Live Discussion with Dr Bryony Sheaves - 17th September

Dr Sheaves will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 17th September, 7:00-8:30pm (BST).

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.

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Posted 16 Sep 2014 at 4:32 PM
  • 17 comments
  • 1 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 18 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Dear Dr Sheaves

    Need help with where I am heading with this program.
    I have read many posts and I know this question has been answered by others in the past. However if I can go through my scenario. I now week 4 and as the Prof says I am near graduation. I am sticking to the go to bed late which is a torture. I wake this morning after 5.5 hours then not back to sleep I did get out of bed and read then went back to bed and I think I dozed however I did not get up at 6am which is my time. I just am so tired I cannot get up. I do need more sleep than I am currently getting. ( my work is affected by my tiredness) Do I perserve with being as strict as possible. Today I am sceptical as I do not see the change coming soon where I can get at least 7- 8 hours restorative sleep.
    Now also to put in perspective I am much calmer as I not taking mirtazapine, I do relax better throughout the day less stressed though tired, I can see changes in myself with my lifetstyle. I was a complete anxiety ball before with added sleep deprivation. Now I am less anxious ( except perhaps today) but still very tired. How long will it take for me to turn the corner?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 30 comments
    • 14 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi PDr Sheaves,

    I echo what Pinky said. I think we are on the same boat. I usually get around 5 to 6 hours of sleep. It doesn't sound too bad at all but I don't free refreshed, so I did the same thing as Pinky, which is staying in bed longer than my SW as I feel very tired. My SE barely gets to 90% because of that.

    To be fair, my sleep did improve but it's a slow process. The sleep quality plays a big role and anxiety is my biggest enemy. I can usually fall asleep within 15 mins but just can't stay asleep soundly. When I get up tired and need to go to work, the negative thought pops up immediately. Thought checker could be helpful, but sometime I can't help to think negatively as my body is exhausted.

    What is the best way to break negative thought?

    Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 37 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hello. I am in week 4 and am just so very tired. I feel shaky and weak through lack of sleep – I also cannot think properly or concentrate on things. Can SR do you any harm as I definitely do not feel it is doing me any good – am also worried about my driving as I am so tired I keep thinking that I am not concentrating properly. Do we have to carry on with SR until our quality of sleep improves?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1692 comments
    • 341 helped
    Graduate

    Hi FredHK and Pinky,
    Just want to add my two cents here. It is a process, getting that improved sleep and for some, it can take a number of weeks doing SR. But I can tell you from first-hand experience, after struggling with insomnia for 35 years, that it's all worth it in the end. The fatigue you are experiencing right now from not enough sleep gradually decreases, as you begin to sleep more soundly and for longer. The very best way to get to that point is to stick with the recommendations. Which does mean getting out of bed at the end of your SW. Staying in bed longer, while it may help in the short-term, only serves to delay any improvement you are hoping to see. Research ahs shown that those who stick with it, see the most progress. If you are struggling right now, try to look at the big picture and keep your end goal in mind. Your struggle will pay off dividends in the end.

    Same for you Dibby, you are at an earlier stage but it does get better. You won't always feel this way and again, your sleep is unlikely to get better if you don't stick with SR. If you feel unsafe to drive, then of course, you need to do something about that. You could have a coffee prior to driving or even take a short 15 minute nap early in the afternoon. Even thought naps are frowned upon, your safety (any everyone else's on the road) comes first.

    Best of luck to all of you!
    anniem

  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr. Sheaves,

    I`m in wek one. I decided to do the programme, because I awake at night several times and lay then in bed without falling asleep again. So I´m very tired in the morning, in fact all the day and this has also negative impact on my work. My concentration is bad and all my thougths circle about sleep. It´s horrible. In the programm I´m missing helpful tips what to do. I fill in the sleep diary everyday and did the sleep test twice, but I do not get any hints and recommendations what to do. I know I´m recently in week one and that the programme already startet, but what shall I do. I need help with my problems. How can I make my sleep better. What shall I do.
    Thanks, Inno

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    Expert

    Good evening everyone. Welcome to tonight's live session!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    Expert

    There are a few queries about sleep restriction and I am so pleased Anniem has joined us – I couldn't agree more with your advise!

