Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 27th September 2017

Dr Creanor will be filling in for Dr Sheaves' live online discussion here on Wednesday 27th September, 8.15 to 9.45pm British Standard Time or 3.15 to 4.45pm US Eastern Standard Time.

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.

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

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Posted 21 Sep 2017 at 1:14 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch. As for answering which is “better”, this is perhaps a personal choice! However…what I would always aim for clinically is for someone to be able to get a good solid stretch of sleep because then they have a less disturbed night and their sleep is what we call “efficient” – most of the time in their bed is spent asleep, rather than having mid-night wakenings. As for what to do if one wakes, you will learn soon about the quarter hour rule and how to spend the time if awake, but suggestions such as playing the guitar etc would not be ideal as the aim is to get back to sleep as quickly as possible – activities such as this are stimulating to the brain so less likely to help sleep happen again quickly…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi

    I've just started Sleepio, I'm just in my first week. I see comments about it being “up to us” if we continue with sleeping aids, like OTC sleeping pills, but I got the impression it's best to try without them, which I am doing. I wondered what your advice might be about products such as melatonin, or 5-HTP? As something synthetic but which occur in the body anyway, what do you advise about them?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    It is hard to say exactly what this could have been without knowing the full details of your day and thought processes etc but what I would say is that sometimes even the most subtle of thoughts such as “this is going well – I hope it continues – what if it doesn't…” can cause low level anxiety to have an impact at bedtime. Daytime stresses all play a part, what's been consumed that day, even. But what is important to remember is that there will be blips along the way – this is really normal. Everyone's path to recovery is different, but if the general trend is improvement, this is key. Blips are expected and it would be unusual not to encounter them. The main thing is to let them pass and accept them as much as possible, focusing on the next day as much as possible.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    My mid-sleep-cycle waking dreams… they are vague and boring, not vivid or upsetting, and I've had no caffeine, alcohol, spice, sugar, fluid, medications or to my knowledge, underlying health concerns – except perhaps depression/stress/anxiety – could this really lead to partial wakenings?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and welcome to Sleepio, I hope you enjoy the course and find it helpful, I'm afraid we are not able to comment on anything medical such as sleeping aid/medication as the advice will always depend on that person's medical history, which is for GPs/medical doctors to advise on. It is always worth speaking to these professionals if you have queries about these, but there is often a choice element in terms of whether a person would like to be using them while doing the course, or try it without. Results can be seen with both paths.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Absolutely – depression and anxiety both cause significant sleep disruption so if this is the case, it would be worth thinking about seeking support for these difficulties, too.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,

    I would always recommend doing the quarter hour rule when lying awake in bed, even if physically exhausted, as it is the act of lying awake in bed that weakens the bed-sleep association and tells the brain that the bed is where you feel anxious and awake, rather than where you feel relaxed and sleepy.

    Also, if people feel that there are nights when a full bedtime wind down routine cannot be achieved, it could be condensed slightly so that all the elements are included, just done in a shorter time frame, as this may help tell the brain that it is bedtime. If we rush it completely and miss elements out of a well established routine, the brain may not know it is time to switch off.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks, Dr Creanor, I'd better look into that… :) Cheers, cocoa

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Often when people tell me they are at the point of feeling overtired, we unpick it and it turns out they are actually feeling anxious about going to bed. If this is the case, it is worth thinking about any negative thoughts that come up just before bedtime and challenging these, or incorporating a relaxation technique into the evening routine to help wind down. A good solid wind down routine is often really helpful to get the body prepared for bed as it can help the body and mind feel more sleepy. Practical elements such as a hot bath before bed can also help get the body prepared for sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    There is actually a guide specifically for pregnant women called Pregnancy and Sleep on our website. It may help with how to go about helping sleep at this time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello.
    Sorry to hear that – it sounds very frustrating just now. We have mentioned this tonight already actually but underlying mental health concerns or medications can play a huge part in causing middle of the night wakenings, so worth looking into these factors if you haven't already. I am assuming sleep restriction is also being done alongside the other techniques? This would be important in this case in order to squeeze all the fragmented bits of sleep each night into a solid block in a sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Would you please add a link? I did a website search and can't find it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – does this work if you copy and paste into search engine?

    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/pregnancy/

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Yes, thank you!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Great! Glad it worked…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for today's session – thanks for the posts and speak to you next time…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 95 comments
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    Graduate

    I just started taking a screen shot of my iphone the past three nights. It's been great. I snap the time I get into bed and any wake-ups during the night, and then the time getting out of bed. There's less to try and remember for recording in the sleep diary and you don't have to even know what time it was when waking up in the middle of the night, which in turn reduces any potential anxiety. Just tell yourself to go back to sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks, I'll do it tonight. Great to hear feedback from someone who tried it.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 15 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks. That all makes sense. I like the hint about screen shots

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

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