On Sleep

You are getting sleepy, veeeery sleepy…

Hypnosis has injected a fair amount of cliches and turns of phrase into our pop culture. As corny as some of them may be, I’m interested in the realm of hypnosis as it relates to sleep.

After my first experience under trance, I slept (I tell the story in more detail in tonight’s Patreon post).  I do not nap, my dear puppets. It’s a surefire way for me to accidentally sleep for 6 hours and wake up delirious and frothing at the mouth.

The trance itself was a bit cathartic, and even though I just sat there I was extremely drained afterward. I fell asleep somewhat against my will. Then, I took a perfectly restorative 20-minute nap.

Here’s my (bullshit, woo-woo) theory:

  1. I was convinced I had a lot to do and needed to do it all as quickly as possible
  2. This was, of course, exhausting
  3. I was trying to deny the exhaustion so I could keep doing things
  4. The trance lessened my inhibition, tension, and internal chatter (including whatever I was telling myself to keep pushing)
  5. In that hard-won quiet moment, my subconscious decided to shoot its shot and yell at me to rest.

My favorite post-trance effects are the unexpected ones. My presence in your dreams. A strange, persistent thought through the workday. A much-needed nap.

I tend to prefer walking someone “down” after a trance — counting down deeper and suggesting a rest. It gives the ideas time to percolate, and lets you shake off the head-fuzz at a less abrupt pace. It isn’t always practical, unfortunately.

We use the language of sleep all the time in trance. We know damn well we’re awake, but also … not really? They’re closely related, at least. And that closeness, I think, warrants more neuroscientific study.

This study of shamanic practitioners showed decreased auditory processing while the subjects listened to repetitive drumming. The induction — drums — allowed the subjects to disengage from the outside environment while the pathways that control internally directed thought showed increased connectivity.

Harnessed, intentional trance can be powerful. This isn’t new information — it goes back beyond written history. Personally, I see it as a feature of our consciousness, rather than a leftover bug from some superstitious past.

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