An exhausted mum-of-two has overcome insomnia after surviving on one hour of sleep every night for six years.
Forget forty winks, heavy-eyed Blaire Leahy could barely manage four winks.

The 31-year-old's sleep started suffering when she fell pregnant with her first child and anxiety kept her up at night.

Blaire from Coventry soon had a second baby, and when both were suffering with colic, she was reduced to cat naps throughout the day.

After a further four years of taking sleeping tablets to try and encourage an improved sleeping pattern, she turned to hypnotherapy.
Following just one two-hour session, the care worker is now enjoying her first good night's sleep for over six years.

'Insomnia is torture'

Blaire said: "It was torture. For almost six years, I walked around like a zombie.

"There are parts of those times when I do not remember going to sleep at all - the best I can remember is sneaking cat naps here and there.

"At most I was getting a total of one hour's sleep per day."

Blaire's sleeping problems started when she became pregnant with her first daughter, Orla-Rita Young, now five, in 2009.

'My mind would start whirling when I got into bed'

Then aged 25, she was nervous about becoming a mum for the first time and anxiety kept her awake.

She said: "I would get into bed absolutely shattered, but as soon as my head hit the pillow my mind would start whirling.

"I was so worried, I would just lie there and play all of these different scenarios out until the nth degree.

"It would never end well so I would work myself up and make myself worse.

"It was a vicious circle.

"The next thing I'd know, the alarm was going off and I'd barely dozed off at all."

Insomnia mum

After a traumatic birth with first daughter Orla-Rita, Blaire was left with PTSD which developed into full blown insomnia.

Shortly after, Blaire fell pregnant with her second daughter Loen Keegan Young, now four.

Even after Loen Keegan's birth, her sleep problems persisted, exacerbated by the fact both of her children had severe colic.

Blaire said: "They were in so much discomfort they would cry for hours.

"One would cry from 7pm until 11pm, and then the other would start from 12pm until 4am.

"There was no break."

Sleeping tablets offered little relief

Even with the help of sleeping tablets, Blaire's quality of kip barely improved.

As Blaire's energy levels plummeted throughout the day, and without the possibility of sneaking a quick nap as a new mum, Blaire turned to other sources for an extra spark.

She said: "During that time I drank a lot of Lucozade and tea to keep me going.

"If I was flaking at any point I'd just scoff some chocolate for some sugar.

"The kids' dad would make sure I ate healthy meals to make sure I could breast feed the kids.

"As a mum you just have to keep on going and that was my way of doing it.

"There were times when I'd just burst into tears and think 'I can't cope anymore'.

Signed off work for anxiety and depression 

"Just from the sheer exhaustion I was signed off work for 5 months for anxiety and depression.

"Fortunately, I had the support of my family and friends to pick me up and pull me through."

Just as she was reaching her wits end, Blaire's friends suggested that she try hypnotherapy.

She contacted hypnotherapist David Kilmurry, who uses a combination of Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Neurological Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help his patients.

After just one two-hour session at the start of June, her sleeping pattern returned.

Blaire said: "That night, as soon as I put my head on the pillow and conked out.

"The first thing I knew was my alarm going.

"I just thought to myself 'oh my god, that's the first proper night's sleep I've had for almost six years'.

"It's been that way ever since.

'I'm a changed woman'

"I feel like a completely changed woman. I've got so much energy I can't sit still.

"I go boxing three times a week and even that's not enough.

"It feels like I'm making up for the last six years.

"I'm just so grateful to be able to enjoy my time with the kids.

"I feel like they've got their mum back.

'Hynotherapy is incredible' 

"Hypnotherapy is something I would never have thought of, but it's incredible.

"I just want other people to know there is another opinion out there."

David Kilmurry, a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist from Coventry, said: "Blaire booked in to the practice withdrawn and desperate for sleep.

"She had anxiety induced insomnia and an issue with sleeping tablets.

"CBT is recognised by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as viable intervention in assisting sleep in insomniacs.

"Coupled with the clinical hypnosis, which I make very deep, the results are always good.

"Most people with insomnia are frustrated and angry and use negative dialogue.

"NLP is used in the session to help the patient become aware of the little voice telling them 'I won't be able to sleep again'.

"I then encourage them to take charge of this, which can do wonders for a confident rest.

"I am honoured to have helped her to achieve sound sleep.

"I wish her and her family a happier time now mum's awake and asleep when she should be."

Photo credit: Caters News