People often ask the question is it ok to fall asleep during hypnosis and the answer is a little more complex than you might first think. While it’s true that actually falling asleep during a hypnosis session would mean that your subconscious mind is switched off so to speak. That means that it is less receptive to suggestions. However, the truth is that most people only think that they fell asleep, when in fact they weren’t asleep at all.
Let me explain:
A lot of people find themselves in this predicament when they have been using self-hypnosis downloads, possibly from youtube. What happens is that they put on the video or audio, and then while listening to it they fall asleep. Then they wake up at the end of the session and think that they have wasted their time. Well if that’s the case with you I have some good news for you and this is where it gets interesting.
By using a sensitive brainwave measuring device such as an EEG machine scientists can monitor what stage of sleep a person is in. By using what is termed the Hertz Frequency Scale scientists are able to measure the frequency of a person’s brainwave activity. Now as a person moves from a state of being fully awake and fully alert and begins to descend into a deep sleep they pass through four different and quite distinct stages.
Let’s have a look at them:
The very first stage of brainwave activity as measured by an EEG is called the Beta Range (12 – 40Hz). At the beta stage, a person is fully awake and fully alert. They are fully aware of their surroundings as in normal everyday life when you are busy and fully active. You would be fully focused when you are at the beta range.
The next level down from the beta range is the Alpha range ( 8 – 12Hz). At this range, things are starting to change a bit. In that stage, a person would be in a state of both physical as well as mental relaxation. You would still be alert but you would be calm and relaxed. This is however considered to be a very early stage of trance. It is a very good state for taking in information and absorbing it fully. The brain is very receptive when it is in this alpha state. This is the state you might be in if you were lounging in a nice armchair reading a book with possibly some soft music in the background.
As we descend closer towards sleep out minds and our brainwaves slow down further and we enter the Theta Range (4 – 8Hz). In this range, a person is in a deep sense of relaxation and even drowsy. Here your focus is no longer on the external environment. In the theta range, your focus is inward, you are no longer aware of your external environment. It is like a midway point between being awake and being asleep. It is comparable to daydreaming when you feel you are “miles away”. This is a trance and is it a deeper state than previously mentioned.
Heading deeper towards sleep we have the final phase which is the Delta Range (.5-4Hz). This is deep sleep and it is also dreamless. In this phase, your brainwave activity is very slow and you are in an unconscious state. In this state, the brain is repairing and maintaining your body. The Delta phase is all about rest and recuperation.
The very best states at which our subconscious minds are receptive to suggestion are the Alpha and Theta states. But presumably you don’t have access to scientists or an EEG so how can you tell what state you were in during your hypnosis. Well, don’t worry I’m going to show you a very simple way to find out.
So imagine that you’re lying on your couch or your bed at home listening to your favorite hypnotherapy app. And you gradually slip off into this deep state of relaxation. Then of course at some point, you’re going to wake up. Probably feeling a bit groggy and the first thing we all do is check the time to see how long we’ve been asleep for. And here is the crux of it all. If you slept for an hour or two after the hypnosis session had ended well then you were indeed in a deep sleep. In a delta phase sleep and your subconscious mind would not have been receptive to the suggestions.
Most of the time when you wake up you will find that you woke just as the session was coming to an end anyway. And the reason for this is that you were prompted by the self-hypnosis recording to wake at that time. So the important point to remember is at what time did you wake up? If it’s an hour after the hypnosis session well then yes you were in a deep sleep. But if you woke at the end of the recording, then your session went right as planned, so no need to feel guilty.