It has been estimated that more than 50% of adults have suffered with insomnia or other sleep problems at some point in their lives. Let's face it, we've all lost a night's sleep at some point through worry, anxiety, or stress. Shakespeare called sleep "sore labour's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast." and yet, when we need it most, sleep can elude us.
Self hypnosis, mindfulness, and meditation can all help to make you calmer, more relaxed, and better able to cope with stress. All good things if you know that a bought of insomnia is coming. But what if you're experiencing insomnia right now (maybe even despite using self-hypnosis, mindfulness, and meditation) and you need a good nights sleep?
It's possible that Autosuggestion is what you are looking for.
What is Auto Suggestion?
Auto Suggestion uses suggestions that are very similar to hypnotic suggestions but delivers them without the need for a trance. Emile Coue, the father of Auto Suggestion, maintained that an "open mind" was all that was required for Auto Suggestion to work and that hypnotic trances were quite unnecessary.
This might seem strange but, when you think it about, we are bombarded with messages every day that are heavily laden with "suggestions" that use hypnotic language and techniques in an attempt to persuade us to act one way or another. These are called adverts.
How can Auto Suggestion be used to Cure Insomnia?
The Auto Suggestion approach to insomnia is simple - you give yourself the suggestion that you are falling asleep.
The key to successful Auto Suggestion is to relax your conscious mind and not question or dissect the suggestions that are presented to it. Instead, accept the suggestion as true and allow you imagination to do its job of creating an emotional, intellectual, or physiological response to the new state you have accepted.
Using this technique, curing insomnia is as easy as going to bed and falling asleep should be
Step 1: Prepare To Go To Sleep
Lay the groundwork for a good night's sleep. Avoid stimulants like tea or coffee in the run up to your normal bed time. Don't work in the evening, give yourself some time to relax and for your brain to begin processing what has gone on through the day. Ensure that your bed is made, change your sheets if you would like to. In short, create an environment that is comfortable and relaxing.
As the time for sleep comes near, repeat this simple suggestion in your head, repeating it as much as you can.
I am getting ready for bed. I am going to sleep peacefully tonight, without nightmares or worries. I will wake up feeling fantastic.
Some people like to repeat their suggestion out loud, others like to whisper it to themselves. For many, myself included, simply thinking it clearly and ensuring that it clears away any other thoughts is enough. The number of repeats is not necessarily important, but try to repeat the suggestion at least ten times.
I often find it useful to distract myself, slightly, by doing household chores or some other mundane task while repeating my suggestions. The distraction keeps my conscious mind occupied and reduces the change of my critical factor "asking too many questions" and failing to just accept the suggestion as true.
When you are ready for bed, move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Go To Sleep
Repeating your suggestion again, get yourself comfortable in bed. Minimise lights, sounds, and any other distractions. Ensure that the room is at a temperature that is comfortable for you.
Once you're are comfortable, change the suggestion as follows:
I am going to sleep now. My sleep will be peaceful, without nightmares or worries. I will wake up feeling fantastic.
Remember that you must, to the very best of your ability, accept the suggestion as true as you speak it. This process sounds simple because... it is. Believe that you are falling asleep and soon you will be.
Good night, and good luck.