09 Nov Waking up in the Middle of the Night
I am finding myself lying awake at night in Oxfordshire with your mind full of all kinds of thoughts?
When you are tired, your body releases stress hormones. But this is a catch 22 situation. Stress activates your fight or flight response, which makes it nearly impossible to sleep. Imagine being in danger and suddenly feeling tired.
The fight to flight response makes sure you have enough energy to fight or escape. In turn, this excess, unused energy keeps you up at night. Your body becomes even more stressed and your anxiety levels rise because you are running on little sleep. Sleep meditation hypnosis may be just what you need. The guided instructions will help you to relax. When you are stressed, your body forgets how to relax. You can overcome this mechanism by simply listening to guided meditation. You should soon feel your body relaxing and slipping away into the dream world.
There are two main types of sleep, Non-REM and REM.
Non-REM is when the brain is quiet and peaceful. Your body repairs itself and hormones are released into the bloodstream, preparing for the day ahead. There are four stages to Non-REM sleep.
1. Pre-sleep – The muscles relax, body temperature drops and the heart beat slows.
2. Light-sleep – Still easily awoken without feelings of confusion.
3. Slow wave sleep – Blood pressure begins to fall.
4. Deep slow wave sleep – Very hard to wake up, will awaken confused and groggy.
REM: Makes up for a fifth of sleep time. During the REM stage of sleep the brain becomes active, body very relaxed and the eyes move around quickly. This is the sleep stage in which dreams become more vivid and easier to remember.
Over the course of a night you switch between Non-REM and REM sleep around five times a night.
When we think negatively about events and situations in our lives, these negative thoughts and memories are accumulated and stored by our brain. I like to think of these negative thoughts and memories as being stored in a stress bucket. This stress bucket fills up with our daily negative experiences and thoughts which contribute to stress; these things can be small things like being late for work or not being able to find a parking space, or large things like losing your job or a relationship breakdown. They all add up and our head can get rather crowded by these unwanted thoughts and memories!
You are familiar with how REM works. Someone upsets you in the afternoon and you really are upset. You tell your husband and he says forget about it but you really can’t. You are thinking about it when you go to bed.
During your REM sleep you will re-run the event either in clear or metaphorically (dreaming), and you will move it from the primitive brain to the intellectual brain were you have control over it. So when you awaken in the morning you might well have forgotten about the wretched person, you might not but you will certainly be saying something like “how do I allow these people to upset me so”.
I fondly imagine that I awaken each morning with my bucket emptied so I can start the day without anxiety, anger or depression. You don’t. Why?
Well for a start you have been piling too much into your bucket. (sometimes it will overflow!) Sadly, for one reason or another, REM is restricted to about 20% of our sleep patterns. If we try and overdo that then the mind will wake you up. You know when it is your mind waking you up because you wake up wide awake and often feel quite miserable. Often we can’t get back to sleep again. You know the difference between that and the baby waking you up for instance
Now we are in the grip of a bit of a vicious circle. The more you have in your stress bucket, the more time you will spend in your primitive brain and the more you will be encouraged to be negative.
So you can see how we can start getting you back on top of things.
Well for a start you have been piling too much into your bucket and it takes a great deal of effort to attempt to empty it. Sadly REM is enervating. It has enormous energy in that effort to diffuse that anxiety. Sometimes we can overdo it and this exhausts us and makes us even more depressed. Now we find ourselves in the grip of a vicious circle. In an attempt to empty our bucket we are encouraged to sleep more and more, sometimes all day, which makes our depression and anxiety worse and worse.
But there is good news! Hypnotherapy mimics REM sleep, helping to trigger a reduction in stress hormones and allowing your brain to process those painful memories and empty that stress bucket. Another great advantage of the hypnosis-induced REM state is that it doesn’t eat in to the 20% REM allowance of your sleep pattern – so you can go for a hypnotherapy session, listen to a hypnosis CD before you go to bed then still have your full 20% allowance of REM sleep, helping to process all those negative memories and thoughts and empty your stress bucket quickly and effectively.
How to get more REM sleep?
1. Adjusting Your Sleep Habits
– Understand the stages of sleep.
– Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
– Turn off all electronics and distractions a few hours before bed.
– Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
– Try to go to bed sleep 30 minutes earlier than usual.
– Be wary of over-the-counter medications that can lead to suppressed REM sleep.
– Commit to exercising at least 20 to 30 minutes a day.
– Self – hypnosis
Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness in Oxfordshire