In this article:

  • If you’re falling asleep during hypnosis sessions, will you miss out on the potential benefits? The unexpected answer may surprise you!
  • What’s the difference between hypnosis and sleeping?
  • How you experience amnesia every single day!

First up, here is one of the most common questions I get from people who are using Self Hypnosis Audio Programs for the first time…

QUESTION: I seem to be falling asleep when I listen to my hypnosis audio program. Will I still benefit from the session?

ANSWER:  If you fall asleep during hypnosis, the subconscious mind does indeed become less receptive to suggestions for change. Therefore, you WOULD lose some of the potential benefits of the session.

HOWEVER, you may not actually be falling asleep! Let me explain.

Four Brainwave Classifications

The electrical activity of the brain CAN be measured by sensitive medical equipment, such as an EEG machine. Brainwaves are measured in pulses per second on what is known as the Hertz frequency scale.

Scientists have measured and classified four generally accepted ranges of brainwave activity that occur as you transition from wakeful alertness all the way down into deep sleep.

  • Beta (Broadly ranging from 12 to 40 HZ) – Normal, wakeful alertness. In this phase you are active, busy, conscious, and focused on your surroundings.
  • Alpha (8-12 HZ) – Feeling present, quiet, and meditative. In this phase, you are in a state of mental and physical relaxation while still being somewhat aware of your surroundings. You are alert, but calm. This is also considered to be light trance state. The alpha state is ideal for learning new information and creative problem solving. Imagine sitting in a study in a comfortable chair with some light music going on in the background as you read a book. That’s the Alpha level.
  • Theta (4-8 HZ) – Strong internal focus coupled with a feeling of being deeply relaxed to the point of drowsiness. It’s a state of being half awake and half asleep, like daydreaming. This is a deep state of trance. In this phase, you have easy access to your creative imagination and vivid mental imagery.
  • Delta (.5 to 4HZ) – Deep, dreamless sleep. In this phase, you are unconscious with very slow brainwave activity.

The activities of learning and personal development are best achieved during the trance states at either the Alpha and Theta levels of brainwave activity.

Rapid transition from Beta to Delta brainwaves.
Rapid transition from Beta to Delta brainwaves.

When you’re in deep sleep at the Delta level, the brain puts a lot of things on hold while it focuses on healing, rest, and recuperation.

Testing for Sleep vs Trance

Imagine you’re listening to a hypnosis program. You gladly drift into a deep state of relaxation and lose track of time. Suddenly, you wake up as the session is ending feeling like you’ve just taken a nap. You might even feel guilty about “sleeping” through the hypnosis session!

The important question is this: At what point did you actually emerge? 

There’s two options here:

  1. Did you emerge coincidentally at the SAME TIME that the hypnosis program was ending?
  2. Did you emerge an hour or two later, way after the completion of the program?

If you find yourself emerging at conclusion of the audio program, then you’re actually emerging from a deep level of trance known in the hypnosis world as somnambulism.

The thing about somnambulism is that you lose conscious recollection. You can actually experience amnesia for what you just listened to during the hypnosis session.

This is common, deep trance phenomena that occurs at the Theta level of brainwave activity.

It’s a very deep level of relaxation, so it FEELS like you’ve been napping. Even though your conscious mind drifted off, your subconscious mind was alert and fully tuned in. In fact, it faithfully followed the suggestions to “emerge” at the end of the hypnosis session.

Not Falling Asleep After All!

If you actually fell asleep, then you’d be completely unconscious and wouldn’t respond to those emerging suggestions at the end of the program. You’d have a nice nap and probably wake up after an hour or two.

Are these college students falling asleep during hypnosis?
Are these college students falling asleep during hypnosis? Nope! They’re in deep trance somnambulism (Theta brainwaves). Despite appearances, they’re still conscious and attentive.

To recap: If you emerge as the hypnosis program is ending, then you did NOT fall asleep during the session. You simply experienced a deep level of trance, and parts of the session are simply not accessible to your conscious memory.

This is not unusual. In fact, it happens quite frequently when using hypnosis audio programs. However, it won’t necessarily happen every time.

You Experience Amnesia Every Day!

Have you ever had the experience of having a vivid dream in your head when you wake up in the morning? After getting out of bed, 30 seconds later you can’t recall what you were dreaming about?!

