Hypnosis sessions and learning self-hypnosis techiniques can be useful in dealing with insomnia. Hypnosis sessions with a trained clinical hypnotherapist can help you to realize and release old reasons for insomnia that may be hanging around. When you learn self-hypnosis techniques you begin to feel in control and reach a stage of feeling more resourceful.
Researchers believe that sleep deprivation contributes to various health risks, such as obesity and diabetes. Lack of sleep or sleeping at odd hours may also increase your risk of developing cancer or heart disease.
Studies of humans have shown that the levels of hormones responsible for appetite regulation are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Sleep loss is associated with an increase in appetite.
Cortisol,a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, is elevated in stress states. Levels of cortisol were about six times higher in subjects who had undergone six days of sleep restriction than in subjects who were fully rested. Elevated cortisol levels are believed to promote the development of insulin resistance, a risk factor for obesity and diabetes. Elevated levels of cortisol can trigger a person to snack on junky foods which can be high in sugar, fat and calories.
Sleeping and feeding are both intricately related. Animals faced with food shortage sleep less. Also, animals that are subjected to sleep deprivation for prolonged periods of time increase their food intake dramatically.
Leptin, is a hormone that signals satiety to the brain. It reduces our appetite. Studies demonstrate it is dependent on sleep duration. In one study, after six days of restricting sleep to four hours a night, the blood levels of leptin were very much decreased. The drop was comparable to what is seen after three days of eating only 900 calories a day. The subjects in the sleep-restriction condition received identical amounts of caloric intake as when they were fully rested. Their leptin levels were signaling a state of famine in the midst of plenty. Sleep loss seems to alter the ability of hormones to signal caloric need accurately and could lead to excessive eating when food is freely available.
In a research study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine, there was found a connection between insomnia and diabetes. Study participants who reported sleeping fewer than six hours or more than nine hours a day had an increased incidence of diabetes, compared to those who reported sleeping seven to eight hours.
Clearly, sleep is essential not only for the brain but also for the rest of the body.
Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford's Warneford Hospital in the UK, studied people with insomnia versus "good sleepers", to see if various ways of managing unwanted thoughts affected sleep quality, anxiety and depression. What they found out was that with the exception of cognitive distraction, the people suffering from insomnia, compared to good sleepers, more frequently used thought control strategies. Strategies of aggressive suppression and worry appeared to be entirely unhelpful. The use of these "control" strategies were actually predictors of sleep impairment, anxiety and depression. Which is why I recommend writing down our thoughts and problems in a journal before sleep and "giving them" to our "Dear Subconscious Mind". The strategy of cognitive distraction (guided imagery) also appeared to be helpful in predicting better sleep quality.
Here are some good "SLEEP HYGIENE" ideas:
• Keep a regular schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends and holidays.
• Incorporate bedtime rituals. Soft music or sipping a cup of decaffeinated tea cues your body that it’s time to slow down. Mediatiation or other relaxation is helpful. Or a warm bath! No T.V.
• Don’t eat a large, heavy meal before bed. This can cause indigestion or slow digestion and can interfere with your normal sleep cycle. Drinking too much fluid before bed can cause you to get up to go "potty".
• Certain bedtime snacks can help because of the amino acid called tryptophan, found in milk, turkey and peanut butter. It helps the brain produce serotonin, a chemical that helps you relax. Try drinking warm milk or eat a slice of toast with peanut butter or a bowl of warm cereal before bedtime. The warmth just may temporarily increase your body temperature, hastening sleep.
• Keep a journal at your bedside were you can write down your worries. Tell your subconscious mind to allow yourself to wake up in the morning with any answeres that you need. Then just decide to let your mind do want it needs to do as you release the need to figure it all out.
• Go to sleep when you are sleepy. When you feel tired, go to bed. There is a good reason your body is asking you to go to sleep!!
Research: Ree MJ, Harvey AG, Blake R, Tang NK, Shawe-Taylor M.Attempts to control unwanted thoughts in the night: development of the thought control questionnaire-insomnia revised (TCQI-R). Behavioral Research and Therapy. 2005 August