1 Better General tips YY Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine for six hours before bedtime. Sleep YY Street drugs and some prescription drugs may also interfere with sleep, so ask your pharmacist for advice. for YY Large meals and strenuous exercise in the evening may also keep you awake. Voice YY Make sure your bedroom is a calm, quiet place to sleep, that your bed and bedding are comfortable, that Hearers the temperature and light levels suit you, that you have enough fresh air, and that your curtains are thick enough to keep out early morning light. Many voice hearers YY Only use your bedroom for sleep report problems sleeping. and don't go to bed unless you are Poor sleep can mean not being able tired. to fall asleep in the first place, waking YY Exercise during the day can help during the night, waking up too early with sleep. or not feeling refreshed on waking. YY Try to keep to a regular routine, It is common for voice hearers to relaxing and winding down, going report that their Voices are worse at to bed and getting up at the same night, and that the night time means time each day.
2 They cannot use their usual coping strategies such as going for a walk. YY Some people find relaxation People are also often alone at night, techniques useful, for example lacking distraction, and in trying to deep breathing or progressive unwind for the night, their lack of muscle relaxation. occupation may bring on their Voices . YY Don't try and force yourself to sleep; that will only make you more Particular problems for voice anxious hearers might be Voices or visions or other sensations preventing YY Importantly, no matter how tired them from falling asleep, or Voices you are, don't sleep during the day. waking them from their sleep YY Have a regular routine, for example during the night. having a bubble bath and a soothing non-caffeinated drink example, praying, tarot/angel/. before bed every day. guidance cards, dream catchers, crystals and stones and readings to YY Some people use calming, clear their mind ready for sleep. comforting fragrances such as lavender, for example, spraying YY Some people are able to make them on their pillow.
3 Agreements with their Voices , for example, I will listen to you for 30. Tip: Go to sleep only when you're minutes, after that please be quiet feeling tired. and let me sleep . YY Food and drink may be useful, for YY Other people are able to call on example a banana and a glass of good Voices that can calm and milk, or warm milk with teaspoon of reassure them. honey. YY Some people find visualising a YY Having a comfortable bedroom relaxing scene or concentrating environment is important, make on pleasant memories helpful and sure you're well supported by calming. pillows; some people find a heavy duvet or cuddly toy comforting. YY Another idea is doing some sort of relaxing art doodling or colouring YY Some people find a large bowl in can be soothing and are very of pasta helpful; while others find effective distractions. eating keeps them awake. YY Some people find herbal tea General relaxation techniques can helpful, for example, chamomile. be very useful, for example using grounding techniques such as YY Other people find herbal remedies, the 5,4,3,2,1 technique where you sedating antihistamine or concentrate on 5 things you can prescribed sleeping medicines see; 4 things you can hear; 3.
4 Useful. You should be aware that things you are touching; 2 things some of these are habit forming you can smell; and 1 thing you can and may not be useful in the long taste. term. YY Other techniques include the The Internet can be a huge resource body scan' where you tense then of information and support for sleep release every part of your body, difficulties. If you have Internet access systematically working up from the you might be interested in forums feet; some people find counting where you can talk to other people their breaths helpful. in similar situations, for example, the English Hearing Voices Network have YY Some people can use their spiritual their own forum: beliefs to help them relax, for com What to do if Voices techniques, for example, imagining a protective force-field to fend off disturb your sleep unwanted visions. Some voice hearers find that listening calming Voices on audiobooks, listening the radio or watching TV with the sound turned down low allows them to avoid concentrating on their Voices , providing welcome distraction.
5 Try to avoid stimulating programmes What to do if sensations that require concentration. Particularly useful are devices with time switches disturb your sleep that will turn them off after a set period Sometimes sensations such as feeling of time to prevent it disturbing sleep insects crawling, pain, or feeling their later in the night. limbs change shape disturbs people's sleep. Solutions might include Some voice hearers find listening to switching the light on so you can see white noise ( the sound created the affected area, or massaging the by a fan) allows them to block out affected area gently. their Voices . On the other hand, some people find ear plugs to be more What to do if you get helpful for blocking out their Voices . woken up in the night If you find yourself lying in bed and If you have trouble getting to sleep or listening to your Voices in an unhelpful get woken in the night, some people way, sometimes getting up and find it helpful to use a repeated going into another room and finding phrase (sometimes called a mantra).
6 Something calming to do such as for example, repeating calm and watching TV, reading, or listening to relaxed over and over again. Other the radio. This can be enough to people recite poems or prayers to distract them and allow them to sleep. What to do if visions disturb your sleep For some people, having a written note by their bed with calming and Some people who see visions find reassuring messages to themselves, sleeping with the light on dimly helps. for example, this experience is You could also try using night lights, transitory and will pass to read if they lava lamps, fairy lights, glow in the can't sleep or wake in the night. dark stars or fibre optic lamps. Conversely, other people find eye Some people find writing down shades to be a useful method what they are experiencing useful. for managing their visions. Some Sometimes a worry box might help people are able to use visualisation write down your worries and post them in the box to deal with in the thoughts as clouds passing in morning.
7 Sometimes getting out of the sky. Watch them travel past, bed and doing something calming, like without reacting to them emotionally, drinking warm milk, listening to the remaining mentally detached. radio, reading something relaxing or watching television for a while might What to do if you have be more helpful than lying in bed nightmares awake. Nightmares are normal after trauma. Having nightmares can be the brain's way of attempting to make sense of a horrific situation. The situation is not hopeless. Some people believe you can influence your dreams by planning your behaviour in them and changing how you act in them. Some people find it helpful to repeat a Use your imagination to have Better reassuring phrase, for example I am dreams. Seek help in your dream, aware of this thought. I'm not going to maybe find shelter or ask other dream let it upset me, or make me anxious characters for help, offer help to those and worried. This thought will pass . characters in trouble.
8 As you take action in your nightmares you will be What to do if you have helping yourself gather resources intrusive thoughts for coping in the waking world. (From: Guidelines for Coping with Everyone experiences intrusive Nightmares After Trauma, Patricia thoughts that come and go all Garfield). day. However, these feelings can feel particularly intense at night Sometimes you just need to when you're trying to get to sleep. accept that you can't sleep. Mindfulness techniques can be very Becoming anxious and stressed useful in coping with such thoughts. about it will just make it worse. One technique is to visualize the For more information: Voices and visions: or In a crisis call: NHS direct: 0845 46 47 ( ) or the Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 ( ). Produced by: Ruth Lambley and members of the York Hearing Voices Group September 2012. Design by Rachel Waddingham. Images: Asherah-Seren , Alessia-Izzo