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Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy,
NLP & Life Coaching in Manchester.
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What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterised by a persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or maintaining sleep. In the short term, sleep deprivation will cause a substantial reduction in your mental performance. Mental tasks such as memory recall, concentration, reasoning skills, mental arithmetic, and lateral thinking all become impaired. Research suggests that longer term sleep deprivation can also increase the risk to your physical health and may contribute to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Chronic tiredness can also make you much more accident prone. It has been linked with depression and weight problems, and it worsens other mood related problems like anxiety and stress.
Common symptoms of insomnia may include:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Waking up during the night with difficulty getting back to sleep again
- Waking too early in the morning
- Feeling exhausted after waking
- Sleepiness during the day
- General tiredness
- Problems with concentration
- Memory problems
For many people the start of their sleep problems follow a major life stress, a build-up of anxiety, or a disruption of some kind. Major life stress can include a death of a loved one, moving home, loss of employment, change of job, relationship problems, financial problems, a physical illness, exam stress, birth of a child etc. Insomnia is also a common symptom of some short term or longer term chronic mental issues such as anxiety or depression.
Common causes of insomnia can include:
- Major life stress such as a change or loss of job, a death, divorce, moving home
- Emotional discomfort
- Worrying about sleep
- Chronic stress
- Health concerns
- Physical pain
- Environmental factors like noise, light or extreme temperatures
- Certain medicines
- Switching from a day to night shift
- Jet lag
- Exercising or eating too close to bedtime
- Coffee, energy drinks, or recreational drugs
Initially people will often find they can’t get to sleep because their mind is racing with thoughts about their problems. After a period of poor sleep, people can also become concerned about how well they will sleep, or how well they will cope if they don’t sleep. They now have two problems, the original problem, and the problem with sleeping to worry about. This is often enough to start the worry cycle…
The Worry Cycle
For the majority of people with insomnia, it is the worry about your inability to sleep, and how you will cope the next day, that becomes a major factor in maintaining your insomnia, and keeping you awake. This is because worry, stress and anxiety are part of the fight or flight response, which trigger the release of stress related hormones, which stimulate both your body and mind into alertness and action. The more you worry about not sleeping, the more stress hormones your body releases, and because your mind and body are now highly stimulated, it becomes very difficult to get to sleep. Even if you get off to sleep, the stress, worry and anxiety can cause broken and poor quality sleep leaving you feeling unrested in the morning.
During the day you feel exhausted, and this of course can cause you to worry even more about not sleeping. As you didn’t sleep well the previous night, you will most likely find yourself thinking about whether you will sleep tonight, and so you inadvertently restart the worry cycle all over again and end up not sleeping for a further night. This very quickly develops into a self-sustaining worry cycle which can persist long after the original cause of the sleep problem has gone.
Usually the more you think about and try to control your sleep, the worse it actually gets! I wonder if you could you imagine just how useful it would be for you to learn new and different ways to think and react so that your insomnia just faded away and no longer seemed a problem?
Many sleep disorders are purely psychological in nature, while some have biological and psychological elements. As a psychotherapist I am able to help you with the psychological aspects of your sleep disorder.
Unless you can directly link the start of your sleep problems to a specific cause such as job loss, financial problems, bereavement, stress etc. you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor first so that a full medical assessment can be made.
(a broad classification of sleeping disorders) Characterised by disturbances in the quantity, quality, or timing of the sleep.
- Insomnia (Primary, Secondary, Transient, Acute and Chronic)
- Breathing-Related Sleep Disorder
- Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
These are unusual or abnormal activities that take place during sleep. The sufferer may be unaware of the unusual behaviour, and it is usually a partner or family member that alerts them to the problem.
- Night Terror Disorder
- Sleepwalking Disorder
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- REM Sleep Disorder
- Night Sweats
The Insomnia treatment is available at the Manchester practice, and also online through Skype. The treatment combines various helpful approaches, and is highly tailored to your unique individual requirements. So the exact form of treatment and number of sessions will vary from person to person. However significant improvements can often be made in as little as 6 to 8 one hour sessions, for more deep rooted or complex problems, 8 or more may be required.
A combination of approaches is effective when dealing with sleep issues:
- Psychological interventions such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy & NLP
- Helps you change your thoughts, behaviours and emotional responses:
- Helps you work through psychological issues that may be contributing to your insomnia, such as depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement etc.
- Helps you to change how you think about sleep and insomnia, so that your worries about it don’t maintain or worsen the problem.
- Helps to positively change your perceptions of past events and future worries.
- Helps to disassemble the negative feedback loops, and self reinforcing and self sustaining aspects of the anxiety and worry cycle so that you can quieten your mind and body and get to sleep.
- Building your self-esteem, self-worth and self confidence so you worry less.
- Changing limiting beliefs.
- Changing your perceptions of others, and what you think they think of you, so you worry less.
- Change what you feel about yourself and your abilities.
- Learn emotional state management.
Provides information about sleep, such as the quantity and quality needed, the biology of sleep, the sleep-cycle, and possible causes of sleep disruption etc. Often a better understanding can help reduce anxiety and help you to begin to make positive changes to your sleep patterns.
Sleep Hygiene Education
Sleep hygiene refers to your bedtime routines, and the various behavioural and environmental factors that can influence your sleep. Managing these can help improve both the duration and quality of your sleep.
Our sleep/awake patterns are part of our circadian rhythm (our body clock) and are regulated by the hypothalamus. This can be influenced by a number of external factors, including exposure to daylight/darkness, meal times, certain types of food and drink, temperature, exercise and other environmental factors and activities.
Making adjustments to routines surrounding our sleep can therefore help entrain a healthier natural circadian rhythm.
Managing when you go to bed and when you get out of bed, in order to begin to gradually retrain healthy sleep patterns.
Limiting the activities in bed just to sleeping or relaxing. The bed and ideally the bedroom, should not be associated with any stimulating activity.
Mental & Physical Relaxation
Learn ways to physically and mentally relax/ground/centre yourself and be more mindful.
Helps to quieten a racing mind and a tense body, which reduces stress and anxiety, and therefore lowers stress related hormones which can interfere with sleep.
I practice both from a consulting room in my home in Chorlton in South Manchester, and from a clinic on Harley Street, London. If you can’t travel to me then I am also available for online therapy, counselling and coaching via Skype. Within easy travelling distance of Withington, Didsbury, Stretford, Whalley Range, Salford, Sale, Altrincham, Eccles, Urmston, Worsley and Stockport.