Why do we need sleep and what happens if we don’t get enough?
Sleep plays a vital role in our life and is an essential component in our health and wellbeing. Yet sleep deprivation can be seen all too often amidst today’s busy lifestyles. Many people are getting far less sleep than the recommended seven to nine hours per night, often as little as five hours, resulting in increased levels of stress and anxiety, all of which have a knock-on effect on our wellbeing. Research shows that nearly one in five people feel anxious a lot or all of the time (Mental Health Foundation 2014).
Having enough sleep is important in so many ways. Apart from its restorative effect, allowing the body to rest and regenerate, sleep has a profound influence over our mental state. When we have enough sleep our concentration, focus and creativity increase. Sleep allows us to learn effectively and to form memories. This is the reason why we become forgetful if we are struggling with insomnia. We need sleep to download, process and file the information we’ve gathered during our waking hours. If we don’t get enough sleep, we end up with ‘unfinished business’ which clutters the mind, making it difficult to concentrate, make rational decisions or plan effectively.
Sleep is important to our physical wellbeing too. It has a beneficial effect on our immune and hormone systems and there is evidence to suggest that sleep deprivation is associated with weight gain, accelerated ageing and an increased risk of diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.
There can be no doubt that sleep is critical to both our mental and physical health. However, whilst sleep deprivation leads to increased stress and anxiety, it is often stress and anxiety which are the causes of sleep problems, and worrying about not sleeping can make the problem worse. During the summer months, with increased natural light levels and warmer temperatures, people who have difficulty sleeping can often struggle more.
The good news is that sleep duration is within our control and hypnotherapy is recognised as an effective treatment for teaching the brain patterns of behaviours to regain that control.
Hypnotherapy can help by addressing the underlying causes of poor sleep. The approach is solution focused, helping you to find your solutions to problems and to see a positive way ahead. Hypnotherapy also helps to re-educate the mind in expectation of a restful and good night’s sleep. By helping to improve sleep patterns and get the right amount of restorative sleep, hypnotherapy helps people to cope better with the stresses in their lives.
If you would like help with sleep problems or its associated stress and anxiety please call 07514 931 096 or email me using the contact form.