14 Routes to a Consistently Good Night’s Sleep

Nicholas PollakOP-ED

A new client recently asked if I could help him with insomnia. After three months, it was a major problem. He did not sleep for two nights but always was able to go four hours on the third night. For him, that is a deep sleep that refreshes him.

He said nothing had changed in his preparing-to-sleep routine. Other pressures, though, were affecting him. His mother, who recently moved in with him,  l had been asked to not contact his ex-wife. She did anyway. Now they are best friends. His 25-year-old daughter had contracted Limes disease. She had become permanently disabled.

My client feels guilty about that even though he bears no responsibility for her contact with the disease or her sickness.

A therapist, his insomnia was troubling him so strongly he had has reduced his caseload more than 50 percent. In turn, this shriveled his income. His final thoughts before trying to sleep were how he was going to help patients when he was not thinking clearly because of lacking sleep. He also was a hypnotist. Twenty years ago, he took a 40-hour course. He doesn’t apply it, though, in his therapies. Besides, he had forgotten how to self-hypnotize after realizing hypnosis would be beneficial.

Desperate to resolve his insomnia, he admitted he had turned to me as a last resort. We had a lengthy conversation. We agreed he felt guilty about his daughter being sick and his ex-wife calling often to speak to his mother. Those were the main stress factors causing insomnia.

Worse, his subconscious was becoming programmed with this new, unwanted behavior.

A Mandatory Change

Our subconscious always gives us what we ask for because we have taught it to do that. This needed to change if he was going to have a chance at returning to his old sleeping routine. This is where the hypnosis becomes so useful. I helped him by changing his negative what-if scenario to how glad he was that he was able to sleep and as a result enjoy each day. This was coupled with another small vocabulary adjustment. Instead of saying “I have to sleep,” he was to say, “I want to sleep.” Have-to is a chore. Want-to is a desire. You can see that although it appears to be minor this was important.

The change comes when the subconscious picks up on the difference. I wanted him to write down a positive sleep-motivated statement five minutes before going to sleep.

For example, “I love going to bed because I sleep so well and awaken refreshed every day,” which he did.

I explained that our subconscious is at its most open 10 to 15 minutes before bed. Writing a positive sleep phrase would enter his subconscious and eventually help him sleep.

Once he had come to terms with what his mother was doing and had arranged a visitation schedule with his daughter,  providing her with a little money, he began to feel better. By relaxing more, he could finally get the sleep he needed. This was strongly helped by the positive conditioning he received while under hypnosis.

Preparing Day and Night

Regardless of what is causing your sleep problems, establish and maintain healthy sleep habits. Here are tips:

At night:

• Use the bed and bedroom for sleep and sex only.
• Establish a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule.
• Do not eat or drink too much close to bedtime.
• Create a sleep-promoting environment that is dark, cool, comfortable.
• Avoid disturbing noises – consider a bedside fan or white-noise machine to block out disturbing sounds.
• Drink warm milk to relax.
• Take a long hot bath.
• Read a light, entertaining book or watch non-drama or non-news-related TV.
• Create a new pre sleep routine.
• Use a mantra to slow the mind.
During the day:
• Consume less (or no) caffeine, particularly late in the day.
• Avoid alcohol and nicotine, especially close to bedtime.
• Exercise, but not within three hours before bedtime.
• Avoid naps, particularly in the late afternoon or evening

Do not hesitate to contact me by telephone, 310.204.3321, or by email at nickpollak@hypnotherapy4you.net. See my website at www.hypnotherapy4you.net