self hypnosis for sleep as solution for insomnia and for waking up in the middle of the night with insomnia

Have you been waking up in the middle of the night with insomnia? You may actually have the best natural sleep aid at your disposal already.

Self hypnosis for sleep may be your answer. In addition to being readily available and free, self hypnosis sleep strategies are easy to learn and implement.

Why Insomnia Disturbs Your Sleep

Insomnia manifests as trouble falling asleep when you get into bed or as difficulty staying asleep. Both types of insomnia cause feelings of frustration, anxiety and helplessness. Involuntary spinning thoughts, becoming absorbed in the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and hyper-focused attention on feelings or events from the day can all contribute to sleep anxiety and trouble falling to sleep.

When people struggle with going to sleep when they initially get into bed, anxiety often goes to the next level when they wake up in the middle of the night with insomnia.

Nighttime sleep disturbances happen for different reasons:

  • Needing to go to the bathroom or for other physical symptoms
  • Dreams or nightmares
  • Noises
  • Tossing and turning because of things going on during daily life
  • Unresolved anxiety or stress from the past or from a current situation
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Disturbance of the body’s circadian rhythm

On a recent episode of the Calm + Cozy Podcast with Sleep Coach Beth Wyatt, she asked me and some other sleep experts our opinions about whether it is better to stay in or get out of bed when you have insomnia.

The more I have thought about this question, the more my answer may be: it depends. Part of what it depends on is whether that insomnia comes when we first get into bed or if it happens when we wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep.

What to Do If You Need Help Sleeping After Waking in the Middle of the Night With Insomnia

Conventional wisdom tells us that if we haven’t fallen to sleep within 20 minutes we should get out of bed. This often seems easier to do when we first embark on our nighttime journey than when we’ve been asleep and then wake up with insomnia.

Life seems full of “should’s” starting with everything from that to-do list that’s spinning in our heads. Sometimes the last thing we want to do when we long for sleep is to get out of bed to do something else. This seems to hold particularly true when we’ve just been enjoying deep sleep and then find ourselves wide awake with insomnia.

The strategy of getting out of bed to read a book or look out at the dark, night sky can certainly help break the pattern of restlessness and curtail some associations between the bed and wakefulness. However, sometimes, especially in the middle of the night, when we just don’t want to get out of bed, we need to have some other options for how to relax and that’s where self hypnosis for sleep can really make a difference.

Self hypnosis acts as a bridge state between the things we tell ourselves with our conscious minds and the things that happen in the unconscious and autonomic processes. Perhaps this definition points to why hypnosis for sleep disturbances is effective:

Sleep hypnosis connects our conscious intentions to relax and sleep, to the actual state of being asleep and getting high quality rest.

3 of the Best Self Hypnosis Sleep Tips You Can Start Using Tonight

It can feel empowering to have a repertoire of natural sleep remedies to help with falling asleep and staying asleep. The more options we have, the less trapped we feel, especially when we perceive the looming threat of insomnia.

The three self hypnosis for sleep techniques below rely on direct conscious attention towards states that support falling asleep. This shifts energy away from some of the things that caused insomnia and disturbed sleep.

Self Hypnosis Technique #1 – Play With Sensations of Heaviness and Lightness

Trance states often deepen feelings of weight and heaviness or feelings of lightness, like floating. The beautiful quality of drifting to sleep can also elicit similar sensations.

When in bed, it may be helpful to focus on feeling the weight of your body making contact with the bed, sinking in and being safely held and supported. You may also direct your attention on feeling the lightness of the air as your abdomen rises with your inhale and exhale.

Bringing attention to the body moves it away from thoughts that may have been controlling your mind. You may then find it easier to get in touch with a sense of being grounded and present in the bed as a place for supportive sleep.

Self Hypnosis Technique #2 – Your Eyes Are Getting Heavier

Increasingly scientists and the public understand the relationship between darkness, the release of melatonin and sleep. As research builds, so does awareness that we want to do whatever we can to trigger melatonin naturally in the evenings to support healthy sleep and circadian rhythms.

I have found that self hypnosis for sleep at certain points during the day can make a huge difference in nighttime sleep quality, quantity, overcoming insomnia and in frequency of waking up in the middle of the night with insomnia.

When you want to get to sleep or get back to sleep, you may sense the tiredness your body feels. When you close your eyes and toss and turn with insomnia, it’s almost as if your body is pulling you in the direction of rest while your mind pulls you in the opposite direction by staying active.

Instead of letting the eyes close, try keeping them open and looking out into the darkness of the room. This may help with triggering that natural melatonin production. After a while the eyes will likely feel quite tired and will want to shut. When they get tired and heavy enough, they will close and it may be easier to drift to sleep.

Self Hypnosis Technique #3 – Remember That You Remember How to Sleep

Be aware (beware!) that you can use self hypnosis for sleeping better, or you can further a hypnosis story about having terrible insomnia.

Each night you get to start fresh. Tonight has never happened before. AND you HAVE slept in the past, even if that sleep hasn’t always been good. We need sleep to survive and to function. Even if it was during infancy, our systems do have a cellular memory of sleeping.

Shifting attention to that knowing can help restore hope and points us to a mindset that overcoming insomnia and sleeping better is possible.

These three natural sleep remedies can be very effective and work fast to combat insomnia. Start getting better rest tonight by practicing self hypnosis for sleep.

Article previously posted on on November 17, 2020

Featured image by Alena Ozerova for Adobe


  • Dyan Haspel-Johnson, Ph.D., S.E.P.®

    Psychologist & Hypnosis Expert

    Thrive Global

    Dr. Dyan Haspel-Johnson runs a private psychological and hypnotherapy practice with a specialty in hypnosis for sleep and other mind-body-spirit modalities. After receiving her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Dr. Dyan earned her Ph.D. in psychology while working in a physician's holistic medical practice. Her creative and science based backgrounds inspire Dr. Dyan's unique way of thinking about healing. Her approach led her to become the Vice President of Continuing Education Programs for the Southern California Society for Clinical Hypnosis, and then to become President of that organization while also teaching at UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry and lecturing at many other institutions. Dr. Dyan's expertise with sleep, and the demand in her practice to help people to sleep better motivated Dr. Dyan to make the complimentary, downloadable eBook and video, "The 3 Biggest Things That Cause Sleep Problems & The ONE Thing You Can Do by 3pm Today to Sleep Better." She has also created the Deep & Easy Sleep Self-Hypnosis Package, available through her website.