptoms and improve your sleep. Some medications can also lead to sleep disorders as a side effect.

Psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, and emotional discomfort can cause insomnia that ranges from mild to severe. Mental disease and insomnia are usually linked, and symptoms of one condition can worsen the symptoms of the other.

What is Hypnosis?

The origin of the name hypnosis comes from a Greek god of sleep “Hypnos.” Even though it means “put to sleep,” the state that is induced by hypnosis is not sleeping. It is sometimes referred to as hypnotherapy as it usually involves a researcher or a health professional working with a patient. This type of alternative therapy is used to improve the patients’ state of mind through increased focus, relaxation, and attentiveness. Patients are awake during these sessions, but they are less aware of what is happening around them and more responsive to suggestion. 

When it comes to inducing hypnosis, most people think of swinging watches that make them slowly drift to sleep, but in reality, it is less exciting. Hypnotherapists perform verbal cues that patients listen to and get drawn into a trance-like state. These cues are usually spoken in a soft voice and help patients enter a state of deep relaxation. When hypnotized, patients have increased suggestibility, which means that they are more likely to respond to any suggestions made by the therapist. As hypnotherapy heavily relies on the placebo effect, some people are more suggestible than others. When successful, hypnotherapy shows results within a few sessions, and some of its positive effects can last a lifetime. Even though hypnosis can be a great help, it is recommended to use it as an additional tool to improve other therapies. 

Can Hypnotherapy Help With Insomnia?

If you suffer from more severe sleep disorders, like chronic insomnia, the best course of action is to consult your physician. This way, you can find out if your problems are a symptom of another medical condition. If it turns out you have chronic insomnia, your physician may recommend other therapies like CBT-I. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective ways to treat insomnia, and it consists of several different therapies, including a type of hypnosis. The effects of CBT can be further improved when combined with hypnotherapy. Ask your doctor to refer you to a good hypnotherapist with experience in treating insomnia, and ask for additional resources that can help you learn more about this type of therapy. 

When visiting a hypnotherapist, one of the most crucial things is the willingness to participate in the session and do what you are told. Telling yourself that it will not work or having any doubts can make the process more difficult. As hypnosis is similar to meditation, it is essential to be relaxed as much as possible. The difference is, with hypnosis, you are in this state with the purpose of changing thoughts or patterns. When it comes to insomnia, hypnotherapy is used to train the unconscious mind to sleep naturally and with ease. Those who have long-term insomnia usually feel anxiety when they need to fall asleep, making it even harder to do so. Through hypnosis, a therapist will try to help you deal with this unconsciously by generating more positive associations towards sleep. This is done by using positive words while hypnotized to describe your sleeping experience. For instance, “rest,” “tranquility,” and “peace” are known to work well. Your mind will stop treating sleep negatively, and it will be easier to get enough rest. If someone has problems falling asleep occasionally, these problems are often caused by high levels of stress and inability to relax your mind. Therefore, hypnotherapists usually use a step-by-step process that helps gradually reduce conscious thoughts.

 

Even though it has not yet been medically proven that hypnosis helps with insomnia, many studies have been performed claiming that this type of alternative therapy helps with sleep disorders. Research has shown that problems with restless legs syndrome (RLS), insomnia, sleepwalking, and night terrors have been reduced through hypnotherapy. Hypnosis can have a positive impact on your rest in several ways. For instance, Swiss researchers reported that participants who were hypnotized experienced sleep of much better quality. They spent more time in the deep sleep stage, slept longer, and were more well-rested. Different research has shown that those who visited a hypnotherapist and participated in sessions several times a week were able to fall asleep faster. A study that was performed in 2007 had promising results. Participants received only one session, and a month later, over half of them reported the improvement of their condition. 

Because of its positive results, and the fact that it is a natural treatment, hypnotherapy can reduce the symptoms of this sleep disorder. Full recovery is possible as well, with both acute and chronic type. If you want to achieve the best results, you should combine it with other therapies.

Can Self-Hypnosis Help With Insomnia?

