Insomnia is "difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both" or the perception of poor quality sleep.
There are three types of insomnia classified by duration:

1) Transient Insomnia: lasts less than a week and is usually related to identifiable factors such as acute medical illness, changes in the sleeping environment, self-medication, jet lag and acute or recurring stress from work problems, concerns about health, relationship difficulties, etc.

2) Short-term Insomnia: 1-3 weeks duration. Contributing factors include a job change, relationship break ups, serious illness, financial problems, or the death of a close friend/relative.

3) Chronic Insomnia: Describes episodes lasting longer than 3 weeks. Even when individuals have adequate opportunity for sleep, they still endure difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Individuals with this behavioural insomnia have conditioned themselves to become tense and anxious at the thought of trying to go to sleep.

Poor sleeping patterns often become a way of life for those suffering from depression, stress, fears or anxiety. They may over-dream, resulting in exhaustion the next day. As a protection mechanism they can establish a pattern of waking before very much dreaming occurs. This problem is called early-morning-waking syndrome.

Enduring disturbed sleep repeatedly creates anxiety in advance about whether or not the person will sleep well. This means the problem can continue even after the initial root cause has disappeared. Poor sleeping patterns impair our ability to react appropriately to situations, and it has dramatically negative effects on a person's physical health. It leaves us feeling tired, anxious and feeling emotionally unstable.

How can hypnotherapy help insomnia?

Solutions such as sleeping pills are not a true solution to your problem. They inhibit deep sleep and REM, reducing the quality of your sleep. The body develops a tolerance to them, necessitating larger doses to maintain the same effect.

• Relearning healthy sleeping patterns of behaviour
• Re-educating your mind to expect to enjoy a good night's sleep