New research, published in the June 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows that a lack of sleep ramps up activity in the part of the brain responsible for the regulation of emotions.
The study discovered that natural worriers seem most vulnerable to the negative effect of sleep loss.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neuroscientists from the University of California, Berkeley, saw increased activity in the amygdala and insular cortex in healthy persons who were sleep deprived. The pattern they observed mirrors abnormal neural activity seen in anxiety disorders, the investigators note.
Furthermore, the study suggests that those who are naturally more anxious, and therefore more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, are even more vulnerable to the effects of lack of sleep.
The study also suggests that people with anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder may benefit from treating insomnia.
Paul White, Director of the Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy and former Chairman of the National Council for Hypnotherapy, said “If insomnia is a key factor in anxiety disorders, as this study suggests, then it’s potentially treatable by using hypnotherapy for insomnia. Our hypnotherapy for insomnia treatment works to remove the underlying worries and anxieties that support insomnia. In doing so we generally reduce the anxiety and restore good quality sleep, effectively treating both the cause and the symptom at the same time.”
There is no doubt in our minds that lack of sleep has a profound effect on the way we process and respond to events around us. We all know how difficult it is to deal with difficult emotional situations effectively if we have had disturbed sleep. There is, therefore, an obvious connection between sleep and mental health.
Lack of sleep – How to deal with it
When we work with clients suffering from insomnia, the first thing we look for is external events that may be causing inappropriate levels of anxiety.
By using hypnotherapy we help clients to change their inappropriate beliefs around external events creating new more appropriate behaviours. Thus changing the way they respond to similar situations in the future. Helping clients to be more relaxed and calmer in their day-to-day life means that when it comes to bedtime their mind is calmer, aiding more restful sleep.
Clients that undergo hypnotherapy for insomnia find that they can, after just a few sessions, actually go to bed without the worrying thoughts about lack of sleep and stress over actually going to sleep. Because by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, especially about lack of sleep, clients begin to see changes in their sleeping habits and improvements in feelings of well-being. When this happens, just about everything in their life improves because they can deal with day-to-day problems more effectively.
Paul White has stepped down recently as Chairman of the National Council for Hypnotherapy, a position he held for five years, he intends to spend more time on his private practice. He has been a Director of The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy for 11 years. He has a special interest in using hypnotherapy for weight loss and problem behaviours such as insomnia.