One of the best things about hypnosis is that it is simple, and almost anyone can lead themselves into this state. Although sessions with a therapist are recommended for more severe sleep disorders, acute insomnia can be dealt with by using self-hypnosis techniques.

There are several ways of self-hypnotizing. It is usually done by following already established programs for inducing self-hypnosis. You can also listen to a guided recording. These programs and recordings are available online, so there is no special preparation necessary to try this. 

Most self-hypnosis programs have similar steps that need to be taken to reach a state of deep relaxation and be subjectable to hypnosis. First of all, it is crucial to find the most comfortable position, and your sleeping position is usually the best choice. Next, your eyes should be closed, and you need to relax your mind and body. It can be helpful to try to imagine tension and stress leaving your body. Afterward, you can use different breathing techniques. The program you follow will usually have a guide that will assist you. If not, you should breathe deeply and rhythmically. Take around 3 seconds for each inhale and exhale. Finally, you will need to recite a script that will help you fall into a relaxing sleep. When you wake up, you will feel refreshed and rested.

When it comes to recordings for self-inducing hypnosis, they commonly contain a guided audio or video session. These are often recordings of some of the best hypnotherapists giving advice and strategies on how to enter a state of deep relaxation. When you succeed, a therapist will use softly spoken words that should help you fall asleep. For instance, phrases like “yawn,” “peace,” and “let go” work best. Even though it sounds simple, these words are what helps transfer your unconscious mind from meditation-like state to sleep. All these recordings are relatively short, as they last up to 15 minutes. 

If your insomnia is not too severe, and you visit a hypnotherapist, he or she might give you a script that you can work with from the comfort of your home. You can also ask a professional to recommend some techniques for meditation and self-hypnosis because they can be useful for many other things. For example, they can help reduce work-related stress, relax your body after intense physical exercise, or help you improve your emotional health.

In conclusion, if you can clear your mind of thoughts and lead yourself into deep relaxation, self-hypnosis will probably help you with insomnia. Although it might be harder with more severe cases, reducing anxiety with these techniques can at least improve some aspects of dealing with this sleep disorder. 

Can Hypnosis be Used on Children?

Children can also be affected by various sleep disorders or just have occasional problems with falling asleep. Since there are no sleeping pills for children that are FDA approved, other therapies need to be used. Changing their sleep hygiene can prove helpful, and if not, CBT can be very successful. Children who have some type of insomnia can also combine these therapies with hypnosis. Hypnotherapy can also be helpful by itself. There is evidence that younger people, children especially, enter the state of hypnosis more easily than those past adolescence. Furthermore, some studies show that children have been successfully treated with hypnotherapy from various problems, including headaches, night terrors, and even insomnia. 

Takeaway

Even though there is still only a limited number of studies that show positive results of hypnosis, hypnotherapy is a promising new way of dealing with insomnia.

The important thing is not to get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Solving your sleeping disorders with hypnosis requires commitment and willingness. Sometimes, positive results can manifest after more than five sessions. Moreover, to fully recover from insomnia, treatments may need to last several years. Hypnosis is one of the most natural ways to get yourself to sleep without any side effects.

 

 

Scientifically reviewed by CountingSheep.net Team

Written by

Donna Maurer

As an experienced researcher and content creator, Donna has covered health, wellness, bio-hacking, and fertility-related topics for numerous publications. She is a former writer for an alternative medicine clinic and can often be found researching the latest industry approaches and trends. Donna loves sharing the insight she's learned from her own experience with navigating the wellnes, in the hopes that it will inspire others on similar journeys.

Alternative Medicine Solutions for Sleep Disorders

For some people, insomnia is a lifelong problem. For others, the issue is temporary, lasting days, weeks, or even months before sleep patterns return to normal. Thankfully, there are several alternative medicine solutions that can help people who are suffering from sleep disorders.

