According to the NHS, 1 in 3 of us suffers from poor sleep. Interestingly, many of us are not even aware that we are sleep-deprived! There are many factors that may adversely affect our sleep. These include a range of physical and psychological conditions, environmental and lifestyle factors, working patterns and family/caring responsibilities.
Whatever the reason, we all know how we can feel if we are not getting the sleep we need - tired, grumpy, lacking in concentration.
However did you know that sleep deprivation can also have profound consequences on your health and your life in general? Poor sleep is linked to anxiety and depression, poor performance at work, increased risk of accidents, infertility and more and puts you at risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, even shortening life expectancy.
How are poor sleep and anxiety related?
We accumulate and store all the various stresses and strains of our daily lives in our metaphorical 'stress bucket'. One of the functions of sleep is to help us empty this bucket. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, we process all the upsets and emotions of the day and convert them from being emotional memories to being narrative memories over which we have control. Ideally we wake up in the morning with an empty bucket, ready to start the day afresh without any worries.
Unfortunately, if we have too much in our stress bucket, or if we are not getting enough good quality sleep, we can't empty our bucket fully every night and our anxieties will start to build up, potentially giving rise to a whole host of related issues. Also, when the brain has to work too hard during sleep to empty our bucket it reacts by waking us up, and we typically lie awake worrying, unable to get back to sleep for a long time. We can also have problems getting to sleep in the first place or waking up too early in the morning. What's more, just knowing we can't sleep is anxiety-provoking in itself which just adds to the problem. Thus a vicious circle develops.
So what can we do to help?
Solution-focused hypnotherapy can be very effective at reducing stress and anxiety as well as other disorders that affect sleep such as depression and chronic pain. This is achieved through a combination of psychotherapeutic techniques and trance. The trance state is a deeply relaxing and pleasant experience which mimics Rapid Eye Movement sleep, thus helping us to alleviate anxieties. One of the most noticeable and rapidly-achieved effects of therapy is a marked improvement in sleep patterns. By helping to get your sleep patterns back on track, hypnotherapy can have a powerful impact on a number of serious health issues, as well as improving your concentration, your performance at work, sex life, relationships, and so much more.
For some tips on sleep hygiene recommended by the NHS, please visit my blog.