This Science-Backed Sleep Hack Calms a Worried Mind
Use sleep hypnosis to fall asleep or fall back asleep in the middle of the night.
Caroline Igo (she/her/hers) is a wellness editor and holds Sleep Science Coach and Stress Management certificates from the Spencer Institute. She received her bachelor's degree in creative writing from Miami University and continues to further her craft in her free time. Before joining CNET, Caroline wrote for past CNN anchor, Daryn Kagan.
ExpertiseVitamins and supplements, nutrition, sleep & personal careCredentials
Carl R. Greer/Andrew D. Hepburn Award for Best Nonfiction Essay (Miami University, 2021)
We have all heard of hypnosis or attended a hypnosis show at one point or another. Watching someone become hypnotized on stage can be entertaining, but the comedic aspects of this method often lead to hypnosis being largely dismissed as scientific. Turns out, research suggests that hypnosis is an effective treatment for sleep disorders.
Sleep hypnosis is an easy and free tool that you can use to fall asleep tonight. Here is what you need to know.
Sleep hypnosis (nor any hypnosis) won't take over your body and make you do things you don't want to do. Under hypnosis -- a trance-like state in which awareness is decreased -- our brains become more open to suggestion. In fact, sleep hypnosis is very similar to meditation. It is as simple as listening to a guided video that encourages you to either be less anxious about falling asleep, find inner calm or help you follow a better sleep schedule.
The goal is not to fall asleep during sleep hypnosis (although it's great if that happens), but to come out of it with a better mindset about sleeping.
No special training required
You can try sleep hypnosis at home. It's as simple as listening to a video or audio in the comfort of your own bed. You don't need to undergo training or be hypnotized by a professional, but that's always an option. If you're interested, talk to your doctor.
However, not everyone is as susceptible to hypnosis as others. According to a 2015 report, about 15% of people are "highly hypnotizable" and about one-third have a hard time being hypnotized at all. The remaining group of people falls somewhere in the middle, either being susceptible or not. Sleep hypnosis might not be for you, but it is worth a try.
Many free videos and podcasts are online
The best part about sleep hypnosis is that you can find free audios almost anywhere. YouTube and Spotify are two platforms that have the most available. Note that the free videos and audios online are usually not produced by professionals. A study by the American Psychological Association found that online hypnosis videos may help cancer patients with insomnia.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Depending on the sleep hypnosis audio or video, there are some that focus on improving sleep hygiene -- also known as your nighttime routine, sleep environment and sleep habits. If you struggle to fall asleep at a decent time each night or want to improve your sleep habits, check out this specific sleep hypnosis on YouTube. There are plenty of other options, as well.
As you age, your slow-wave sleep declines. This type of sleep is important to our mental and physical health, especially to recover from trauma or injury. Sleep hypnosis is one way to increase this. One study found that slow-wave sleep was increased by 81% in a group of females that underwent sleep hypnosis. The study concluded that hypnosis might significantly increase slow-wave sleep more than any pharmacological treatments.
More research is needed to better understand all of the benefits of sleep hypnosis.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.