The Cadogan, left, and sleep concierge Malminder
Startled by my own answer, I'm distracted and start to stir.
Once the visualisation is over, I confess that I'd seen myself as
the obstructing leaf and Gill is quick to soothe. "Don't worry, a
lot of people end up seeing themselves. We're often our own worst
Switching the bedside lamp on, she gently begins to ask about
stress levels. "Yes, they are quite high," I mumble. Noting the
link between stress and a lack of sleep, Gill suggests this might
be why I find it hard to turn off my thoughts: "the link between
stress and poor sleep is a vicious cycle. Lack of sleep increases
stress. Stress releases cortisol and adrenaline, which in turn can
make it hard to relax and fall asleep."
So how can hypnotherapy help? In lots of ways, apparently. Aside
from generating a profoundly relaxed state, Gill suggests that her
methods can help people identify underlying issues that might be
feeding into heightened stress levels. She's also able to provide
coping methods such as breathing exercises that can alter negative
thought patterns before bed.
Over the next hour, Gill goes on to ask about my menstrual
cycle, diet and general day-to-day routine, offering nuggets of
advice and suggesting small changes that could all contribute to
better shut-eye, from building a sleep schedule that works in
harmony with my monthly cycle, to sequencing meals in order to aid
digestion. This holistic approach, coupled with her meditative
energy, leaves me feeling seen in ways I hadn't expected. By the
end of our session I've got a new sense of clarity - not just on my
relationship with sleep, but on my relationship with myself, too.
That night, imbued with renewed confidence in my ability to switch
off, I charge theatrically into bed and sleep like a baby. And
there's no sleep-tracking gadget in sight.
Lights out: three ways to get a better night's sleep