Guided Sleep Hypnosis

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Some people use sleep hypnosis as a tool to help them fall asleep. In a nutshell, sleep hypnosis is a technique that involves guided thinking in order to lead a person into a state of relaxation. In turn, this relaxed state should make falling asleep easier. There are many sleep hypnosis recordings available that you can download on your phone or computer, but it’s not clear whether or not they are effective. If you are considering sleep hypnosis, read on for details about what it is, and discover other strategies that might be more useful when you are trying to get a good night’s sleep.

What Is Sleep Hypnosis?

Sleep hypnosis involves listening to verbal cues from a hypnotherapist that is intended to draw you into a trance-like state through the power of suggestion.  Hypnotherapists use different approaches to induce relaxation, such as focused attention, symptom control, and guided imagery.  Someone who is being hypnotized might hear phrases such as “relax,” “deep,” “easy,” and “let go.” These words are intended to encourage someone to drift off to sleep.

Does It Really Work?

Hypnotherapy may work better for some people than others, depending on how “suggestible” they are, meaning how eager they are to believe that the practice will be effective. However, studies suggest about a quarter of people simply can’t be hypnotized at all. Other research finds that sleep hypnosis may need to be integrated with cognitive-behavioral therapy in order to achieve any benefits.  So as a stand-alone treatment for sleep issues, hypnosis may not be the most successful choice.

What Can You Do Instead?

If you are searching for new techniques in order to sleep better at night, consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes looking at behaviors surrounding your sleep routine, and working to change ways of thinking that may lead to unhealthy beliefs and fears about sleep. Other relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, are effective as well. Listening to relaxing music before bed may also help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night.

While sleep hypnosis is generally considered harmless and may have mild benefits for some people as a supplementary sleep tool, there are more effective ways to get the sleep you need. Talk with your doctor to figure out what approach will be most helpful to you.

1.The Energy Conservation Theory

Even though this is no longer significant for those living in modern societies that have plenty of food sources, one of the most important factors in natural selection is the effective use of energy resources. The energy conservation theory says that the primary role of sleep is reducing our energy consumption and prolonging our energy reserves, especially at night when we are less efficient.

We can still observe this theory in the wild if we examine other large mammals, such as lions. Wild male lions spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping, and wild females dedicate up to 18 hours per day to snoozing. Now, that doesn’t mean wild lions are lazy. Unlike their cousins that live in captivity, they still have to hunt if they want to eat.

Male lions living in captivity sleep up to 14 hours a day, and females rarely sleep more than13. You might think that lions in captivity sleep less because all the visitors disturb their naps, but that’s not the real reason. Lions living in captivity know they have a regular source of food, so they do not need to conserve their energy.

Wild lions don’t know when the next meal will come, so they will conserve their energy to make sure they’ll be able to catch food next time they’re hungry. And hunting is a taxing activity, so they try to hunt as rare as possible.

Now, back to humans. Research has shown that our metabolism is reduced by up to 10% while we sleep, so sleeping helps us consume less energy. Our caloric demands and body temperature decrease while sleeping, so sleep can be a useful tool for those who want to conserve their energy resources.

2.The Inactivity Theory

The inactivity theory sometimes called the adaptive theory, is one of the first theories scientists developed and it’s grounded in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. According to the inactivity theory, we sleep because being inactive during the night kept us safe.

Researchers believe that sleeping at night served as a survival function because it kept our ancestors from being active when they were most vulnerable. According to this theory, the animals that were able to be still and quiet when they were most vulnerable had an advantage over those that didn’t.

Humans do not see well in the dark, so sleeping saved us from accidents and nocturnal predators. Since Darwin’s natural selection theory states that the species’ best traits are passed down to the offspring through natural selection, sleeping was presumably a sound defense strategy, so we inherited it from our ancestors.

Despite the fact that the inactivity theory could make sense from an evolutionary point of view, few researchers agree with it. One of the simplest counter-argument to this theory is that being conscious and aware of your surrounding is always better than the alternative. Even though our eyesight might not excel, we could still react to an emergency so we could save ourselves and our tribes.

3.The Restorative Theories

There are plenty of restorative theories going on, so we’re not going to examine each one individually. Even though they might focus on different processes, all restorative theories have something in common. All of them say that we sleep to allow our bodies to “restore” what we consume when we’re awake.

Our bodies repair and rejuvenate themselves while we sleep. Recent studies found empirical evidence in both animal and human studies in this regard, so this theory has gained a lot of support from the scientific community.

Probably the most important evidence is that animals deprived of sleep eventually lose their immune function. And after losing their immunity, animals die in a matter of weeks. This finding is supported by studies which show that major restorative functions occur mostly or only when we sleep.

Our muscles repair themselves during sleep, and so do most of our tissues. The release of growth hormone happens only while we sleep, and our brain repairs itself mostly while we sleep. The neurons in our brain produce adenosine while we’re awake, and that might be responsible for our perception of tiredness. During sleep, our body clears the adenosine from the system, which allows us to feel fresh and awake in the morning.

4.The Brain Plasticity Theory

This is one of the most recent theories on why we sleep. This theory focuses on the changes of structure and organization we see in the brain when we examine it with an MRI machine during sleep.

The brain plasticity is not yet completely understood, but there little we know now brings forth several critical implications it has on sleep.

We know now, for instance, that sleep is critical for the brain development of infants and young children. Infants need 14 hours or more of sleep per day, half of which they spend in deep REM sleep. We also know that sleep is critical for young adults and college students have different sleep-wake cycles than the elderly.

And children and adolescents are not the only ones who need to go to sleep early. Researchers are now studying a link between sleep and brain plasticity in adults as well. Experiments which show how people are less capable of performing certain tasks while they are sleep deprived are great examples of this.

Even though most of these theories are still unproven, the technological and scientific advancements will shed new light on why we need sleep. None of these theories directly answer the question, but each of them teaches us something about our need for sleep

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