To release the hormones involved with dropping off to sleep your brain needs to feel relaxed.
This has been great for our evolution, because it wouldn’t have been very useful to human survival if our ancestors were able to easily drop off to sleep when there was a predatory tiger prowling around the cave.
Unfortunately, worrying about deadlines or what we have to do the next day is no different to the prowling tiger in terms of how our brain works. The function of our brain’s protective limbic system is to interpret everything coming through our senses, including our thoughts, as either “safe” or “threat” – and if it’s the latter it sends signals that trigger the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response. So despite our evolution from cavemen, the primitive part of our brain still prevents us from sleeping even when the danger isn’t real.
In contrast to the fight or flight response we have a “relaxation response” activated through the parasympathetic nervous system which returns our bodies to balance.
We can deliberately activate this restorative mechanism through deep relaxation
And when we are relaxed the sleep-inducing chemicals help our brain to become more and more sleepy, and we gradually drop off to sleep. Worrying or even excitement (anyone with kids on Christmas Eve can probably attest to this) can hinder this process as it triggers the sympathetic nervous system.
Not feeling sleepy ?…Hypnosis helps you relax and improves the quality of your sleep
You can learn to elicit this relaxation response, helping your brain to feel safe and to release sleep-inducing hormones, with hypnotic relaxation. Hypnotherapy has been proven to help you enjoy a much deeper and better quality of sleep (Cordi et al, 2014), and to dramatically improve sleep patterns (Patching, 2012).
You can also trick your brain into feeling sleepy by turning your thoughts into a slow sleepy voice and byyawning, because these give our mind patterns that we associate with sleep. Yawning, like smiling ,is contagious -if you’re not convinced, check out this funny video and try not to yawn!!
So if you want to fall into a lovely deep sleep more easily tonight, remember that anxious thoughts or thinking about your ‘to do’ list will be interpreted by your brain as no different to that tiger prowling around the cave. So…..relax, turn those inner thoughts into a sloooow sleeeepy voice, and * yawn* .
Cordi, M.J., Schlarb, A.A., & Rasch, B. (2014) Deepening Sleep by Hypnotic Suggestion. Sleep Journal. 37(6) pp1143-1152
Patching, A. (2012) You can sleep better. Revray Pty, Australia