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Hypnosis for Sleep Disorders

Michael D. Weil, Psy.D.


Hypnosis can be a very affective treatment for insomnia, whether the patient has difficulty with sleep onset, sleep maintenance, or both. Once a medical basis for the disorder has been ruled out and the patient has been educated about sleep hygiene practices, hypnosis is utilized to de-activate the patient’s wake system. Invariably, patients with insomnia experience high levels of cognitive activity prior to and during bedtime. They typically ruminate about the day’s activities, stressful events in their lives and the fact that they cannot get to sleep. This keeps the wake system functioning, even as the sleep system becomes activated. Hypnosis works by inducing a deep state of relaxation, one that affects the mind and body alike. A deep state of relaxation clears the mind of intruding and repetitive thoughts while simultaneously suppressing autonomic nervous system activity. The result is that the patient’s sleep system becomes the dominant, operative system and sleep is initiated. 

Following one or at most two treatment sessions, an audiotape of the hypnosis session is made for the patient. He/she is then instructed to listen to the tape one half-hour before bedtime. Repeated use of the tape serves to reinforce the hypnotic suggestions made in the office. It also teaches the patient how to rapidly induce deep states of relaxation.

Contact Dr. Weil if you would like more information, or to set up an appointment.