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The Importance of a Good Night's Sleep...

So many times we are told that sleep is SO important for us, and those old clichés ‘It’ll be alright in the morning’ or ‘Sleep on it’ are all too familiar. But what is actually going on during this mysterious phase of our day which requires us to place so much emphasis on a ‘good night’s sleep?’

An important part of my role as a Hypnotherapist is to help my clients get their sleep pattern back on track - falling asleep relatively quickly and staying asleep throughout the night enabling them to get up at the desired time the next day. But why? Why is it so important that we sleep well from a mental wellbeing perspective?

Over the course of a night, our brain fluctuates from periods of relative inactivity to working with an almost ‘turbo charged energy’. This ‘turbo’ phase, known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – dreaming by any other name, is crucial for our mental health and well being. REM sleep makes up about 20% of our sleep cycle and first occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after we fall asleep. Because our sleep cycle is repetitive we enter REM sleep several times during the night.

It is now widely understood that during REM sleep we process the mental ‘baggage’ from the day. This allows us to wake in the morning refreshed, and with a sense of resolution to that ‘troublesome’ issue of the day before. If we have insufficient sleep we have limited capacity for REM and reduced ability to resolve and rectify any stresses and strains from the previous day, or come up with creative new solutions to move forward. We also understand that sleep deprivation leads to reduction in decision making ability, learning, memory, problem solving, and emotional control. Over a sustained period, sleep deprivation has been linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety, risk-taking behaviour, and suicide.

Hypnosis has been referred to as the creation of an artificially induced REM state allowing new patterns of thought to be rehearsed. Perhaps it is no surprise then that many of my clients come round from trance reporting they feel much brighter, clearer, and able to think straight!

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