Sleep technique…Self Hypnosis self help


Dr Natheera’s sleep technique

Dr Natheera Indrasenan was a guest on the Late Show a few weeks ago and her self-hypnosis technique to aid a good night’s sleep has proved so popular that we have decided to publish this page to help all you insomniacs out there!

This self hypnosis technique was taught to me by Paul McKenna during Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) training and is originally by Betty Erickson, wife of the great hypnotist Dr. Milton H. Erickson.


I like this technique  because you are in control and it results in a much lighter trance than you would get from professional hypnosis, so that you can easily wake from it if you need to. It is simple to use in bed to induce sleep, but to this end, only use this technique in bed and never when you have to be alert for driving, operating heavy machinery etc.

How it works:

Hypnosis is communication with our subconscious mind. Your conscious mind is the thinking, judging, evaluating mind. Your subconscious mind is more like a computer which does as you say as long as you communicate with it in the language it understands; pictures, sounds, feelings. Some of my patients find they are busy all day and tired, get to bed and then wake up. This is because the conscious, thinking mind now has the opportunity to mull over all their worries which keeps them awake. As they think to themselves “I cant sleep”, imagine themselves staying up all night, feeling stressed, their subconscious mind (understanding the images and feelings) ensures they get what they want!   It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So this technique is to confuse the conscious mind and stop it thinking, (a bit like when you read a book to induce sleep, you are no longer worrying about personal stuff). In addition, we are communicating with the subconscious mind (SCM) to induce a restful sleep. So note if you find yourself thinking during the process “is this working? or “I am still awake?”;  that’s your conscious mind trying to keep you awake.  So repeat the process. I find I rarely get to the end of the process before I’m asleep!

I suggest you read it through first and then have a go!

Step One:

State your intention: For example “I am going to enter a restful deep sleep and wake up at 8am, feeling refreshed and energised.”

Step Two:

Relax back and focus your eyes on a point on the ceiling, maybe a light attachment or a mark. Keep your eyes fixed, yet relaxed on this point.

Step Three:

With your eyes fixed above you, become aware in your peripheral vision; sights, sounds and sensations (in this order):

5 sights, 5 sounds, 5 feelings / sensations

So you may say to yourself…
(5 sights) “I am aware of the door to my right.  I am aware of the window to the left.  I am aware of the mirror on the wall. I am aware of the picture on the table. I am aware of the book to the side.”

Each time, move your awareness to these things as you keep your eyes fixed on the ceiling.

Then 5 sounds:
“I am aware of the sound of the traffic outside. I aware of the sound of the radiator.  I am aware of the sound of voices outside.  I am aware of the sound of my breathing.  I am aware of the sound of a cat outside.”

Then 5 sensations, still eyes fixed on ceiling:
“I am aware of the feel of the duvet on my chin. I am aware of the feel of my feet on the bed sheet.  I am aware of the warmth of my hand on my tummy. I am aware of my head against the pillow.  I am aware of my back against the bed.”

Then start again with sights, this time thinking of four instead of five.  So: 4 sights, 4 sounds, 4 feelings

Step Four:

Now close your eyes and lets go internal. That means; picture a relaxing time or fantasise a relaxing picture and notice:

3 sights, 3 sounds, 3 feelings.

“I am aware of the blue of the sky above me.  I am aware of the bird flying by.  I am aware of the leaves above me”

“I am aware of the sound of  the rustling leaves.  I am aware of the sound of the breeze.  I aware of the sound of the dog barking in the distance.”

“I am aware of the feel of the sun on my face.  I am aware of the grass under my feet.  I am aware of the cool breeze on me.”

Then 2 sights, 2 sounds, 2 feelings.

And then 1 sight, 1 sound, 1 feeling.

Very likely by now you will be deeply relaxed if not asleep already.  (Note: if your thinking mind has been interrupting you, just start again and you will start to relax deeply)

By Dr Natheera Indrasenan, GP