How Does Sleep Hypnosis Work?

by Zara Mohammed, Health Columnist

Published in Health on 23rd January, 2020

Have you noticed dark circles under your eyes? Have your work colleagues or loved ones noticed that you are short-tempered and not your usual self?

Maybe you are not getting the quality or quantity of sleep that you need! If you are worried about having a problem sleeping and if you have ever found yourself wondering - does sleep hypnosis work? Keep reading to find out more!


Why Is Sleep So Important?

In this modern fast-paced world we get far less sleep that we actually need. The sleep we do get is often impaired and of poor quality.

Restless nights are caused by stress and anxiety. Late nights are the result of working overtime or wanting to make the most of time off work by partying too much. Getting enough good quality sleep is so important though.

Check out some of these benefits of sleeping well:

  • Good Mental Health - For many people who suffer from mental health disorders, living a well-structured and balanced life is extremely important in helping to keep symptoms under control. Sleep is just as important for the mental health of people who don't suffer from a disorder though, as it can minimise stress, help you to organise your time more efficiently, and allow you to process your thoughts better so that you can function at your best throughout the day.
  • Healthy Body - It is during your sleep that your body goes about repairing itself. If the quality of your sleep is poor then your body is not fully repaired or able to function at its optimal level when it is awake. Sleep deprivation is also known to contribute to problems with weight gain, and not getting enough sleep can severely affect your immune system, leaving your body vulnerable to illness and disease.
  • sleeping
  • Productivity - Getting enough sleep makes you more productive at work and in everyday life. When your body and mind feel refreshed you can focus and concentrate better, and stay on track in your life without having to rely on substances to keep you going that may be harmful to your health, like caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
  • Relationships - Sleeping well makes you happy, relaxed and good company. You will have more patience, empathy and understanding, which mean that you can be a more supportive friend. You will also feel more connected to your loved ones, which is great for relationships and family life.

Common Sleep Problems

Sleep deprivation has become a way of life. In fact it is so common to not get enough sleep that many of us are not even aware that we are being affected by it!

Here are some common signs of sleep problems:

  • It takes you ages to fall asleep - Are you the kind of person who conks out as soon as your head hits the pillow? Unfortunately for many of us this would be a dream come true. Instead the reality is us staying up later and later so that when we do go to bed we know we will be tired enough to actually fall asleep without being haunted for hours by thoughts of all the little things that are contributing to our stressful lives.
  • You toss and turn in your bed all night - Do you ever get the feeling that you're not really sleeping at all throughout the night, and that you're always half awake, half aware, and not fully unconscious? Maybe you find yourself waking up several times, having lucid dreams, or needing to nip to the loo in the early hours of the morning? This can lead to you waking up and feeling incredibly unrested.
  • You wake up before your alarm - When you wake regularly before your alarm goes off its unlikely that you need to reset your alarm to a different time. You are probably being woken up by subconscious worries and anxieties that have prevented you from sleeping deeply throughout the night. And if you are waking up too early, even if you don't feel particularly tired because of it, your body is still being deprived of the sleep it needs.

If any of these descriptions sounds like you, keep reading to find out how sleep hypnosis may be able to help you with your sleep problems.

What Exactly Is Sleep Hypnosis?

Many of us are wary of taking medications to help improve the quality of our sleep. Perhaps we feel that it is not a natural solution. We might be worried that we will become dependent on taking something in order to sleep well, and that makes us feel uncomfortable. Maybe we hope that we will grow out of our sleep problem and that it could just be a phase.

If you have a persistent sleep issue that is having a pervasive negative effect on your life and health though, you might have been online looking for a solution, and you came across this curious thing called "Sleep Hypnosis".

sleep hypnosis

Hypnosis has been around for well over a century. It is a well-known relaxation technique, although there is something mysterious about it that prevents some people from taking it seriously as an effective potential solution for them.

Hypnosis works on the subconscious mind to help you achieve your goals. For example, people may use Hypnotherapy to help them quit smoking, to help manage chronic pain, and even to overcome insomnia.

A Hypnosis session usually involves a hypnotherapist who guides the client, either in person or through a recording, using a series of verbal cues into an induced state of relaxation. In Sleep Hypnosis it is this trance like state that can be used to help you to drift off into a deep and restorative sleep.

