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Sleep Hypnosis | Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy


Written by Lauren

Last Updated: 12th April, 2022

Modern hypnotherapy is believed to date back to the 18th century and has since been used medically, scientifically and in the entertainment industry. Despite its history and popularity, the legitimacy of hypnotherapy continues to be questioned and is generally not the first choice when seeking medical treatment. 

Keep reading to explore how hypnotherapy can help with sleep problems and how effective it could be as a form of treatment. However, it's important to note that it's worth discussing various treatment options with a healthcare professional before committing to hypnotherapy if you're suffering from any medical issues. 

Defining Hypnosis 

Despite much of mainstream media treating hypnosis as a form of entertainment, it has been recognised as an effective treatment amongst scientific communities and medical professionals. Hypnotherapy can deal with a range of issues, such as managing weight loss, reducing symptoms of anxiety and treating irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, it can help you change or eliminate bad habits and negative thoughts. 


Hypnotherapy✓ involves putting the individual into a state of deep relaxation. The hypnotherapist can then bypass the part of the brain that deals with decision-making, analysis, evaluation and planning. By dampening down this part of the brain, individuals become more open, and hypnotherapists can tap into the subconscious, where they can influence deeply ingrained motivations, beliefs and habits.

Sleep Hypnosis Explained 

While many may associate sleep hypnosis with putting someone to sleep, this usually isn't the case. Instead, sleep hypnotherapy often follows the same procedure as standard hypnosis. This involves the individual being placed in a state of deep relaxation, so they are more susceptible to suggestions and guidance, which helps get to the root of their sleep issues. 

sleep hypnosis explained

Sleep hypnosis can treat a variety of bad sleeping habits or sleep disorders and often involves adjusting negative thoughts and bad habits surrounding sleep. Before undergoing hypnosis, the hypnotherapist may need to identify the causes of the sleep problems. For example, if you are consuming too much caffeine, the solution would be to reduce the need for caffeine during the hypnotherapy session.

Reasons For Sleep Hypnotherapy 

There are various reasons why an individual may turn to sleep hypnotherapy. This can include a range of sleep disorders or other factors causing sleep disturbances, such as stress. Here are some of the issues in which sleep hypnosis could be an effective treatment: 

  • Snoring: Sleep apnea or snoring can disrupt your own sleep, but could also be a problem if you share a bed with a partner. In a study✓, hypnosis was used to treat a patient suffering from snoring, who was able to roll onto his side, leading to a reduction in snoring intensity and duration. 
  • Stress: Many people suffering from stress can often find themselves struggling to get to sleep. For this reason, targeting stress during hypnotherapy could be beneficial in reducing sleep problems. A study✓ involving 95 participants divided into a hypnosis and controlled group, found those in the hypnosis group showed greater signs of reduced stress. 
  • Parasomnia: Sleep disturbances, also known as parasomnias, often involve a variety of sleep issues, such as nightmares, sleepwalking and night terrors. A study✓ with 36 patients found that after 1 month of hypnotherapy, almost half reported no parasomnia events or showed signs of significant improvement. 

Fun Fact!
The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, uses NSDR (non-sleep deep rest) to help him relax. The practice involves yoga Nidra and hypnosis and is believed to help with stress, relaxation and anxiety.

 How Sleep Hypnosis Works 

While sleep hypnosis methods can differ depending on the individual and their concerns, hypnotherapists often take general steps when addressing sleep difficulties. 

sleep hypnotherapy
  1. Firstly, it’s common practice to discuss any potential triggers or issues which may be causing or are linked to the sleep problem. By identifying the cause, the hypnotherapist can focus on changing these thoughts and habits through the subconscious part of the brain.
  2. To do this, the patient will often be placed into a relaxed and trance-like state. This is often achieved by ensuring the individual is comfortable and free from any negative thoughts. 
  3. To help relax the mind, the hypnotherapist may use guided imagery and controlled breathing. 
  4. Once in a state of deep relaxation, the necessary suggestions and guidance will be used in attempts to alter existing habits, beliefs and motivations which could be associated with sleep disturbances.

Effectiveness Of Sleep Hypnosis

Due to mainstream media, hypnotherapy is often viewed as a performative act and may not be considered a legitimate or effective practice. However, hypnotherapy has been used for decades by professionals to help treat a range of medical and psychological issues. 

sleep hypnosis effectiveness

Studies have shown hypnotherapy to be a helpful way to treat various problems. For example, research✓ has suggested that hypnosis could effectively treat state anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. In addition, there is also scientific evidence✓ that medical hypnosis can be beneficial as a complementary technique in treating irritable bowel syndrome. 

In regards to sleep hypnosis, multiple studies✓ have been reviewed to analyse the effectiveness of this practice. After reviewing scientific abstracts and papers, it was found that 58.3% of studies claimed that sleep hypnosis was a beneficial treatment, with 12.5% reporting mixed results. It was concluded that sleep hypnosis served as a promising treatment with few adverse effects.

Self-Hypnosis For Sleeping 

If you're interested in sleep hypnotherapy, it's recommended to see a professional to ensure the treatment is done correctly. However, if this is not possible, you could try self-hypnosis, which often involves putting yourself into a state of relaxation to encourage the onset of sleep. Below are some tips if you want to try self-hypnosis to help you get a better night's sleep. 

  • Environment: It’s important to be in a comfortable and relaxing environment, to help you calm your mind and body. If your aim is to fall asleep, it’s recommended to lay in bed with minimal distractions, such as noise and technological devices. 
  • Breathing: Similar to meditation, focusing on your breathing can help you to feel more relaxed and release any unwanted tension. While focusing on your breathing, you can also aim to gradually relax the different parts of your body. 
  • Imagery: As well as relaxing the body, you can also focus on calming imagery to help put yourself in a further state of relaxation. In addition to visual imagery, you can also concentrate on any smells, noises or other physical sensations. 
  • Mind: Once relaxed, try to eliminate any negative thoughts and worries, instead try to focus on giving yourself suggestions or repeating positive phrases to combat any sleep problems. 
  • Audio: If you need additional assistance, you can find plenty of resources online which can guide you through sleep hypnosis. Additionally, you can make a recording of your own voice, taking into consideration the steps mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sleep hypnosis?

Sleep hypnosis involves addressing harmful habits, thoughts, or patterns that could negatively impact your sleep quality. It can be used to treat sleep issues, such as snoring, night terrors and sleepwalking.

How does sleep hypnosis work?

A trained hypnotherapist can often tap into the subconscious part of the brain where they can make suggestions and give guidance. This is usually done when the patient is in a deep trance-like state.

How to put yourself to sleep with hypnosis?

To put yourself to sleep, you can relax the body, control your breathing, and focus on calming imagery. You can then make encouraging suggestions or phrases which can help with the onset of sleep.

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