Lying in bed and trying to sleep is extremely frustrating when it does not occur naturally. You obsessively glare at the clock as you carefully calculate how many hours you can sleep; if only you can force yourself to sleep at that time. You toss and turn as you anticipate the next day, worrying more and more that you will be uncomfortable and won’t get things done. Your mind races with conversations from the past day, anticipated interactions in the future, worry about unfinished projects and scans for things you may have missed.
Dr. Samantha Gaies, Ph.D is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and NYC’s expert in combining hypnosis, mindfulness, interpersonal techniques, and CBT to help people suffering from insomnia. With her years of clinical research in insomnia, she has developed a way of utilizing hypnosis that is both flexible and evidence-based. She has trained extensively in mindfulness meditation, self-compassion theories and practice, hypnosis, and acceptance-based techniques, and takes this combined experience to helping people overcome their struggles with sleeping.
When people think of insomnia, they often assume it involves being up all night without getting any sleep. However, since most people vary in how much sleep they need, insomnia is not defined by how long it takes to fall asleep nor the number hours of person sleeps. Instead, insomnia relates to the distress and day-to-day impairment one feels as a result of one or more of the following: having trouble falling asleep, remaining asleep through the night, waking up too early, or only getting nonrestorative sleep, which leaves a person feeling irritated, groggy, drained, or distracted the next day.
When a person tosses and turns most evenings, constantly wakes up throughout the night or early morning, or does not feel refreshed the next morning even after sleeping enough, that person may notice the following: a worsened mood, a diminished desire to spend time with friends and family, a change in appearance, a nonexistent energy level, and a lack of ability to concentrate at work or home. In other words, a lack of sleep can affect almost every aspect of a person’s life. To make things worse, as people become more preoccupied with their lack of sleep, they may notice that they become more frustrated, which then negatively impacts their sleep even more.
Research demonstrates that treating insomnia without relying on medication can be achieved through techniques such as hypnosis, mindfulness, and CBT for Insomnia. Dr. Gaies utilizes hypnotic and mindfulness techniques combined with CBT for Insomnia to increase both the quality and quantity of sleep, as well as address the underlying reasons for insomnia. More specifically, individuals will acquire new skills about how to change their sleep habits in order to get more sleep, learn ways to reach a more relaxed state to receive a better quality of sleep, and increase their daily functioning to get back to being the person they were before the insomnia began. Throughout the treatment, Dr. Gaies will also use interpersonal exploration to help uncover underlying reasons for the development of insomnia in order to more effectively stave off future bouts of sleeplessness and help decrease negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety, or irritability).