It’s believed that most people dream 4-6 times every night. How much of that do you remember? Personally, I don’t remember any of my dreams from last night!

You experience amnesia all the time. This is a natural phenomenon because access to your memories fluctuates with the ebb and flow of your brainwave activity as well as your emotional state of mind.

There’s No “Correct” Level of Trance

Achieving a “deep” level of trance is NOT necessary for hypnosis sessions to be productive! Don’t worry about how “deep” you go!

It’s quite natural to achieve different levels of trance every time you have a hypnosis session. Variables that affect your brainwave activity are:

  • How tired you are,
  • Your stress levels,
  • Time of day, and
  • Potential distractions in the surrounding environment.

Hypnosis is Not a “Flatline” Experience

Your level of trance will fluctuate substantially even during the course of a single hypnosis session. If you could graph your level of trance, it would look like a sine wave with peaks and valleys as continued through the hypnosis session.

Trance levels fluctuate. Hypnosis is not a
Trance levels fluctuate. Hypnosis is not a “flatline” experience.

Sometimes you’ll remember the entire session. Sometimes your memory will be spotty. Sometimes you’ll have difficulty remembering any of it except the beginning.

It doesn’t matter! You’re still getting the full benefits of listening to the program.

The Power of Conditioning

If you listen to self hypnosis audio recordings, I think that’s great! Listening to hypnosis programs is a commitment to conditioning your mind, just like regular exercise is a commitment to conditioning your body.

After all, do you think it’s possible to go to the gym one time and be “done” with exercise for the rest of your life?

Of course not!

It takes a regular and consistent amount physical activity just to MAINTAIN your health and well being. You’re never done.

If you don’t do enough, your quality of life eventually will suffer. It’s like regular maintenance for your car.

Conditioning Your Mind

Your mind is like a garden that needs to be cultivated. What happens if you don’t spend any time maintaining a garden?

You get weeds! Weeds require no cultivation because they’ll grow on their own.

In the garden of your subconscious mind, it turns out that weeds are manifesting themselves in the form of self doubt, apathy, and negative belief systems.

To cultivate your mind, you need to pursue daily habits that keep you learning and growing and focused on things that matter.

Sometimes people say they don’t have any spare time for personal development. That’s a dangerous belief system that you can change right now.

Here’s a strategy: Put your television into storage for the next 30 days and stop using Facebook. You’ll suddenly realize that you’ve got plenty of time for personal development:

  • Work on your goals and take action on your dreams.
  • Read books that inspire, teach, and motivate.
  • Take challenging courses that allow you to learn and grow.
  • Listen to podcasts or audio books. You could complete several audio books a month just by listening during your commute to work.

Of course, taking a break from your busy day for a 20-30 minute hypnosis session is an energizing way to focus on your personal development. Make that a daily ritual, and you’ll experience wonderful benefits. Try it and see for yourself!

Here’s the link to learn about the Self Hypnosis Audio Programs that I’ve personally developed for my clients.

9 comments on “Falling Asleep During Hypnosis? Can You Still Benefit?

  1. Hi. Thanks for the explanation. I have enjoyed occasionally listening to audio guided hypnosis recordings for a few months and overall feel some benefit from them. However, I do find that I fall asleep, sometimes waking up a little while before the end of the recording, and don’t remember anything that’s been said. Somehow though, they do bring me some peace and a good reason to retreat for some quiet time.

  2. If you dream during hypnosis then probably you were sleeping? I listen to an audible version for weight loss and it will keep playing some are 4 hours long and some times i wake up as a session is ending but some times its plays all the way through but i rember dreaming but hearing it the hypnosis back ground. Or dreaming that i hear it.

  3. Very informative and enlightening article. I’ve had this same experience when using self hypnosis programs, so this explains a lot. Keep up the good work!

  4. Thank you for this informative explanation. I noticed that I ‘fall asleep’ but I seem to be semi conscious (which is the best way I can describe it) of my surroundings when I listen to hypnosis tapes. And I do just as you say…’wake up’ just a bit prior to the tape being finished. I use a particular tape to help me in memorizing my lines for plays and to assist me in lowering my ‘stage fright’.

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