Live discussion with Dr Adrienne Heinz - 30th January 2019

Dr Heinz will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 30th January, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm BT or 3:00pm to 4:30pm US ET.

She will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half and, as always, you are welcome to ask any questions at all about sleep or the Sleepio program. If there are a lot of questions, she may not be able to answer all in the time available, but will try to answer as many as she can.

Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Heinz will not be able to give personal medical advice including those about medication. Her replies to questions will be made in such a way as to help as many people as possible who might have similar issues.

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Posted 24 Jan 2019 at 11:30 AM
  • 18 comments
  • 2 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    Hello,
    Over the last 5 years I have not had a single whole nights sleep. My sleep is interupted a few times in the night (for family reasons) and I get maybe around 3 to 4 hours of interrupted sleep, in hourly intervals.
    I work full time and can't help but feel exhausted often, as well as starting to forget things.

    I'm starting to worry a little, and I've heard some rumors that lack of sleep can kill you, although that does sound a bit extreme! Before I start believing the hype, can one of the doctors answer with scientific evidence whether or not lack of sleep can actually be a cause of death?

    Many thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    I have been sleeping very good.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 12 helped
    Graduate

    Hi. I find myself waking early every morning. Sometimes my mind is alert immediately mulling over things I need to do. Other times my dreams morph into thoughts of a trivial nature. Often I need to pee. Usually this is 5-6 hours after going to bed and falling asleep quickly. I will probably wake one or twice to pee and get back to sleep fairly easily.

    Varying my bedtime seems to make little difference. I often feel overwhelmingly sleepy on the sofa from 8.30-9.30pm.

    I have been referred to a sleep clinic in the past and was sent for CBT. The problem with this is that I cannot stay awake in order to do sleep restriction properly. I think the imperative to get up after 15 min wakefulness reinforces my early waking.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Is catnapping during the day a good idea, or should one try to stay awake until bed time?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 306 comments
    • 144 helped
    Graduate

    This may sound like an odd question, but I’ve read a few articles recently that suggest taking a teaspoon of raw honey at bedtime to help insomnia, especially early morning awakenings. Is there anything to this or is it just another fad?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, I'm a graduate who has came back to sleepio following a real decline in my sleep. I've noticed this time however, that while doing sleep restriction that my appetite has greatly increased and I'm starting to put on weight! I feel like I'm eating so much more than I have ever done – is this normal?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    Graduate

    Greetings everyone! This is Dr. Adrienne Heinz here. I'm a clinical and research psychologist and I look forward to answering your questions over the next 90 minutes.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    It sounds like your sleep struggles have been very difficult. To answer you question, we know from animal research that extreme sleep deprivation can cause death and that humans do need to sleep in order to survive. However, lack of sleep is not the cause of death but rather it is the impact of lack of sleep on our health. There are a number of published longitudinal studies (that follow participants over time) that demonstrate that lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of mortality. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/30/10/1245/2696836

    If you are getting up at night for children, consider checking out resources on sleep and parenting here. https://www.sleepio.com/articles/parent-sleep/

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Terrific!!! Hope the progress continues for you and don't hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    These sleep struggles you describe can be extremely frustrating. Grappling with a racing mind can keep us up at night and I encourage you to explore the Sleepio resources for addressing this issue during nighttime wakings.

    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/racing-mind/

    The sleep restriction component of the program is by far the most challenging. In your most vulnerable windows for feeling sleepy, it can be helpful to schedule tasks around the home that require physical movement, call a friend or family member, or read a book. Passive activities such as watching TV may further induce sleepiness.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Great question! This depends. If you are actively using sleep restriction it is recommending to avoid napping so that one can increase sleep pressure and have less fragmented nighttime sleep. If you are not using sleep restriction and your night-time sleep quality has improved to an acceptable level, there is some evidence that a short 15-20 minute nap can have positive benefits.

    Short naps lasting between 10 and 20 minutes are associated with improved short-term memory, alertness, reaction times and reduced sleepiness which last for a number of hours without any drowsiness upon waking (Milner & Cote., 2009). In contrast, naps beyond 30 minutes are associated with increased grogginess or drowsiness (sleep inertia) upon waking up due to greater slow wave sleep (deep sleep) (Brooks & Lack., 2006). Despite these benefits, daytime napping may cause difficulties sleeping at night, especially if naps are long or take place later in the day closer to our usual bedtime. Long naps reduce our sleep drive, meaning you might be less sleepy when it’s time for bed and it could take longer to fall asleep, exacerbating sleep difficulties (Ye et al., 2015).

    You can learn more here about good daytime sleep practices
    https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/what-should-i-be-doing-during-the-day-to-promote-h/

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Some popularized health figures have made claims that honey helps with sleep because it raises insulin levels and as such, triggers the release of an amino acid called tryptophan which is associated with increased sleepiness. There was a 2007 study that found honey was better compared to no treatment for adolescents with upper respiratory infections that including coughing symptoms. I am not aware of published studies looking at the effectiveness of honey as sleep aid in adults with insomnia. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/571638

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Sleep regressions can be frustrating indeed! We know from the research literature that sleep deprivation is associated with increased release of hunger hormones and appetite. In addition, lack of sleep is associated with increased risk for obesity. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/31/5/619/2454190
    During your sleep restriction windows, it might be helpful to monitor cravings and food intake more closely. Increased levels of hunger hormones might trigger the desire to snack or overeat when not really hungry.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 139 comments
    • 25 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks everyone for your questions! We look forward to hearing from you at future live expert sessions. Take good care and sleep well!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many thanks. I've just started last night on SR so I will endeavour not to nap until this has improved my sleep. However I do like the idea that, once sleeping better, that short naps can improve memory and alertness!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 12 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks. I shall try some of those things though reading can be as soporific as tv. Fortunately I’m not troubled by negative thoughts about sleep itself. Indeed I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the sleepiness in the evenings.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Thank you for the first part of your answer, although I am not sure how much I can trust it, based on how wrong the advise on the second part is.

    In reference to this advice: https://www.sleepio.com/articles/parent-sleep/early-sleep-training-learning-to-go-solo/
    This is cruel and flawed. It is also outdated. The most recent research shows that babies don't self-soothe. They give up.
    Read this: https://www.laleche.org.uk/letting-babies-cry-facts-behind-studies/
    Excerpt: “While babies may indeed stop crying if left unattended long enough, they are not learning to self-soothe, they are simply giving up on the hope that comfort will come.”

    In reference to this advice: https://www.sleepio.com/articles/parent-sleep/managing-your-sleep-as-a-parent-common-questions/
    and particularly the question about feeding during the night. Your advice assumes the child is given a bottle (!!!) and that after a certain age they don't need to feed at night. This is also flawed advice as the norm for young children is (or should be) to breastfeed and also breastfed children do need to feed overnight as this stimulates production.

    You have provided me with incorrect and potentially dangerous advice for my child. No wonder you have a disclaimer saying it is not medical advice! Damn right it isn't!

    I would also like to add that childern who wake at night for a feed don't have a “sleep problem”. And as soon as they wean off breastfeeding overall, they sleep through the night.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Also: https://womenshealthtoday.blog/2017/03/09/controlled-crying-and-long-term-harm/

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