"It opens up new, promising opportunities for improving the quality of sleep without drugs," said a biopsychologist from University of Zurich in Switzerland.

The study involved 70 healthy young women who came to the sleep laboratory for a 90-minute mid-day nap. Before falling asleep, they listened to a special 13-minute slow-wave sleep hypnosis tape over loudspeakers, developed by hypnotherapist Angelika Schlarb, a sleep specialist, or to a neutral spoken text.

Highly suggestible women experienced 80 percent more slow-wave sleep after listening to the hypnosis tape compared with sleep after listening to the neutral text.

For older adults and patients with sleeping problems, the results could come as a sigh of relief as in contrast to many sleep-inducing drugs, hypnosis hardly has any adverse side effects.

The study appeared in the journal Sleep.

(Agencies)

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