Your brain is running your life whether you are Awake or Asleep.
Sleep isn’t a luxury and the brain has a big ‘To Do’ list to achieve during your sleeping hours.
“The brain is actually very active during sleep doing important things. It’s not just resting, and if you don’t get sleep you don’t function on a number of levels the way you should.”…says Dr. Caitlin Tynan Doyle, Professor of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center.
Skimping on zzz’s compromises a wide range of functions including…
immunity/the risk of getting sick
weight gain & obesity
thinking and memory
anxiety and depression
and obviously fatigue and insomnia
Our whole body and brain can get thrown off kilter when our sleep is not optimal.
For 30% of the population, insomnia is a debilitating condition affecting every aspect of life.
About 50% of people lose sleep due to worrying and anxiety. We all know that feeling of something “weighing” on our mind. It can be hard to switch off and slow our train of thought to relax the brain and get to sleep.
Many employees say they actually call in sick or even doze off at work after their anxiety kept them up all night.
So what can be done?
To explain what can be done, it is important to understand that everything is a pattern in the brain.
These patterns, called “Neural Maps” determine the way we feel and think such as with Anxiety as well as our behaviours and physical functions such as in Sleep.
When anxiety is the cause of insomnia, it’s best to treat a patient for the anxiety, changing both the pattern or “Neural Map” as well as addressing the initial underlying cause of the worrying.
Even though sleep is a natural function, it can sometimes get out of balance.
Our brains produce Melatonin and Serotonin and regulate their balance.
When the sun goes down, Melatonin levels go up which makes us sleepy. When the sun comes up our brain naturally produces Serotonin which makes us feel alert and switched on.
Serotonin incidentally is our a happy hormone and is the primary element in depression medications.
Whether it’s due to irregular hours, worries, hormonal changes or other stressors in our lives, once the sleep pattern in the brain gets out of balance it needs to be reset and a new pattern of sleep established.
This can be done through clinical hypnotherapy which resets the sleep pattern and neural map in the brain.
I treat many people, both women and men, every week for sleep oriented issues.
However women are twice as likely as men to be hit by insomnia… finding it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep, every week.
The good news is, if your brain created the problem it can also be influenced to create the solution.
In hypnotherapy we reintroduce healthy sleep patterns by creating a ‘Sleep Protocol’. This is list of individualized triggers that the brain associates with going into a deep sleep.
It’s like a series of reminders that move the mind towards the brain wave pattern that occurs when we are deeply asleep. This brain wave pattern is called Delta.
There are 5 types of brain waves.
Gamma and Beta are both high brain waves associated with alertness, learning and communication.
Alpha and Theta are lower brain waves associated with relaxation and creative thinking.
Finally, Delta brain waves occur while we are in deep sleep.
Once the brain is retrained to move into Delta, normal sleep patterns are re-established.
I always make patients a digital voice recording of the hypnotherapy on their own phone. They can use this at bedtime to strengthen the sleep pattern.
I’ve had a number of patients who after successfully changing their sleep patterns, still use their recordings years later if they have had a late night and need to get to sleep quickly! It’s a great tool and is free as part of the consultation.
Floating isn’t new but it’s getting a lot of buzz right now because it has so many health benefits. It’s moving more into the main stream.
Origins of floating
Floating in salt water for therapeutic reasons isn’t new.
However, over the past 5 years, there’s been a serious renewed interest in the practice.
In the late ’50s, neuroscientist and psychoanalyst John C. Lilly, MD studied the effects of sensory deprivation flotation on anxiety disorders, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to the impressive benefits he saw, he developed a commercial float tank that anyone could use.
Floating flourished in the 60s more for the “experience” rather than it’s potential to heal. Then in the ‘70s, concerns over water cleanliness halted the industry’s growth. Nonetheless, the scientific study of floating — namely the effects of isolation on the brain — continued within the academic community.
Now floating has resurfaced and there are Floatation centres all across the world and in our backyard. My favourite is The Private Sea in Mornington.
Early on in my life I noticed those who had a spark and those that didn’t. To me it made a huge impact on the quality, joy and the way a person shared their unique gifts with the world. There was something engaging and magnetic about those with a spark that drew you to what they had to offer. Whether it be your high school English teacher, local hairdresser, delivery man or sales person.
