At least 1 in 3 American adults are not getting the recommended amount of sleep and 50-70 million people in the U.S. have ongoing sleep disorders. This staggering statistic reflects just how common insomnia has become in our country. Insomnia can involve trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking up too early, or a combination of these issues.

While we all know that insomnia leaves you tired and makes it difficult to function well the next day, its effects are much more complex. But before we dive into all of the negative effects insomnia has on us, let’s talk about risk factors.

The older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from insomnia. Family history may play a part because certain genes can affect sleep patterns. Women are 40% more likely to suffer from insomnia than men. Stress plays a big role in our sleep patterns as well. If you are not getting enough exercise, this could be the culprit to your sleep issues. Too much caffeine, alcohol or nicotine interrupt our sleep patterns. Environment…temperature, noise, and light…can be a major sleep disruptor for some. And as you have probably heard before, electronic device use too close to bedtime can keep you up at night. This last one is having a major impact on our kids today and causing a new generation of insomniacs, at an even earlier age.

So besides yawning and being less productive, what are the effects of sleep disorders on our lives?

1. It has been found that there is a 2-way relationship between sleep issues and depression. In fact, about 90% of people with depression have sleep issues!
2. It affects energy level, mood, work/school performance, memory, concentration, decision making and safety.
3. Insomnia can worsen health problems or raise the risk of developing conditions such as: asthma, decreased immune response, chronic pain, heart problems, high blood pressure, mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, overweight/obesity, pregnancy complications, and substance use disorder. Research suggests that insomnia in older adults increases risk of cognitive decline and dementia. A 2017 comparative analysis on the link between sleep duration and mortality found that when compared with someone who sleeps between 7-9 hours a night, people who sleep on average less than 6 hours a night have a 13% higher mortality risk. Yikes. This list makes you not want to miss a minute of sleep.
4. Insufficient sleep has an economic impact of more than $411 billion each year in the U.S. alone.
5. Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes every year in the U.S.

So how can hypnotherapy change your sleep patterns and help you get a good night’s sleep? Well, research has shown that both acute and chronic insomnia respond positively to hypnotherapy. Studies have found hypnotherapy more effective than other techniques in helping participants fall asleep.

Hypnotherapy puts your mind into a hyper-focused state that allows you to accept guidance that changes your behavior that affects your sleep. The benefits of hypnotherapy include identifying destructive thought patterns, finding the underlying reason for one’s insomnia, and a deeper, more restorative night’s sleep. It prompts increased slow-wave sleep, which is important for physical and mental recovery. Hypnotherapy reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain, which are all strongly correlated with sleep issues.

Oftentimes, people turn to meds to help them catch some zzzz’s. But meds for insomnia have side effects, interact with other medications, and are only intended for short term use. In the U.K, hospitals even use hypnosis instead of anesthesia for surgeries, proving how powerful it is and that medication isn’t even needed.

Because of how it’s portrayed in popular culture, hypnosis is commonly misunderstood. As a result, it is often overlooked as a potential treatment. As people become more aware and knowledgeable about hypnotherapy as a successful, rapid treatment for so many issues, my hope is that it will help to solve the insomnia epidemic we face today.