    Dr Simon Kyle (another sleepio expert) published research this year which investigated sleep restriction as a stand alone tool (without the other elements of the course). The results showed that in the short term it was tough – people felt more sleepy and were less vigilant, but after sleep restriction patients reported improved sleep. So it is a good technique that can improve sleep and is therefore a key part of the course, but it is tough. The forum is a good place to talk to other people, like anniem, who have used SR to improve sleep. Perhaps a bit of extra support would be helpful?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Pinky,

    Just to pick up specifically with a few of your points. As anniem recommended, sticking to SR as much as you can is going to be most helpful for getting your sleep back on track. Perhaps you can put a few things in place to help you get going at your 6am alarm – some music? opening the curtains so the sun can help you wake up? A shower? Nice breakfast? It might be worth planning this in detail.

    I'm really pleased that your anxiety has dropped. This should also be helpful for your sleep.

    In terms of how long it can take to see changes, it really does vary. Some people see changes quite quickly, but for many it is a more gradual change. Keep using the techniques and keep faith that things can improve.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi FredHK,

    I'm pleased to hear that you have seen some improvements in your sleep, that's good news. Keep going with the course and maybe take a look at my previous reply to Pinky about morning routines. Getting up can be really tough, but if you can find a way to, it will be helpful for improving your sleep in the longer term.

    Your question was mainly about negative thoughts. It sounds like you've used the thought checker which is great. Here are a few extra ideas to boost this method:

    -Do you have any key negative thoughts that come up more often than others? If so, it might be helpful to write a 'coping card' summarise helpful thoughts which target those particular negative thoughts. Keeping this somewhere really accessible (maybe in your wallet, or by your bed side table if mornings are tricky).

    -Negative thoughts are really common, we all have them, but the key is to not get too caught up in them. Have you seen the mindfulness aspect of the course? Here's an article that explains it well. http://www.sleepio.com/library/article/mindfulness/

    -And lastly, find time to be kind to yourself, in whatever way that might be. We are often kinder to other people than we are to ourselves. It sounds like you are doing a great job getting to work, despite feeling exhausted and working through the SR. Give yourself credit for that.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Dibby,

    Hopefully you've seen my two previous replies. SR can be tricky and our performance can drop whilst doing it, so when it comes to driving do be cautious. If you are feeling dangerously tired obviously don't drive and as anniem says you could try taking a short 15 minute nap earlier in the day (before 3pm). Good luck with the rest of the course.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Inno,

    I'm sorry that you are finding things so difficult with your sleep at the moment. The experiences you describe with for example thoughts being focused on sleep and difficulties concentrating are really common when we are struggling with insomnia and hopefully should pass once you see improvements with your sleep.

    Session 1 is all about setting the foundations in place for the rest of the techniques that follow. If there are any simple changes that you can make to your sleep environment and lifestyle these will all help with the rest of the tips that come later.

    It can be frustrating not learning everything that you need to know in the first session but this is intentional. From clinical experience I know that taking a step by step approach to improving sleep is most helpful. You can find out what is most helpful and have time to consolidate the changes you make. So do keep going and you should find out lots of techniques that help your sleep.

    Good luck with the rest of the course.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    Expert

    Hi everyone, it's a bit quieter than usual tonight. If anyone has any burning questions for the rest of the session do post them up.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 184 comments
    • 17 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hello Dr Bryony, I just want to add for those who are recently beginning their new journey towards a decent night's sleep, that the course is not
    easy, but the tools are there, and once the first perhaps two weeks have passed, possibly three, depending on
    the difficulty, that things do ease, and it becomes slightly easier. Keep saying 'if that lot can do it, so can I!'.. Seriously, stick with it, take one day/night at a time, ask
    questions and Post and someone will always help. So, good luck to everyone out there who has just started the Programme. Stay with it, it has been proven scientifically that it works. No sceptics allowed!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    Expert

    Thanks Theresa!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    Expert

    I've just been reading some posts in another discussion which highlight the difficulty in getting insomnia treatment from GPs, or even getting the problem taken seriously. I wonder whether this is the experience from those logged on tonight?
    Sleep is getting lots of attention in the research world and there have been some good pieces in the media more recently but I wonder if this has translated into a better understanding by doctors, when people first ask for help with sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 522 comments
    • 95 helped
    Expert

    Hi all, I think we'll finish there for tonight. Thanks for your posts and I'll 'see' you soon! Bryony

  • Sleepio Member

    • 18 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Dear Dr sheaves
    Thanks for your reply I need lots of encouragement at the moment. My experience with Dr was about 5 years ago I was given mirtazapine as answer to sleep difficulties with no real education around the cognitive aspects. This was not a long term answer. More recently that Dr sent me, not really knowing what it was about, the sleep institute here in Sydney. They have an affiliation with sleepio via the research that is done by scientists and psychologists. I think it is just a matter of time and feedback to the Drs. Of course the sleepio program could do even more marketing to the medical world.

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