10 Steps to Overcome Insomnia

Updated: Apr 13

You lay there on your bed. You know you need your sleep. Your mind races; you have so many things to remember: a deadline at work next week; your child has a dentist appointment later this month; you need to call the lawn service to reschedule; you have been having lower back pain and want to schedule a massage. If you forget these important things, there may be a negative consequence or you may miss out on something enjoyable.

You have worries: about your job, your relationships, your kids, your future. You know there are decisions you need to make: where will we go on vacation this summer? What should I get my mother for her birthday? What should I write my blog about? Your mind is juggling all these things. It's no wonder you can't sleep. Below are 10 steps I recommend as a hypnotherapist to overcome insomnia and return to blissful, uninterrupted, restful nights.

1. Brain Dump

During the day, have a notebook or device handy to keep track of things you need to remember. Before bed, write down a to do list and review what you wrote down to remember. You only need to write down significant items. You will know it's significant if there may be a negative consequence or if you may miss out on an enjoyable experience if the item is not done or not on time. Put less significant items in a "park" category. That way you still can remember to come back to them, but they're not banging around in your head in the middle of the night.

2. Prioritize your to do list.

Watch this video on Getting Things Done by David Allen. I have found this very helpful to get stuff out of my head and on paper (or a device).

3. Put Highest Priorities on Your Schedule

Having the most important and urgent items on your schedule greatly increases the chances of remembering and gets them taken care of in your mind so it can let go and let you get to sleep. You don't need to cram your schedule; that could cause overwhelm.

4. Achievement List

Give yourself a pat on the back and kudos! Write down what you did accomplish today. Even if you got nothing done that you put on your schedule, write down what you did do and acknowledge those accomplishments. Unforeseen things often come up that are more urgent than what you had written down. A wonderful opportunity may have come up that you chose to participate in. Excellent! Give yourself credit and focus on your achievements.

5. Keep a notebook by your bed

If you wake up in the night because you have remembered something you did not write down, simply jot it down in the notebook and go back to sleep.

6. Undecided Decisions List

Write down 5-7 undecided decisions that have been on your mind, ie: When should we put the house up for sale?, Which company should I go with for car insurance?, Is my son's illness serious enough to take him to the Dr.?, etc. You don't need to make these decisions now, unless you already know what you're going to decide. Just put down a date for when you will make that decision. This lets the mind feel that this has been taken care of and it doesn't need to keep thinking about it. When the date of decision comes, if the decision has not been made, just set another date. If the decision is no longer important or has already been resolved, just cross it off your list of things to think about. Add to the list as necessary.

7. Worries List

You have many worries: about your kids, your relationships, your job, things that might happen, things that might not happen, problems, etc. Write these down. This can be a prayer or meditation list. Your mind will understand that you are allowing God or your higher power to handle these things. Your subconscious will now go to work to find the solutions. Allow it to do its job and let go of the need to control things to go the way you think they should go. After praying/meditating on the items on your worry list before you sleep, throw the list away.

8. Breathe

Learn diaphragmatic breathing; breathing down into your belly. Babies are born with this skill, but we lose it somewhere along the way. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which is responsible for allowing the body to relax. We typically breathe up into our chests. This is fight or flight breathing and can cause anxiety and adrenaline rush. Combine deep breathing with meditation and/or prayer. This is the time you can address the items on your prayer/meditation list and then release them to your higher power, believing they will be taken care of.

9. Beds are for Sleeping

Keep the use of your bed only for sleeping and intimacy. Using your bed to read, watch TV/movies, play on your phone, work on your laptop, etc., will only condition your mind to accept the bed as a place for activities other than sleep. This triggers the mind to think about things connected with those activities. If you're working from home on your laptop in bed, you might be thinking about work projects when you're ready to sleep. You might allow yourself to continue watching TV or playing on your phone instead of getting to sleep sooner. By keeping entertainment, work and other things out of the bedroom, your mind makes a natural break between activity and sleep. Even better would be to remove your TV and cellphone from your bedroom at night.

10. Hypnotherapy Sessions

Hypnotherapy will help you resolve unwanted emotions, limiting beliefs, painful memories, imagining negative future outcomes and destructive behaviors. Each time you release negative energy, you defuse and collapse these negative emotions, imaginations and memories. You feel more and more set free as you work through your issues and make new decisions about how to think and perceive things. Without the anxiety, fear, worry, negative self-talk, painful memories, etc, you are much more able to relax. The more you release through hypnosis, the better you will be able to sleep. Your body learns how to relax and go to deeper levels of hypnosis, which you can deepen to go to sleep. After a couple of sessions, the body remembers where to go and understands how to go deeper. As you get used to hypnosis, the body can go deeper into lower levels of consciousness quickly and even if you wake during the night, can get back to sleep in no time. For more information on hypnotherapy or to book a session, visit or see the contact info below.

Michelle Nealey

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

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