Sleep Paralysis

Have you ever experienced waking up from being asleep and feeling conscious but completely unable to move or speak.  This may be accompanied by a feeling of sheer terror.  I myself have experienced this and know how disturbing it can feel!  I remembering experiencing it a few times when I was severely sleep deprived after having my first child and my sleep schedule was all over the place.

I thought it would be useful to write about the subject of sleep paralysis as I want to reassure you that although it can be distressing, it is harmless and most people will experience this at some point in their life.

What is Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis is caused by a disruption in the normal sleep cycle. During sleep, the brain goes through several stages, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, the body is normally paralysed to prevent acting out dreams.  However, during sleep paralysis, the person is partially awake and aware while their body is still in this paralysed state.

It can occur usually at one of two times.  If you experience this whist falling asleep, this is called hypnagogic sleep paralysis.  If it happens whilst you are waking up, it is called hypnopompic sleep paralysis.

Factors That Can Be Linked To Sleep Paralysis

Research has indicated that it is not completely clear why we may experience sleep paralysis but it has been linked with the following…
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: Napping in the day for too long, shift work or jet lag.
  • Sleep deprivation: lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can also disrupt the natural sleep cycle and increase the risk of sleep paralysis.
  • Mental health problems such as stress and anxiety.
  • Sleeping on your back.
  • Substance abuse.
  • A family history of sleep paralysis.
  • Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or sleep apnoea.

What Can You Do  About Sleep Paralysis

Most people do not need to treat sleep paralysis however, there are things you can do to help prevent it such as improving your sleep habits and aiming to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  Having a consistent bed time and wake time and engaging in regular exercise can also help.

How Can Hypnotherapy Help With Sleep Paralysis

Hypnotherapy can be helpful in treating sleep paralysis, as it can help address underlying psychological factors that may be contributing to the condition. During hypnotherapy sessions, I can work with you to identify any sources of stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues that may be exacerbating sleep paralysis.

Additionally, hypnotherapy can also be used to help you relax and feel more comfortable before going to bed, which may reduce the likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis. This can include techniques such as guided relaxation, muscle relaxation, visualisation, and helping to get you into a positive mindset.

Individuals who experience frequent or severe sleep paralysis should speak with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

How to Activate the Vagus Nerve

The Vagus nerve is a long, complex nerve that runs from the brainstem down through the neck, chest, and abdomen. It is one of the most important nerves in the body and is responsible for a wide range of functions, including regulating the heart rate, controlling digestion, and promoting relaxation.

It plays a critical role in the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting relaxation and reducing stress. When the Vagus nerve is stimulated, it can help to lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve digestion, reduce anxiety and depression and promote a sense of calm and well-being.

There are lots of things that you can do to activate the Vagus nerve.

Deep breathing: Slow, diaphragmatic breathing can activate the Vagus nerve and promote relaxation. Aim to inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.

Meditation: Practicing meditation or other relaxation techniques, such as yoga or tai chi, can activate the Vagus nerve and promote a sense of calm.

Cold exposure: Exposing yourself to cold temperatures, such as taking a cold shower or jumping into a cold pool, can activate the Vagus nerve.

Singing or humming: Singing or humming can activate the Vagus nerve and help to promote relaxation.

Engage in social bonding activities: The Vagus nerve is activated during social bonding activities like hugging, spending time with loved ones, and engaging in positive social interactions.

Exercise: Regular exercise has been shown to activate the Vagus nerve and improve overall health.

Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy

As a clinical Hypnotherapist, I use Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy, a modern up to date approach which combines neuroscience, psychotherapy and hypnosis.  It is a very effective treatment for stress and anxiety.  Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is different from other therapies in that it is focused on solutions rather than the problem. It does not delve into a persons past, rather it focuses on the present and the future encouraging clients to use their strengths to reach their goals.

Many clients that I see are stuck in a negative -thinking cycle and I help them to make real positive changes in their life. Positive results can be seen in a very short space of time making this type of therapy a lot less costly.

Once I have helped a  client to come up with their own personal solutions they can then enjoy 30 mins of guided relaxation. Clients describe this experience as incredibly relaxing, positive and empowering.

If you would like to find out more how I can help you, please get in touch at or direct on 07795556301 to make an appointment.

Why Alcohol Can Make You Feel More Depressed and Anxious

Have you ever noticed when you have had one too many drinks the night before and you wake up with that horrible feeling of anxiety that washes over you?  There is actually a name for this – “Hangxiety” !!!!!

I have never been a big drinker myself and also being half Vietnamese, I fell into the bracket of people that experience Asian flush.  This is a condition where you develop flushes or blotches on your face and neck.  It is due to a deficiency of a liver enzyme called ALDH2.

Having experienced “hangxiety” on a few occasions, lead me to make the decision to pretty much give up alcohol.   I may have the odd glass on special occasions but those days of going out with friends when I was younger and drinking one too many are now a distant memory!  I figured, it just wasn’t worth that anxious feeling the next morning or the blotchy face for that matter!!!!  This was just a personal decision for me, and I am not suggesting others give up alcohol.  However, it is helpful to understand what happens in our brain when we drink. People that are already prone to suffering with anxiety and depression, are more likely to suffer the negative effects of alcohol.

