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13th Dec 2015

Antipsychotics and stress cause me to have sleep problems.
When I’m very tired my hearing becomes hypersensitive.
Last time in MH hospital I learned and practised the following technique. Occupational health and a staff nurse helped to develop the idea.
As my hearing is hypersensitive when I'm tired, trying to doze off in silence made every small bump, creak and tap like an explosion in my head, especially at the point of sleep.
So, as our brains phase out background noises that become familiar over time I used the same CD of South American Indian chanting and panpipes music. I listened to it very low for weeks, though I started off with classic fm. Now I use Gregorian chants, panpipes, Catholic masses, classical guitar, flute, Ed Sheeran and Islamic music. Any type of beautiful music (Albatross by Fleetwood Mac is good for this, too, that sort of music).)
After a week or two I hardly heard the music I had become so used to it.
Using a sort of mindfulness technique, I was able to filter out the small noises and focus on the music, using tai chi and yoga relaxation techniques to achieve a state of deep relaxation. When thoughts intruded, I refocussed on the music (on repeat).
I’ve been practising this method for the last 6 months and it works, giving a few hours deep sleep.
The environment should be pleasant – smelling, clean, as quiet as possible, comfortably warm.
Your body should be the same and comfortable.
I find the best place is a firm sofa.
Doing a bit of low impact, gentle exercise first helps prepare for rest. Also a shower and a small meal.
If I wake up I have a small drink of water, kept by my bed, and try again.
Listen to your body and learn when it needs rest – sore eyes, headache, heavy-headedness and all the other indications your body exhibits.
Hints – avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
Do gentle exercise – walking, tai chi, etc
Good posture.
Keep light levels low.
Use natural light as much as possible.
Try to keep a quiet environment, a room if in a noisy household.
Explore crafts (I find crocheting squares let’s my mind rest and acts like a diversion from intrusive thoughts and feelings.)
If you can cope, try to engage with people in a small way daily – a “hello” to someone, a smile, a call to a support phone line like Samaritans, Sane, silverline, etc
Turn off computer an hour before sleep time.
I pray you would all find a little sunshine to walk in, and a little moonlight to sleep in.

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