One of Milton Erickson’s remedies for sleep was that if they laid in bed for more than fifteen minutes and they hadn’t gone to sleep within that fifteen-minute time period, they were to get up out of bed and go and polish the kitchen floor for the whole night.
They would spend the entire night polishing the kitchen floor and go to work the next day and then come home and if they, by any chance they happened to go to bed that night and still be awake fifteen minutes after getting into their bed, they would have to get up and clean the kitchen floor for the whole night again. After that first night of having absolutely no sleep whatsoever they was so exhausted that of course they got into bed and very quickly went off to sleep.
It started a new pattern and once it happened to that particular client maybe three maybe four times that he’d had to get up and polish the kitchen floor all night his brain very quickly caught on to the fact that when it got to bed, it had to go straight to sleep because otherwise there was a punishment for him.
If you are somebody who’s got into the habit of waking up in the middle of the night, instead of laying there tossing and turning get up and get out of bed. If you find that you’re laying there awake for more than fifteen minutes, get up and go into another room. Remove yourself from the bed-place which should be linked to sleeping and go and do something that is not at all relaxing – go and do some work or reading. I would suggest to you, keep doing that thing until it’s time for you to get up and do your normal morning routine.
You of course have to remember from a safety element that you do require a certain number of hours sleep in order for you to drive and function the next day so only do that extreme Erikson measure if it’s going to be safe for you to do so and to be able to get through the next day effectively and safely. So, if you can’t do the Erickson technique and go all the way through till the next morning, then keep going at least for ninety minutes.
I’m not too sure how true this is, but I did hear that a sleep cycle lasts for ninety minutes so if you’ve woken up and you don’t get back to sleep straight away you might have to wait ninety minutes until the next kind of sleep cycle starts again. So, if you find that you’re awake and you’ve had to get up and go and do something else, do that something else for about ninety minutes. Let’s say eighty to be on the safe side, then get yourself back to bed and hopefully you’ll be into that next cycle of sleep and will be able to get back off to sleep again.
So, the other useful thing in terms of getting yourself to sleep and having a good sleep routine is anchoring. Usually in NLP when we’re creating anchors we traditionally, for the most part we’re using kinesthetics anchors so an anchor which is activated by some form of touch and it could be you touching the client in a particular location or it could be the client is touching their own handle, their own fingers or something like that. Some kind of kinesthetics anchor for them.
The anchor I’m going to suggest to you, in order for you to use this in helping you get to sleep better at night, is actually an olfactory anchor and those of you in the know, will know that olfactory is to do with smells.
Lavender very good for relaxing you. There’s all sorts of aromatherapy that is used for relaxation and for calming people down. There’s a whole market of sleep sprays that you can buy. Spray it around your pillow or around your bed and where you sleep, every night when you go to bed and eventually your brain will start to associate that smell with the winding down, relaxing and going to sleep and there you have your anchor.
External stimulus, being the smell creates an internal state of relaxing into a deep sleep.
If you are suffering from insomnia, book a free consultation with the Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic to work with a qualified hypnotherapist in Hertfordshire or North London.
By Gemma Bailey