The full Sleep Hypnosis process includes the following steps:

  • Settling down - The client gets physically comfortable
  • Letting go - The client is verbally guided to let go of any concerns
  • Induction - The client is guided to release the conscious mind and open up the subconscious mind, in preparation to go deeper into relaxation
  • Breathing - Conscious breathing techniques are used to bring the client into an even deeper state of relaxation
  • The Suggestion - The rest of the time is now spent planting the idea or desired result into the client's subconscious mind using verbal guided imagery

Does Sleep Hypnosis Really Work?

If after reading all of the above you find yourself feeling somewhat sceptical about the whole thing, try to keep in mind that there is extensive research that supports the positive effects of sleep hypnosis.

Understandably it can be difficult to believe that something like hypnosis, that sounds so simple yet makes no logical sense, can solve a problem that is seriously affecting you in a very real way in your life. But it is in fact this sort of resistant thinking that may unfortunately make it difficult for hypnosis to work for you.

The whole point of hypnosis is being able to tap into a person's subconscious mind, but if that person is not able to relax fully enough to open up their subconscious mind, then how can the hypnosis fulfil its function? It is important to remember that hypnosis isn't a magical cure, it is a tool, but you need to be willing to use the tool correctly, and also take some responsibility for the outcome.


If you want a black and white answer to the question - does sleep hypnosis really work? Then your answer is, it definitely can, and has worked, but it depends on the person.

It is said that Hypnotherapy may work better on some people than others, depending on how "suggestible" they are. Studies have suggested that about a quarter of people can't be hypnotised at all! So you would be forgiven for thinking that you're simply not gullible enough to be taken it by it all.

Keep reading if you still feel curious (or are a little bit desperate for a solutions to your sleep problems) but need a little bit more persuasion to open up your mind...

The Science Behind Sleep Hypnosis

It is tempting to think of successful instances of sleep therapy working as placebo effects, where clients are fooled into, or genuinely want to believe that something has the power to help cure them, and so their believe or need for it to work, manifests in a way their desired result. However, the current research about the impact of hypnosis on sleep is overwhelmingly convincing.

A Hypnosis study in 2014 saw 80% increase in slow wave sleep amongst its sleepers, which is the kind of sleep that is deep and healing. Studies have also shown that children as young as the age of 7 and suffering from insomnia can look to hypnosis as an effective treatment.

Hypnosis is also an accepted form of medical treatment. In fact it may be paired for the most effective results alongside other forms of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a talking therapy that helps you to manage your problems by questioning the ways in which you think, react and behave.

Should I Try Sleep Hypnosis?

The great thing about using hypnosis over other sleep aids is that it is unlikely to have any adverse side effects. The studies suggest that hypnosis is a viable natural sleep solution that can help a person to attain a deep and nourishing sleep. However, it is important to also consider that not everybody is a candidate for hypnosis.

If you are sceptical and don't want to invest in a lot of money, or perhaps you feel uncomfortable about seeing a Hypnotherapist in person, then you can simply try it out in your own time, in the privacy and comfort of your own familiar environment, by purchasing or downloading a free sleep app or sleep therapy recording.

There is no risk, and no pressure. You don't even have to tell anybody about it. Just do it for you, and see if you get anything positive out of the experience. Don't give up on the first try either. It is often said that sleep hypnosis is something that becomes more effective the more you use it, a bit like meditation.

Alternative Solutions For Sleep Problems

Sleep Hypnosis is really just about winding down your body and mind into a relaxed state that is prepped and ready to fall asleep. There are many alternative solutions and methods for you to achieve this state and process without having to try sleep hypnosis though.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about what might work for you:

  • Work out an evening bedtime routine that you can repeat every night
  • Incorporate relaxing activities into your bedtime routine
  • Help your body to relax with a steamy hot bath or shower in the evening
  • Lower the lighting or light a candle in the evening
  • Avoid looking at screens before bed (laptop, phone, tablet, TV)
  • Read a book before bed or write in a journal to remove thoughts from your head
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine in the evening and opt for herbal drinks
  • Get your partner to give you a bedtime massage to put you to sleep
  • Listen to soothing music or sounds to drift off to sleep with
  • Minimise noise and light by wearing an eye mask and earplugs to bed
  • Make sure the temperature of your rom and bed is just right for you

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