Persistent poor-quality sleep may indicate underlying issues with anxiety or depression: it is not uncommon for people to cycle between these for some time before reaching out for the help they need to get back on top of things. Getting to the root of sleep issues paves the way to resolving them, and to do this we need to understand some critical factors about our brains.
36% of the adults in the UK struggle to fall asleep at least once a week.
35% of individuals in the UK said lack of proper sleep made them anxious
43% of UK citizens stated that poor sleep made them irritable or angry
One in three people in the UK are sleeping less than before the pandemic
First: our brains have evolved through three key phases, with each new phase adding new structures and capabilities. The first phase created the reptilian brain which controls our basic functioning. Next, the paleo-mammalian brain evolved to protect the individual’s survival. This is the part that identifies and responds to threats – imagined or real. It has three responses: anxiety to warn us there may be trouble ahead: anger to fire us up to deal with imminent threats and depression to withdraw and hide until the threat has passed. Finally, the neo-mammalian brain developed. This is the part that most other species don’t have (at least not nearly as well developed). It is the part that allows us to think in abstract ways, to respond to new challenges and invent blogging. This is the part that supports us in living our best life: a life of having choices, a life of purpose, a life of fulfilment.
The second crucial bit to understand is that the paleo and the neo parts of our brains are in a constant state of dynamic equilibrium: it’s a bit like a see-saw. When paleo-brain is largely in control, we react to the world around us with a combination of anxiety, anger and depression. When neo-brain is largely in control, we respond in considered, proportionate and creative ways. Stress pushes the equilibrium to paleo-brain being in control.
The third part gives some good news: we have a natural process to reduce stress which reduces the paleo’s brain influence which, in turn, supports us in living our best life. Which brings us back to sleep – or more specifically REM sleep. REM sleep serves to empty our metaphoric ‘stress bucket’, leaving us well placed to live at our best with neo brain in control. Normally, this works well and we live content lives. However, REM sleep is limited. When we’re overly stressed, we ask too much of our REM sleep. We know when we’re doing this. We find it difficult to get to sleep in the first place, we wake through the night feeling rough. We wake up too early. Tired and grumpy – paleo brain is in control – we drag ourselves through the day. Once in a while, is unlikely to have much of an adverse impact on our life. But when it carries on, we’re caught in a vicious cycle of paleo-brain dumping more and more in our ’stress bucket’ and our natural REM sleep simply being overwhelmed. Here-in lies one route to needing help with anxiety. Left unchecked, prolonged periods of anxiety can be a route to depression. There are, of course, others.
As a hypnotherapist, this is the most common pattern I see in my clients. We saw that REM sleep helps empty our ‘stress bucket’. We also saw that this may not be enough. Well, here’s some more good news. Trance – or hypnosis – works in a similar way to REM sleep in reducing our ‘stress bucket’. This is profoundly important: once we have developed the ability to go in to trance, we can do so at will. We can empty our ‘stress bucket’ whenever we choose to – and build on this to do some really cool stuff with hypnosis. In practice, regular trance keeps the ‘stress bucket’ largely empty. With a largely empty ‘stress bucket’, we live life with neo-brain in control: we live with intelligence, consideration, creativity: we live our best lives. And we get a good night’s sleep too!
As a gift to Beauty-Banter readers, I’m giving away this hypnosis download. Simply download and enjoy this enchanted journey.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps many people turn that paleo-brain led vicious cycle of grinding tiredness in to a neo-brain led virtuous cycle of personal growth and fulfilment.
Introducing Kevin Whitelaw
Kevin is an accredited Solution Focused Hypnotherapist from Edinburgh, Scotland and a member of the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.
You may be experiencing issues such as anxiety, poor sleep, imposter syndrome, depression, rebuilding after a major life change or you’re ready to invest in you: developing new skills to sustain your wellbeing. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy supports you in moving forward to live your best life.
Having conquered these issues himself, Kevin is perfectly placed to understand the challenges of turning that vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle and going on to build a new – better – life.
His services include Solution Focused Hypnotherapy sessions online at affordable prices and he even offers a free, no obligation, discovery call to really understand your situation and establish how he can best help you.
So, if you’re experiencing these issues, or are ready to invest in you, a session with Kevin will help you find your answers and feel more confident with the path in front of you.
Kevin Whitelaw, Solution Focused Hypnotherapist helping adults get back on top of things to sustain their wellbeing.
Website Perma Hypnotherapy
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