Live Discussion with Dr Bryony Sheaves - 14th January

Dr Sheaves will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 14th January, 7:00-8:30pm (GMT).

Dr Sheaves is a Research Clinical Psychologist working within the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford. Her work focuses on the association between sleep and mental health difficulties, particularly symptoms of psychosis.

She will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half, starting with the most popular questions with answers being given in a way to give the most benefit to the general Community.

To keep up with new comments as they are posted you will need to ‘refresh’ this discussion page.

To do this:

+ On PC hit ‘Ctrl’ and ‘R’ or the ‘F5’ key
+ On Mac hit ‘Command’ or ‘Apple’ and ‘R’

Posted 8 Jan 2015 at 11:19 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi FredHK,

    That does indeed sound frustrating! What do you think it is that is associated with work that makes the difference? Is it work thoughts popping up? Not feeling as relaxed in your body?

    It might be worth thinking back through some of the other strategies from the course and consider what would be helpful. E.g. relaxation / a thorough wind down to help switch off. Practical things like setting a couple of alarms (if there are concerns about waking earlier up for work).

    Well done on your improvements so far. It can take patience and perseverance before you see the pay back with better sleep so it's great to hear things are moving in the right direction.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi eubster,

    Was there anything in particular that you are interested in in terms of physiological changes?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am now thanks. It's my first time, though I graduated some weeks ago. How to keep to the good sleep habits learned through Sleepio is my main goal now, and your replies are very helpful for this.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Kirke,

    It's quite tricky to make individual predictions but I can tell you stats from people who work through cognitive behavioural treatments for insomnia in general. Around 70-80% will respond to treatment techniques (as used in sleepio) and around 40% achieve what we call clinical remission, ie. the problem has completely gone.

    I notice you are on session 4 – do keep going. It sounds like you had some very obvious stressors which can often lead to sleep difficulties. Following this we can develop patterns of thinking and behaviour which keep the problem going. This is what the course tackles to get you back on track, and they are tools for life so should lead to long term improvements.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hello Dr Sheaves,
    Many thanks, that's incredibly helpful. I'll give it a go tonight. If I do need to read, I'll read before I get into bed.
    Your response is much appreciated.
    TB

  • Sleepio Member

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    I'm really pleased it's been useful Kaban and congrats on graduating!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Dartmouth,

    I'm not a medical doctor (I'm a doctor of clinical psychology) so for these sorts of questions I usually recommend following your prescriber. However they have said it's up to you…

    The only thing you might want to look into (from a sleep perspective) is any sleep side effects. Some anti-depressants can cause drowsiness, or impact on nightmares. Though I'm not sure whether the time of day would impact on these. Sorry I can't be more help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Kirke,

    The sleep restriction element of the course can slightly decrease your total sleep time in the short term and this can be tricky, However, it is a proven technique for helping with sleep in the long term. The idea is that you sleep pressure is higher so you are more likely to fall asleep when you go to bed. It's re-establishing a good pattern. You will increase your sleep window as your sleep efficiency improves.

    It's easy to focus on the amount of hours of sleep we have. However, when your working through the course it might be more helpful o focus on the fact that you are doing just the right thing to improve your sleep, you're working hard at it and so you should move towards better sleep.

    The question about naps:
    It will be more helpful for your sleep at night if you can manage to avoid napping at the moment (unless you feel dangerously tired). The rationale is the same as above, your sleep pressure will be higher. So the difficulty napping might be helpful to get your sleep back on track!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi lew

    Yes pin your wake time and then the bed time. If you are still feeling unwell you might want to move gradually back to your SR window over a few nights.

    In terms of the course, you have access to the forums, the library and can refresh on some of the content through the library. Many people also find it helpful to continue using the sleep diary to monitor progress and set the sleep window.

    Hope that's helpful and good luck with the rest of the course.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Dear Gigi1,

    Well done on the improved sleep! Yes, if you are happy with your sleep efficiency it does sounds like you can be a little more flexible. Try it out and see how it goes. You will always have the tools up your sleeve that you can put back in place.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I can relate to this. Disturbing my partner because of my insomnia was a real source of anxiety for me (and sleep deprivation for her), and of course it added to the problem. It led to me taking more sleeping pills, which only made things worse. Thanks to Sleepio I've learnt not to worry about not sleeping, and for the past 3 months I've limited myself to one small pill a night. (Is this still too much Dr Shreaves? Should I aim to cut it out completely?) If I can't sleep I go into another room and read. Fortunately my partner sleeps soundly herself and is understanding where my sleeping habits are concerned. If I'm particularly restless I sleep in the other room so as not to disturb her, but I'm glad to say this has become less frequent in the last few weeks.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi MadsE

    We would recommend the same techniques for problems waking up as we do for problems getting to sleep. Sleep restriction is one technique which can be helpful for these awakenings, has it helped at all?

    Waking in the middle of the night is very common, even for 'good' sleepers. Are you able to get back to sleep reasonably quickly? If so, it might be worth adjusting other factors like how long you are sleeping, the timing of your sleep or, consider whether this another cause of feeling fatigued.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Sorry, Dr Sheaves…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Sebastienthomas16

    I think you raise a really important practical point – how to manage when life makes it tricky to stick to the techniques exactly. I think as a general rule I'd say just try to take what you've learnt from the course, adapt it as best you can so it is possible to keep using the tips and do your best. When travelling, remember that jet lag is completely normal and it will take time for your body clock to adjust. You might want to try to stay up to get in sync with the time zone as quickly as you can.

    With young children it can be tricky to put some elements of the course in place, like sleep restriction. I'd consider whether this is the right time. But you can still use other techniques, like the wind down routine, 15 min rule and thought checker.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Kaban

    In answer to your medication question, it might be worth asking your prescriber as I'm a clinical psychologist rather than a medical doctor. It sounds like you are being sensible in reducing it gradually and many people do find they can come off medication with the help of the other sleep strategies so this could be a possible goal.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Yes, as I know that my anxiety issues could be linked to low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, do any of the CBT or relaxation techniques we learn here actually boost this or other neurotransmitters?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Julibaby

    I hope kaban's comments were helpful. It can be tricky with a bed partner, I wonder if you could think through some of the practicalities of how it might work together with your partner so it is a shared plan?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi mbullis

    I'm really sorry to hear that you are having such a tough time with your sleep. It sounds like the medication you were on was really important at the onset of the sleep difficulty and caused a very nasty reaction. What can often happen after a trigger event (such as something physiological like this, or stress) is that we can get into patterns of thinking and behaviour which we do to try to help, but inadvertently keep the sleep difficulty going.

    I would definitely give the course a real shot, if you would like to give it a go. And do keep linking back in to the community for extra support and advice if that's helpful.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi all,

    We have had many interesting question here tonight so have run over a bit. I wanted to try and answer all the posts which were already up but I'm aware I've left a few later ones. Do post them in the next live expert session.

    Good luck everyone with the course and I hope the session was helpful tonight.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    My sleep issues started when I had a baby and I think I got stressed out by the many times my baby wakes (which is a lot). How common is this and are there ways to help with getting back to sleep after being woken up multiple times per night?

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