hypnosis for sleeping disorders

How Effective is Hypnosis For Sleeping Disorders? A Deep Look!


Struggling with sleep is a problem that affects millions of people throughout the world. It not only makes it difficult for you to rest and refresh your mind but also makes the following day even more hectic.

While there are many interventions that help with various sleep disorders, many people have barely had their sleep issues completely solved by them.

Hypnosis is one other method that you should consider if you are one of these people and we will be looking at how it helps with that and what studies and research reports have found out about it.

Understanding the Sleeping Problems Better

Sleep issues are a big problem in society and many people suffer silently from them.

Reports from the American Sleep Association show that, in the United States, about 50 to 70 million adults are fighting a sleep disorder with about 25 million of those having obstructive sleep apnea (1).

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders that 30% of the American adults suffer from in the short term and about 10% suffer chronically from.

When it comes to sleep-related issues, 48% of the population have a snoring problem, 37.9% find themselves sleeping unintentionally at least once a month, and about 4.7% fall asleep while driving once a month, on the minimum.

Drowsy driving in the United States accounts for one thousand five hundred and fifty deaths and about forty thousand injuries every year.

Some of the most common symptoms of sleep disorders include waking up a lot during the night, feeling sleepy and tired during the day, having difficulties with paying attention and concentrating on tasks, feeling irritated, anxious, and depressed, not feeling fresh the following morning, and having morning headache.

People use different methods of treatment such as sleeping pills, melatonin supplements, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), and lifestyle changes for their sleeping disorders.

Hypnosis is also another method that is proving to be effective in handling various disorders including insomnia.

Let’s have a look at what hypnosis is and how it works.

What is Hypnosis

When hypnosis is used in a clinical environment as a tool for a given therapy, it is normally referred to as hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy is used by a well-trained, qualified, and licensed clinician to create hypnotic states for a patient that help them address the different issues that they are dealing with in their lives.

The clinician leads the patient into a hypnotic state, which is a trance-like state that makes the patient direct their attention towards inner experiences like feelings, cognition, and imagery (2).

While in this state, the level of attention and concentration increases, and the patient becomes relaxed, open to suggestions, and calm.

A hypnotic reality is created for the patient where what they are led to imagine feels real for them.

In this state, the clinician uses verbal suggestions and imagery to help the patient change their thought patterns and behavior, among other aspects of their lives that lead to an overall improvement.

The hypnotic state is not a strange mental state for human beings as we experience it quite often.

Some of the normal instances that induce this state include when we are working on a task that we are used to doing, when reading a really interesting novel, when meditating or praying, or even when we daydream.

To better understand what hypnosis is all about, its history, types of hypnosis, myths, benefits, and more essential information about it, we encourage you to read our beginner’s guide to hypnosis.

How Hypnosis For Sleeping Works

For handling sleep issues, hypnosis is aimed at helping the patient reduce the negative thought patterns they have about sleep, help them relax, and reduce physical and mental tension that could be holding them back from having a restful sleep.

Hypnotherapy also seeks to improve the sleeping patterns of the patient by giving them suggestions that enhance the patterns.

Hypnosis is used to access the subconscious mind where our habits, behaviors, beliefs, and self-made concepts are stored through verbal guidance or suggestions when the patient is in the trance-like state that heightens their suggestibility level.

When you visit a hypnotherapist, you will be given the chance to explain your problem and tell them what you wish to change in your life and the kind of improvements you would want to have.

During this session, you will also be taken through the whole hypnosis technique and get a description of how you will be taken through it. Any questions and concerns you may have about the therapy will be answered by the hypnotherapist.

Based on the information that will be collected about your case, the hypnotherapist will create a plan that is designed to help you achieve the kind of results you are looking for.

After that, you will begin your hypnotherapy session by being guided into a state of relaxation and calmness and then into the hypnotic state.

Here, the main causes of your sleep disorder will be uncovered and they will be addressed through various forms of therapies based on the strategy the hypnotherapist you are working with uses.

The number of sessions you may require to get better depends on the degree of your case. There are people who take 3 sessions and get well while others may take more or less than that.

After the sessions, the hypnotherapist will determine how much of an impact the sessions have had on you and see which step to take next.

You may also be taught self-hypnosis techniques to help you have an easier time sleeping at home.

Hypnosis is most effective when combined with other sleep improvement interventions such as Cognitive Based Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), mindfulness, psychotherapy, physiotherapy, or even relaxation techniques.

It is also advised that you seek to ensure that the hypnotherapist you choose to work with knows other methods of sleep improvement and uses them all together in a way that is approved by the clinical research literature.

Although hypnosis is potentially effective on its own, it works best on the patient when used alongside other well-known techniques.

It is also worth noting that not all people respond well to hypnosis. Some people are easily hypnotized while others find it hard to get into the hypnotic state.

Hypnosis works well when you are easily hypnotizable.

It is also critical that you visit a doctor before you get into hypnotherapy so that you are sure what the cause of your sleep issue is.

It may be an acute cause like anxiety, stress or depression or an underlying chronic disease, effects of drugs, or biological dysfunction.

Visiting a doctor also helps you know if your sleep condition can be treated through hypnosis and if you are a good fit for the hypnotic strategy.

What Research Says About it

There has been a moderate amount of research on hypnosis that is designed for sleeping conditions over the years.

A study that was done on understanding the idea of hypnotherapy on managing different sleep disorders showed that acute insomnia as well as chronic insomnia do respond to hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques together with instructions on sleep hygiene (3)(4).

It also revealed that hypnotherapy has shown rewarding results with sleep terrors, nightmares, and parasomnias especially for sleepwalking, bedwetting, and rocking of the head as well as the body.

Another study found that due to the various features of hypnosis like increased suggestibility, imagery rehearsal, relaxation, cognitive restructuring, post-hypnotic suggestions, and the ability to access emotions and cognition in the preconscious level of the mind, different disorders such as parasomnias and insomnia not to mention mood and anxiety-related disorders can respond to the hypnotic intervention (5).

Also, another study carried out by sleep researchers, Björn Rasch and Maren Cordi, from the universities of Fribourg and Zurich concluded that hypnosis has a positive effect on sleep quality to an extent that is surprising if you consider how it influences the Slow-Wave Sleep (SWS) (6).

While hypnosis has shown to be quite promising, many researchers have recommended more research on the technique.

Some of the previous studies have had different methodological limitations that prevent them from coming to an accurate conclusion and further understanding of the hypnosis method (7)(8)(9).

It has also proven difficult for researchers to carry out randomized controlled trials that are double-blind on hypnotherapy since it requires a good relationship to be created between the therapist and patient (10).

This being the case, more future research that is well-established will help us understand the true potential abilities of hypnotherapy.

In essence, hypnosis as a complementary intervention for sleeping disorders when used together with other techniques brings about good results for many people but future research studies that work with larger sample sizes, high-quality methodology, and improved study design will help us be sure about the effectiveness of hypnosis on sleeping disorders.


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