Hypnosis (also known as "hypnotherapy") is often touted as a natural treatment for chronic sleep disorders, a problem estimated to affect millions of Americans each year. Although hypnosis has yet to be extensively studied in treatment of insomnia and other sleep-related conditions, the existing research hints that hypnosis may be of some use in achieving sounder sleep.
The Effects of Hypnosis on Sleep
Hypnosis is a trance-like state of mind during which the hypnotized individual experiences deep relaxation, focused attention, and greater openness to suggestion. Because of its ability to increase responsiveness, hypnosis is frequently used to alter behaviors and reactions that could be contributing to chronic health problems (such as insomnia and other sleep disorders).
Although hypnosis is often induced by a hypnotherapist, self-hypnosis techniques are commonly used in treatment of insomnia. Some research suggests that self-hypnosis may improve sleep by redirecting patients' attention away from anxiety, producing thoughts that promote relaxation.
Benefits of Hypnosis for Sleep
When paired with sleep hygiene instructions, hypnosis may help ease insomnia, according to a research review published in 2007. The review also found that hypnosis may be useful in the treatment of nightmares, sleep terrors, bedwetting, and sleepwalking. However, the review's authors caution that most of the existing evidence is limited to findings from very small studies.
In another report published the same year, scientists noted that hypnosis shows promise in the treatment of sleep disorders, stating that there is "an immediate need for research evaluating the efficacy of hypnotherapy in the management of sleep disturbance."
How to Use Hypnosis for Sleep
If you're experiencing chronic sleep problems, it's important to consult your physician to make sure that your sleep troubles aren't a symptom of an underlying medical condition (such as
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