A pocket watch sways slowly back and forth in front of you. A man starts speaking, “You’re getting sleepy. You’re getting sleepier.” When you think of hypnosis, images such as this might come to mind. You know what I am talking about - those old-school stage shows of people being hypnotized. Or maybe I am just showing my age?
Hypnosis has seen many changes over the years. While it can still be a sideshow spectacle, such as the mentalists who perform on “Penn and Teller’s Fool Us”, it also can be a highly useful medicinal aid. In an article published by Psychology Today, it’s explained that “Hypnosis allows the subject to process information in a manner different from the way it is processed in the regular alert state.” For this reason, it is often used as a tool to assist with behavior modification. When it is utilized in the medical professional, such as by psychologists or psychiatrists, it is referred to as hypnotherapy. Can hypnosis help with sleep?
When hypnosis is used as a sleep aid, a hypnotist or hypnotherapist will place their subject into a trance-like state with the goal of making the subject feel relaxed. To do this, they use the power of suggestion, guided imagery, focused attention, and other methods. Sleep hypnosis does not have to be performed live. Technology now enables it to be done through the use of CDs or phone apps. Self-hypnosis can also be done successfully with practice. To do this, one needs to clear their mind, perform breathing exercises, relax their muscles, and visualize calmness and relaxation. Whether done with a CD or on one’s own, by performing these actions a person is actually deeply concentrating. Doing so allows them to focus on the objective of sleep, stop thinking about their stress or worries, and in turn almost force their bodies into a relaxed state.
It’s important to note that though sleep hypnosis can be effective, it does not work for everyone. The most important thing to keep in mind is a person using sleep hypnosis first must be willing to accept that it can work for them. And of course, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible when using a hypnotic method to aid in sleep. It would be difficult to achieve a state of relaxation if one isn’t comfortable. So before trying hypnosis, smooth out your sheets, pump up your pillows, and then get ready to relax. Because you’re getting sleepy. You’re getting very sleepy.