Updated: Jan 28
A good night’s sleep is essential for good mental and physical health. Find out why sleep is so important for you and what you need to do to improve your sleep patterns. One of the critical topics that I ask a new client about in the initial consultation is about how they are sleeping. This tells me a lot about how they are and how stress /anxiety may be affecting them.
Good sleep gives us REM. This is when we our bodies are relaxed but we are dreaming. You may remember in a previous post how I described our stress bucket, where our stress is accumulated and stored. REM sleep is the key method we use to empty this bucket. At night we re-run the events of the day and change them from being an emotional memory to a narrative memory. A memory we have control over.
You are familiar with how REM works. You might have a difficult day at work, maybe a meeting or presentation that did not go that well. You go home and talk to your partner about it. They tell you not to worry about it. You go to bed and you are still thinking about it.
During your REM sleep you will re-run the event in either clear pictures or as a metaphor (a dream). This process helps you move the experience from your primitive brain to your intellectual brain where you have control over it. When you wake up in the morning you might find that you have got over the problem about the problem at work and can’t remember why it was bothering you so much.
This is the ideal world and is a good indication that you are not carrying too much stress but if you are having problems sleeping, REM may not be sufficient to help you empty your stress bucket and/or too much stress is going in for you to empty it. Why is this? There are two common scenarios: waking up in the night or difficulty waking up.
If you are waking up night it could be because you have been piling too much stress into your stress bucket and it takes a great deal of effort to attempt to empty it. Sadly, REM is limited to about 20% of our sleep patterns. If we are carrying too much stress we can create a backlog and the mind will wake us up. You know when it is waking you up because you feel wide awake and might feel quite miserable. Often we can’t get back to sleep again. You know the difference between that and a noise outside waking you up. Now we are in the grip of a vicious cycle. The more you have in your bucket, the more time you spend in your primitive brain and the more you will be encouraged to be negative.
If you are having difficulty waking up, it could also be because you have been piling too much stress into your stress bucket. REM is enervating; this means it takes a lot of energy to diffuse stress. Sometimes we can overdo REM, this makes us exhausted and makes us even more depressed. Now we find ourselves in the grip of a vicious circle. In an attempt to empty our stress bucket we sleep more and more, which makes our depression and anxiety worse.
So, you can see how we need to help you to get back on track. We start by restricting the amount you are putting in your stress bucket and also by using trance which helps you put you in a REM state to help diffuse residual stress. I also use trance to help you focus attention on the positive changes you want to make.
If you are experiencing sleep problems, please contact me to arrange a free consultation where you can find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you sleep better.
[Don’t forget that clinical hypnotherapy is a supplementary therapy and is not intended to replace any treatment you are receiving from your GP or other medical professionals. If you are concerned about your sleep, you should also consult your GP. ]