Insomnia is a widespread issue, and most people experience it at one time or another. Many people suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders may have trouble falling asleep at night, staying asleep, or they may simply wake up several times throughout the night. For others, the issue is that they wake up too early in the morning, resulting in reduced productivity, moodiness, poor memory retention, fatigue throughout the day, and sometimes even a lack of enjoyment for life in general.

Although it’s perfectly normal to have a restless night here and there, not getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis can be hard on your health, both mentally and physically. For some people, insomnia is a lifelong problem. For others, the issue is temporary, lasting days, weeks, or even months before sleep patterns return to normal. Thankfully, there are several alternative medicine solutions that can help people who are suffering from sleep disorders.

What Causes Temporary Insomnia?

Temporary insomnia can last anywhere from a single night to several weeks. Many things can bring on this problem, but the most common cause is stress. Illness or temporary pain from some sort of injury can also bring on periods of insomnia. Sometimes the problem is caused by something in the environment, such as sleeping in a new place, too much light, or too much noise. 

And, of course, changes in the sleep pattern, such as working a different shift or jet lag, can also bring on periods of temporary insomnia. If you are experiencing temporary insomnia, it’s essential to be aware of daytime fatigue that could lead to accidents on the road at your job.

What Causes Chronic Insomnia?

For most people, temporary insomnia will usually resolve itself. However, temporary insomnia can develop into a chronic issue if the cause of your inability to sleep is not addressed. In more severe cases, chronic insomnia may be the result of mental or emotional disorders, including extreme stress, depression, and anxiety.

Other health conditions, like sleep apnea, breathing problems, hormonal or digestive disorders, and even heart conditions, can cause chronic insomnia. Drug and alcohol abuse and overuse of stimulants like caffeine and tobacco are also common causes. And finally, poor bedtime habits, like keeping the television on when you’re trying to fall asleep or not having a regular bedtime schedule, could also be the cause.

Using Herbalism and Supplements to Relieve Insomnia

There are several herbs and supplements that are recommended for the treatment of insomnia. Herbs and supplements are a great alternative to conventional sleeping pills because they are usually non-addictive, and they don’t generally leave you feeling drowsy when you wake up in the morning. 

Here are some herbs and supplements to consider trying if you are suffering from chronic or temporary insomnia:

Aromatherapy for Insomnia Relief

“If you’re having racing thoughts and difficulty settling into a restful sleep, insomnia may creep in,” says Yinova Center Chinese Medicine expert, Kate Reil. Kate is an acupuncturist and herbalist who often incorporates essential oils into an overall treatment plan for patients suffering from insomnia. She goes on to say that essential oils can be used for easing feelings of anxiety and promoting deep sleep.

Here are some essential oils to try:

Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Insomnia

Relaxation techniques can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer, and feel more rested when you wake up. They should be used about 20 or 30 minutes before bedtime, and there are several different techniques you can try.

One of the easiest techniques to try is visualization. All you do is get in a comfortable position and imagine a calming scene. Try to include all of your senses. For example, if you’re at the beach, think about the way the breeze feels on your skin, hear the waves, smell the salt water, and picture the waves in your mind. The more vivid you visualize the scene, the more effective it will be.

Yoga is beneficial for insomnia because it includes several relaxation techniques, including stretching, meditation, and deep breathing. A study done by Harvard showed that people who do yoga every day for eight weeks fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and don’t wake up as often during the night. Try searching online for a gentle nighttime yoga routine and do it every night about half an hour before bedtime.

Massage Therapy for Insomnia

Studies done by the Mayo Clinic show that massage therapy is beneficial for reducing the stress that can lead to insomnia. Massage can help people sleep more deeply and restoratively. Massage can help boost the production of the hormones melatonin and serotonin, which are both critical for quality sleep. It’s a smart, drug-free option that can be used over the long term to help with both short-term and chronic insomnia.

Many physicians are beginning to recognize the value of alternative medicine for treating insomnia. Conventional sleeping pills are beginning to take a back seat to safer, more natural therapies. A multi-dimensional approach that addresses the patient as a whole may improve the outcome for patients who are hesitant to turn to pharmaceuticals.