Live Discussion with Dr Gwen Keenan - 25th September

Dr Keenan will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 25th September 7pm-8pm BST.

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Posted 20 Sep 2013 at 9:54 AM
  • 17 comments
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 409 comments
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    Good evening. Looks quiet tonight…anyone there?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 409 comments
    • 91 helped
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    Good evening. Looks quiet tonight…anyone there?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 215 comments
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    Hi Dr Keenan

  • Sleepio Member

    • 215 comments
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    Hi Dr Keenan

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Mark, welcome to Sleepio and thank you for your question. I hope the programme is going well so far- keeping the sleep diary can be a very helpful part of the program in itself. You are absolutely right that many factors impact upon our sleep and you will be learning about how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours influence our sleep. In session two, the focus is on sleep hygiene. This relates to lifestyle factors that help or hinder sleep. Caffeine intake is covered there because caffeine does impact upon sleep when consumed in excess or at the wrong time. I won’t go into too much detail here as it is all covered in session two however to summarise, caffeine is a drug that stimulates the nervous system so it is energising. The half life of caffeine (the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance to decrease by half) ranges between 3-7 hours (depending on individual factors) and when consumed shortly prior to sleep it can result in a longer time to fall asleep, reduced deep sleep, and an overall reduction in total sleep time. Having said that, the effects are not terribly dramatic, meaning that it is unlikely that caffeine is the cause of poor sleep. In general I would recommend that you avoid caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. Many people find it beneficial to have some caffeine through the day especially when they have not slept and that should not be a problem so long as it is not excessive or consumed in the later afternoon or evening. Remember, caffeine is not just in coffee, but tea, chocolate and some medications so check the packaging. Whilst coffee can be a contributing factor to poor sleep, there is often a combination of factors underlying it. Have a look at the following resource for more information: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/the-causes-of-persistent-poor-sleep-in-depth/

    Wishing you all the best on the programme!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Polly, how are you getting on?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Bit mixed, but generally ok. Back to my 5.50 start 3 days a week, sleep is variable and I have a tendency to wake up at 2 or 3 and struggle to get back to sleep. Last night I went back to sleep quite quickly and thought I'd had a pretty good night but have been shattered all day. Bit puzzled by that… sleep quality I guess….

  • Sleepio Member

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    That does sound like a mix- great to hear that generally things have been okay though- try and focus on what has gone well to keep your anxieties about sleep to a minimum. As you know, getting anxious and preoccupied by it can add to the problem- good to see you are keeping a balanced view! How are you managing your night time awakenings? Are you using the QHR? Also, it is worth remembering that the more energy we use, the more we increase our drive to sleep- might help with the night time awakenings. I am not sure why you were exhausted today. Perhaps you have a high sleep debt or I wonder if you had a day with some boring tasks or too many things to do- they often feel exhausting!

  • Sleepio Member

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    It is very quiet tonight! Anyone else have any questions?

  • Sleepio Member

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    I do sometimes wonder if I should reinstate QHR for the night time awakenings. I don't at the moment but don't just lie awake. Turn on the light and read a children's book I find very soothing. It's hard at this stage with sleepio when mostly things are ok, to know when to bring back any of the techniques. Yes I probably could be taking more exercise. Don't feel like I have a sleep debt but the early start seems very hard at the moment tho when I was on SR I was up at 6 every day and really liked it!

  • Sleepio Member

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    It sounds as though you are doing well and if mostly things are okay and you are not feeling distressed then maybe keep going with what you are doing. In general I wouldn't recommend reading in bed or staying in bed when you are awake for longer than 15 minutes- it is important to develop a strong association between bed and sleep. I wonder if you could try implementing any relaxation strategies? It is helpful to keep up with as many of the strategies suggested on sleepio as they are all designed and proven to improve sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    sorry Dr Keenan I have to go and eat now. I hope some other sleepios turn up!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 409 comments
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    Thanks Polly- enjoy your food!

  • Sleepio Member

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    I am hoping this quiet evening is because everyone is getting along well on the programme! I wonder if anyone has noticed any differences with their sleep since the evenings have been getting darker? I find now that the weather is cooler and the evenings are darker that I get to sleep more easily.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 409 comments
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    We have about another 15 minutes if anyone wants to ask a question?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Just 5 minutes left…anyone there?

  • Sleepio Member

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    That's it for tonight. What a quiet evening! I do hope to see more of you next time. Goodnight and sleep well.

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