This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation
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 are 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 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.