When we drink alcohol the brain’s reward system is flooded with dopamine.  While it may initially provide a temporary sense of relaxation or euphoria, alcohol can ultimately exacerbate feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression. When alcohol is consumed in large amounts over extended periods of time, dopamine levels start to plummet.   Your brain will be looking to regain that buzz and will overcompensate by encouraging you to drink more to feel better. While drinking alcohol initially boosts dopamine levels, the brain adapts to the dopamine overload, so with continued use, your brain will start to produce less dopamine.

It takes up to 72 hours for alcohol to leave your body and in that time you may experience low mood and anxiety as your brain and body are trying to get back into balance. Therefore, alcohol addiction can create a complex imbalance of dopamine in the brain.

Alcohol can also disrupt normal sleep patterns, which can have a significant impact on mental health. Poor sleep can lead to irritability, anxiety, and depression, as well as fatigue and lack of concentration.

As mentioned earlier, individuals who already struggle with depression or anxiety may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of alcohol on mood and mental health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional and to avoid using alcohol as a way to cope with negative emotions.

Please contact me to find out more how hypnotherapy can help you overcome these issues.



How To Improve Your Self Talk For Better Mental Health

What is Self-talk?

Self-talk refers to the internal dialogue we have with ourselves, which can greatly impact our mental state and overall well-being. If your self-talk is negative or self-critical, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Strategies to help you manage and improve Your Self- Talk

Identify negative self-talk: The first step to improving your self-talk is to identify any negative thoughts or self-critical statements you make to yourself. Start paying attention to your internal dialogue and write down any negative thoughts you notice.

Challenge negative thoughts: Once you’ve identified negative self-talk, challenge those thoughts by questioning their validity. Ask yourself if there is any evidence to support those thoughts or if they are based on assumptions or past experiences.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: After challenging negative thoughts, replace them with positive and empowering ones. For example, instead of saying “I can’t do this,” try saying “I’m capable of figuring this out.”

Use affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements that you can repeat to yourself to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem. Choose affirmations that resonate with you and repeat them to yourself regularly.

Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would treat a friend. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes.

Surround yourself with positive influences: Surround yourself with positive people and messages that reinforce positive self-talk. Limit exposure to negative influences, such as social media or news outlets that can fuel negative self-talk.

Helpful Reminders:

* Thoughts are not facts.
* Recognise when a thought pattern is no longer serving you.
* Do something that you enjoy to distract yourself.
* Remember we can’t control our thoughts, but we can control how much impact they have on us.

Seek Professional Support: If you are still struggling with managing your internal dialogue and it is affecting your mental health seek professional help from a registered therapist.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy:

As a clinical Hypnotherapist, I use Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy which works by helping you to identify and change negative thought patterns and replace them with positive, empowering ones. Hypnotherapy uses trance and deep relaxation techniques to access the subconscious mind and introduce new, positive suggestions.

Through hypnotherapy, you can learn to identify and challenge negative self-talk patterns and replace them with positive affirmations. I guide my clients to focus on their strengths and abilities and to visualise their desired outcome.  I will also ask the right questions that will help you to find solutions that help you to move forward.

If you would like to book an appointment, please contact me on 07795556301.



How To Overcome Morning Anxiety

Waking up with a feeling of anxiety can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience, but please do not worry.  You are not alone.  I myself have experienced this in the past and know first hand how it feels!  Morning anxiety is actually very common and it can affect your daily routine and overall quality of life.  I will explore what morning anxiety is, its potential causes, and give you strategies to manage and overcome it.

What is Morning Anxiety?

Morning anxiety is a type of anxiety that occurs in the morning or upon waking up. It is a feeling of tension, worry, or fear that can be mild or severe. It can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heart, and trembling. Morning anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks and can lead to social, occupational, and academic impairments.

Potential Causes of Morning Anxiety

Biological factors can come into play here.  Did you know that cortisol, a stress hormone is at its highest in the mornings.  It’s job is to motivate you to get out of bed and help you to be more alert and focused.  If however your stress levels are high, your body will be producing higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response.  Our blood sugar levels are also lower in the mornings which can be a trigger for anxiety sufferers.

Strategies To Manage Morning Anxiety

  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Maintain a Consistent Sleep Routine: Maintaining a consistent sleep routine can help improve the quality of sleep and reduce morning anxiety.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol as this can impact the quality of your sleep.
  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation,  can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Practice Positive Self-Talk: Engage in positive self-talk and try to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.
  • Before you go to bed write down 3 good things that have happened that day.  This will help you get into a positive mindset before you drift off to sleep.
  • Make sure you engage in positive activities that make you happy.  This could involve spending time with family and friends, taking up a new hobby, or reading a good book for example.  All these things will give you a lovely boost of serotonin enabling you to feel happier and calmer.

Living with anxiety can feel like an endless cycle of worry. But it doesn’t have to control your life.

If you’re finding that your morning anxiety is becoming unmanageable and negatively impacting your life then the next step would be to seek professional support.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be a valuable treatment option for anxiety. By combining hypnosis with solution-focused brief therapy techniques, it can help individuals to develop practical solutions to their problems and improve their overall well-being.

Contact me to find out more or to book an Initial Consultation where we can discuss how I can help you.