Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Natural Sleep Aids

Hypnosis and Sleep Disorders

Hypnosis, a method by which to induce extreme relaxation, can be employed to treat sleep disorders. Some people associate hypnosis with stage acts or television programs they've seen where people who were supposedly hypnotized acted like chickens or did other bizarre things simply because they were told to do them by the hypnotist. This stereotype conveys the impression that hypnosis is about losing control. But actually, it is about gaining control.

A person who is truly hypnotized is in a deep state of relaxation and is fully aware of what is going on around them. For this very reason, self-hypnosis may prove helpful in relieving sleep problems associated with stress. It provides a tool that you can use to induce a deep state of relaxation whenever you want to.

There are many methods of self-hypnosis. Here's one that's fairly easy. Choose a positive statement that expresses a desire. For instance, "Each breath makes me feel more relaxed." Once you have the statement in mind, lie down and take three slow, deep breaths. Close your eyes and, starting at your head, begin using your affirmation statement on different parts of your body. "Each breath makes my forehead more relaxed." As you breathe, imagine releasing any tension in that part of your body when you exhale. Move to the next part: "Each breath makes my jaw more relaxed." Continue using the same affirmative statement with various parts of your body until you finish with your toes.

Continue regular, slow, deep breaths throughout. Then count backward from 100 to 95 and immediately imagine yourself being taken to a serene setting that you would like to visit. It could be indoors or outdoors, as long as it is peaceful and inviting to you. Once there, repeat your affirmation statement three times. Stay and enjoy the place for as long as you like. When you feel ready to leave, say good-bye to your special place. Then, before opening your eyes, tell yourself that you will slowly count from one to three and that by the time you reach three and open your eyes, you will feel fully relaxed and ready to enjoy peaceful sleep.

On the next page, learn about how yoga works, along with the benefit of yoga on sleep.

For more information on sleep and sleep disorders, see: