Hypnosis & sleep research


In a 1999 review of hypnosis published in the British Medical Journal it was concluded that hypnosis was proven to be effective for treating insomnia (Vickers & Zollman).

In a review of the hypnosis literature Graci and Hardie (2010) found that:

“Clinical hypnosis is a safe and effective method of treating insomnia”

They also reported that hypnosis has been used successfully to alleviate insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and sleep walking. 

In particular it was reported that:

“Hypnosis and self-hypnosis both offer rapid methods to manage anxiety and worry, facilitating deep relaxation, and controlling mental overactivity and decreasing physiological arousal, which are cardinal symptoms of insomnia”

The references below show the wealth of literature on the subject:



Bauer, K. E. and McCanne, T. R. 1980. A hypnotic technique for treating insomnia. International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 28: 1–5. [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]

Borkovec, T. D. and Fowles, D. C. 1973. Controlled investigation of the effects of progressive and hypnotic relaxation on insomnia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 82: 153–158. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]

Evans, F. J. 1999. Hypnosis and sleep: The control of altered states of awareness. Sleep & Hypnosis, 1: 232–237.

Gerard, K. 2002. A review of hypnosis in the treatment of parasomnias: Nightmare, sleepwalking, and sleep terror disorders. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 30: 99–155.

Graci, G.M. and Hardie, J.C.  (2007). Evidenced-Based Hypnotherapy for the Management of Sleep Disorders. International Journal Of Clinical And Experimental Hypnosis Vol. 55 , Iss. 3,

Graci, G. and Sexton-Radek, K. 2006. “Treating sleep disorders using cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis”. In The clinical use of hypnosis in cognitive behavior therapy: A practitioner's casebook, Edited by: Chapman, R. A. 295–331. New York: Springer.

Hadley, J. 1996. “Sleep”. In Hypnosis for change, 3rd, Edited by: Hadley, J. and Staudacher, C. 203–210. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Hammond, D. C., ed. 1990. Handbook of hypnotic suggestions and metaphors, New York: W. W. Norton.

Kryger, M. H., Roth, T. and Dement, W. C. 2001. Principles and practice of sleep medicine. Depression & Anxiety, 13: 157

Lichstein, K. L. and Morin, C. M., eds. 2000. Treatment of late-life insomnia, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Modlin, T. 2002. Sleep disorders and hypnosis: To cope or cure?. Sleep & Hypnosis, 4: 39–46.

Morin, C. M. and Azrin, N. H. 1988. Behavioral and cognitive treatments of geriatric insomnia. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 56: 748–53. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]

Morin, C. M., Bastien, C. and Savard, J. 2003. “Current status of cognitive-behavior therapy for insomnia: Evidence for treatment effectiveness and feasibility”. In Treating sleep disorders: Principles and practice of behavioral sleep medicine, Edited by: Perlis, M. L. and Lichstein, K. L. 262–285. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Morin, C. M., Culbert, J. P. and Schwartz, S. M. 1994. Nonpharmacological interventions for insomnia: A meta-analysis of treatment efficacy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 151: 1172–1180. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]

Morin, C. M., Mimeault, V. and Gagne, A. 1999. Nonpharmacological treatment of late-life insomnia. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 46: 103–116. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]

Murtagh, D. R. and Greenwood, K. M. 1995. Identifying effective psychological treatments for insomnia: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63: 19–89.

National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Panel. 1996. Integration of Behavioral and Relaxation Approaches into the Treatment of Chronic Pain and Insomnia. Journal of the American Medical Association, 276: 313–318.

Savard, J. and Morin, C. M. 2001. Insomnia in the context of cancer: A review of a neglected problem. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 19: 895–908. [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]

Sharpley, A.L., Attenburrow, M.E.J. & Cowen, P.J(1997) Assessment and treatment of insomnia (including a case control study of patients with Primary Insomnia) International Journal Of Psychiatry In Clinical Practice Vol. 1 , Iss. 2

Spiegel, D. and Spiegel, H. 1990. “Hypnosis techniques with insomnia”. In Handbook of hypnotic suggestions and metaphors, Edited by: Hammond, D. C. 255New York: W. W. Norton.

Stanton, H. 1990. “Visualization for treating insomnia”. In Handbook of hypnotic suggestions and metaphors, Edited by: Hammond, D. C. 254–255. New York: W. W. Norton.

Stanton, H. E. 1999. Hypnotic relaxation and insomnia: A simple solution?. Sleep & Hypnosis, 1: 64–67.

Vickers, A & Zollman, C. (1999). Hypnosis and relaxation therapies. British Medical Journal 1999; 319:1346

Weaver, D. B. and Becker, P. M. Treatment of insomnia with audiotaped hypnosis. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis 38th Annual Scientific Meeting & Workshops. Orlando, FL.

Weitzenhoffer, A. 2000. The practice of hypnotism, New York: John Wiley & Sons.