This post isn’t about the old hypnotism cliche “You are getting sleepy…” I’ve hypnotized thousands of people, and in the occasional case where people fall asleep during the process, those are really errors and mistakes on my part (usually by suggesting too much relaxation, or working with someone who’s very fatigued to begin with). Part of my job as a hypnotist is to keep people awake enough to experience changes; it’s not about a nice little nap-time.
No, this post is about sleep sleep, the kind people do in their own bed at home. It’s clear that almost all client issues can be improved with improvements in sleeping. It’s also clear that “get a good night of sleep” is the type of obvious advice that everyone ignores (including me).
It’s good advice because it’s been known for a while that sleeping helps to regulate the emotional centers of the brain… and recently it’s been discovered that sleeping allows the brain to literally clear out “gunk” that accumulates up there:
Think about that: it implies that if you ignore the importance of sleep, your brain doesn’t get a chance to flush out all that gunk that normally builds up. Imagine if the toilet in your house didn’t get flushed for a few days or weeks. Then imagine a similar situation in your brain, if you were to go for a long time without sleeping properly! As they used to say in Mad Magazine: Yechhh…
The problem is that, for many/most people, good advice is up against very hard-to-change technological barriers to normal, natural human sleep. Pretty much everyone these days spends a significant amount of time in front of one screen or another (tablet, TV, monitor, etc.) That’s nice, but it’s also extremely unnatural. Think about it: do you think your ancestor cavemen spent half the night staring at a brightly lit screen? Of course not.
Now this is a problem for us non-cavepersons, because human eyes have been wired to human brains so that bright lighting (especially light that contains blue wavelengths) tells your brain that it’s daylight, time to go running around chasing animals to kill, or time to go gathering nuts and berries, or time to work on that spreadsheet, etc. This interferes with normal night-time hormonal processes that help regulate sleeping patterns — you may be familiar with the idea of taking supplemental hormones like melatonin to compensate for this.
Taking supplements is one thing, but another approach would be to alter the type of light that interferes with sleeping in the first place, and then letting your eyes and brain do their thing naturally, so you don’t have to worry about artificially fiddling with your hormones. I’ve come across a couple of easy and inexpensive (even free) ways of doing this — and no they don’t involve fancy new light bulbs or lamps:
- Uvex S1933X Skyper Safety Eyewear, Black Frame, SCT-Orange UV – these are industrial/laboratory safety glasses, but they do a great job of blocking out almost all blue light… from the Amazon comments it appears a lot of people are using them for sleep-related purposes… less than $10 so well worth a try
- f.lux – this is free software that adjusts your computer’s monitor based on time, to minimize harmful effects of artificial night-time lighting – more info can be found via this Google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=f.lux
This type of technical solution is great because it does not involve willpower. Lots of people tell themselves “OK, tonight I’m going to try to not stay up so late”, and then they find themselves on the computer or watching TV at 2AM as usual. Willpower is useless at 2AM!
Instead, you can just make it a habit to put on the glasses a couple hours before you’d like to go to sleep, or you have the screen app running in the background, and WHAM your natural hormonal processes can get to work, and there’s hardly any stopping that urge to sleep — no struggle or discipline necessary.
Sleep has such a wide-ranging influence on daily life, that I think anyone with any issue that they’re considering seeing a hypnotist about, whether it’s a bad habit, fear of some sort, stress, etc… should also consider using these technical solutions to counteract what is essentially a bio-technical problem, since the alternative solution (getting rid of electricity, TV, and computer monitor usage at night) is kind of impractical.
Give these a try! I’ve been using both the glasses and the screen app, and have personally noticed positive effects. Post comments below to let me know about your experience with these tools, or other effective tactics for better sleeping.
(DISCLAIMER: Testimonials and customer reviews are not guarantees of similar results. Individual results may vary.)