This intrigue turned into my passion for helping those whose spark has dimmed and need a guiding hand to restore the natural spark they were born with.
Our bodies and minds are complex so there are plenty of places to get stuck. When I work with clients I start at the base with your biochemistry and daily patterns and declutter and build from there. Once you’ve got the foundations strong and stable you can go forth.
Hence I’d like you to meet Perri Curtis – brain pattern breaker and maker extraordinaire.
I’ve been working alongside Perri for the last 18 months and she’s a fabulous resource to help those who find that a pattern is difficult to break consciously.
I’ll get Perri to explain the rest…
How Does Your Brain Run Your Life?
Whatever is happening in the brain is happening in the body. We hear a lot these days about managing patterns like stress, depression and anxiety.
In actual fact everything we know such as how to think, feel or do has a pattern in the brain. These patterns are called “neural maps”.
Patterns may be unhelpful such as –
Or helpful and desirable like –
performance at school/ work,
riding a bike
speaking a language
“Angela had severe anxiety and agoraphobia and couldn’t leave the house. Anxiety was cluttering up her life, draining all her energy and resources as she just coped to get through.
She came to me with five things on her list to fix. I said, ‘I’m going to treat the one thing that everything else is hinged on, and that’s anxiety.’
When I treated her anxiety, she got her energy back because having anxiety 24/7 sucks. You go to sleep with it in your face, wake up with it in your face, and all day long you’re trying to cope.
She had no interest in eating well or exercising or even having a bath to nurture herself. She was just living hour to hour to get through. I eliminated her anxiety brain pattern in a few sessions that had become locked in, through hypnotherapy.
Once that was cleared she had energy. Now her question is, ‘What can I do to feel good?’”
It’s interesting to know that our brain has created these patterns and so, is also capable of creating something different. This is where clinical hypnotherapy is a powerful tool and can be used to great advantage.
People often ask me, “What is the difference between psychology and clinical hypnotherapy?”
As a psychologist and clinical hypnotherapist with a background in neuroscience, it’s a good question!
The easy answer is that-
psychology deals with the conscious mind which is about our version of reality and keeping our patterns going.
clinical hypnotherapy deals with the subconscious mindwhich is about imagination and creation.
The subconscious mind is the Pattern Maker and the Pattern Breaker.
Traditional psychology is great for learning about ourselves and the origins of our version of “reality”. We can learn about our triggers for patterns of feeling, thinking, behaving and functioning, and create strategies to deal with them. But sometimes unfortunately we still get stuck in the pattern.
The subconscious mind, as the Pattern Maker-Pattern Breaker, does not differentiate between reality and imagination so when suggestions for change are made they are more readily accepted.
Any brain pattern is susceptible to change….and the aim in clinical hypnotherapy is to replace old unhelpful patterns and their neural maps with new ones that are helpful and desirable.
For example, in anxiety and depression,neural maps have been activated for a very long time in many patients and they get bigger and stronger the more they are activated.
So, in clinical hypnotherapy we don’t do lots of sessions that include lots of talking about the issue because that can actually activate a pattern and neural map further.
We simply do –
Sufficient investigation into a patient’s background to understand what the pattern is, how it may have begun, how their brain processes information best and identify what changes would be most desirable.
Then get the brain into a suggestible state which is like daydreaming or relaxing. This is what is called “hypnotic state”.
In fact, it is just a brain wave pattern. It’s the same one we are in when we relax, daydream, meditate, imagine an outfit when we’re online shopping or zoning out at the computer!
It’s a normal brain state that we experience every day. In this state called Alpha-Theta brain waves, the mind will create new patterns quite easily that can begin to be effective immediately.
So if your brain is running your life…What is running your brain?
If the answer is “old patterns” that don’t serve you, then take action and take back control!
Because when your brain changes…everything changes.
Losing your shit? Swinging from depressed to anxious to moody and generally can’t think clearly?
Not sure what to do? Or you’ve visited your local doctor out of desperation, now you’ve got a piece of paper with an antidepressant written on it.
I worked for 20 years dispensing those anti-depressants and people weren’t getting any happier. That’s why I jumped the counter and now I’m offer empowering, long term solutions as a naturopath, that clean up at the beginning and not the end.
Consider this concept before you go any further…..did you know your gut affects your mood? Ever heard of the gut-brain connection?