Insomnia and other sleep problems are often caused by excessive stress and other psychological issues. They respond well to hypnosis, other relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy.

What are the 3 types of insomnia?

  • Transient Insomnia: insomnia of short duration. Usually response to stress, jet-lag or bereavement.
  • Secondary Insomnia: secondary to another disorder e.g. depression, pain, drug abuse, anxiety disorder etc.
  • Primary Insomnia: Insomnia of unknown origin.

Therapy for Insomnia

Sleep Hygiene Education

Sleep hygiene includes habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis, such as recommendations about exercise, caffeine, alcohol, and sleep environment.

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

CBT for insomnia (CBT-I) addresses unhelpful thoughts and distorted beliefs about sleep and insomnia. It also aims at correcting ineffective behaviors such as going to bed too early or too late and trying to control sleep.

An important function of CBT-I is helping the patient transforming negative into positive sleep thoughts using a technique called cognitive restructuring:

Insomnia restructuring

CBT-I uses other methods such as sleep scheduling and stimulus control techniques.

Hypnosis and Relaxation

Daytime stress is a common cause for insomnia because stress hormones are not only increased during the day but also during sleep. Stress hormones such as cortisol lead to emotional arousal and physiological activation. Learning to manage stress and how to relax can help with insomnia because it reduces arousal.

Apart from medical hypnosis and self-hypnosis, other relaxation techniques can help with insomnia: progressive muscle relaxation, abdominal breathing techniques, the relaxation response, meditation, yoga, and tai chi.

A typical hypnotherapy session for insomnia includes relaxation techniques but also a hypnotic sleep script with positive suggestions for a healthy sleep and positive sleep hygiene behaviors and is usually combined with cognitive-behavioral, stimulus control, and sleep restriction techniques.