I have had a diverse spectrum of clients with insomnia. For most of them, insomnia and hypnosis go hand-in-hand. It can help greatly when the cause of the insomnia is psychologically based, and not medical or nutritional in origin (such as a mineral deficiency). However there is one ‘type’ of insomnia client I would like to discuss today – the overachiever.
I have noticed a pattern of overachieving with clients over the years. They are often highly motivated, successful, and their sense of self worth is directly tied in with that identity of success or worldly purpose. When things change, such as a change in job, going part time, or a change in responsibility, they begin to experience insomnia as a type of anxiety response. Sometimes it begins on holidays! Sometimes it begins with a change of focus.
More often that not, these clients are intelligent and self aware. They are up to speed with their personal psychology and take action to help their situation, such as switching off the television at 8pm and putting their phones away so that they don’t have any ‘blue light’ interference affecting their circadian rhythms. They might do a mindfulness meditation or practice relaxation breathing techniques. Yet sleep eludes them and they can see no reason as to why.
The problem with overachieving
What has been clear to me in many of these cases is that the client has a belief which is interfering with their ability to take time off – time off from work, time off for sleep. Underlying their condition is an unconscious mind which believes that becoming less busy means that they are also becoming less worthy. Sometimes they are just as busy but perhaps their focus has changed, such as when a career driven person goes part time to help care for an aging parent.
It is a values-based imbalance. When the client can accept that the change they have made is positive and that their self worth is not impacted by it, their sleep usually returns.
Insomnia and hypnosis have much in common and is well documented. The Greek word for sleep is ‘hypno’, after all. Hypnosis can help this group of overachievers to re-balance their sense of purpose and self-worth, thus addressing the cause of their ‘problem’. Hypnosis can also be used to relax the client, and to help them reprioritise aspects of their lives, allocating certain time slots for reviewing problems, for example, leaving the night hours free for sleep.
If you are an overachiever who has recently changed your routine, consider how this affects your sense of self. Consider how your sense of self may benefit from a makeover 🙂