The recent hot weather has seen a lot of us having trouble sleeping but for Tony* the problem was year round. He had trouble getting to sleep and often didn’t fall asleep until an hour or two before his alarm went off. He was tired all the time, his work as a self-employed designer had suffered and he found himself having naps in the afternoon when tiredness overtook him. He’d asked me to see him about hypnotherapy for insomnia.
Tony had seen his doctor, and he didn’t want to take sleeping tablets but wanted to try something else to help him get a restful night’s sleep. He had come to me because he’d heard how I’d helped other people, and because he assumed that I could hypnotise him, as he put it “to sleep properly”.
He was surprised, despite what other people had told him, when I didn’t start by hypnotising him. Instead we talked about Tony’s routine during the day and the evening, and his sleep habits. He was clearly anxious about not getting nine hours sleep every night, but when I asked him he hadn’t had nine hours sleep since he was fifteen – over twenty years ago!
As a result Tony was going to bed before he was tired, and then watching television or using his laptop. A lot of Tony’s problems came from his lack of “sleep hygiene” and his bedroom not being a restful place. Convincing him to ditch the television and laptop was the first step in helping him sleep, followed by looking at the effect of his afternoon nap. Whilst it helped with his sleeplessness from the night before, it worsened his sleeplessness that evening, and so kept the problem going.
The last thing I taught Tony was to let himself fall asleep without being anxious about when or whether it would happen. This was what was keeping him awake when he was tired, while the rest of his ideas and habits were making things worse. I’m glad to say that after a week of not napping in the afternoon and not oversleeping Tony had got to a point where he was tired and falling asleep when he went to bed at night.
*Tony’s real identity has been protected, and he is happy to share his story of using hypnotherapy for insomnia problems.