Live Discussion with Dr Gwen Keenan - 28th May

Dr Keenan will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 28th May 7pm-8.30pm (BST).

She will discuss as many topics as possible, 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 23 May 2014 at 9:52 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Wow, you have put a lot of effort in with sleep restriction. That 3am bed time must have been difficult to start with but as you have seen it does work and it doesn't last forever. I like your strategy of putting the alram clock out of reach- I might try that!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    'Sleep quality' has been puzzling me too even though I've been recording it for a long while. I am wondering whether there should be two questions: 'Quality of sleep?' and 'How refreshed did you feel after waking?'

    As regards reading in bed, I have accepted that this is a no-no before going to sleep and I've adapted to that. However, after a bit of experimentation, I have found that if I wake during the night reading in bed is more likely to get me back to sleep and in a shorter time than if I go downstairs to read.

    I recognise that this may not work for others because I'm also on a reduced dose of sleeping tablets.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Mike and thank you for this question. I hope that my answer to Jelly might have helped somewhat. Sleep efficiency is the measure of the percentage of sleep you have in bed. Sleep quality is your subjective experience of sleep. The two are related: typically, as sleep efficiency improves so too does sleep quality. Most people find that the perception of improved sleep lags behind improved sleep efficiency by about 1 week however it can take longer. It is common to feel slightly groggy when you waken up, as the brain transits between different states of consciousness. If your natural rhythm is to be a night-owl then it may take you some time to get going in the morning, relative to others. But after say 15-30 minutes or so after awakening a good sleeper will generally feel the benefits of a good night’s sleep. There is certainly variability in ‘refreshedness’ but good sleep quality/timing of sleep might be the strongest predictors.

    Some people experience what is called non-restorative sleep which is a subtype of insomnia, whereby one might have relatively ‘normal’ latency to fall asleep and little/no wakefulness during the night but feel very groggy and sleepy throughout the day. This could be cause by several things: Non-restorative sleep may reflect another underlying sleep disorder (e.g. Limb movements, sleep-breathing disturbance), or an associated underlying medical illness like Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue or chronic pain. In these latter medical conditions, there have been published studies showing improvements in sleep through CBT-based methods. Non-restorative sleep can also occur in the absence of other conditions. It may also be that you require to consider changing the timing of your sleep window, so that it fits better with your clock or circadian phase. I hope that is helpful.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I hope my answer earlier helps. If your sleep efficiency has improved and you still feel like this it might be worth just checking out with your GP thatt you don't have any other disorder that might be contributing to this. Having said that, 5 hours is still not that much sleep so I would imagine as your sleep window lengthens you will start to feel more refreshed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Dr Gwen, Is there an optimum number of hours a person requires to be 'asleep'? But I know some can function on very little sleep, and others need more, so maybe it cannot be evaluated on a number of hours, in a general sense?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Ray, thanks for joining us tonight. That might be a good idea however I think when rating sleep quality it might be best to wait 30 minutes before deciding how refreshed you feel and then make the rating of sleep quality. Many people feel groggy initially but this improves once one is up and about.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with regards to reading in bed- once you have found something that works you can be a bit more flexible- glad to hear you have found an approach that works for you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    In general people require approximately 8 hours per night although this changes across the life span- a newborn baby sleeps for about 18 hours per day (I am sure many mums will not believe that!). A toddler needs about 12 hours at nights and 1-2 hours through the day. By about the age of 4 years old a child will sleep for 10-12 hours, reducing to 10 hours across the school period. Teenagers sleep approximately 9 hours and the sleep window often changes at this time with teenagers needing to sleep more in the morning and less at night. Across the adult years sleep requirement is pretty stable with people mostly sleeping 7-8 hours per night. In the later “older adult” years the requirement for sleep reduces to about 6-6.5 hours per night. There are individual variations with some people appearing to require very little and other needing more.

  • Sleepio Member

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    It's quite quiet here tonight. Anyone else online?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Thanks. I am a bit into my autumnal years, but I certainly would prefer more than 6.5 hours in an ideal world. So…. come on Prof.. let me change my window!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Ha ha. Do you know what your sleep efficiency is? It will lengthen in time- stick with it!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    over 90%

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Once it has been at 90% for a week you can add on 15 minutes! Something to look forward to.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Thanks. Do I have to be 'allowed' to do so, or can I do it myself?

  • Sleepio Member

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    As long as it has been 90% for over a week you can add 15 minutes but usually the prof guides you through it. If you do it too quickly you might find that your sleep efficiency reduces.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    It is quiet tonight. Still here until 8.30 if anyone has any questions.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 184 comments
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    I enjoy and benefit from the Community 'question time' and sometimes questions are asked which haven't occurred to me, but the answers are helpful! I'm still
    here. Bit groggy still after yesterday's anaesthetic so shall probably have to go to bed
    earlier than my 'window' tonight.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 409 comments
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    Graduate

    No problem. Sometimes when unwell and after surgery that is necessary. I hope you sleep well and i am glad you have found the posts helpful. Goodnight.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Okay, doesn't seem to be anymore questions. Thanks to all who posted. Goodnight.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you for these really helpful comments. I will find it really good to be allowed to read in the wind down time – I have been missing my books!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi McKaydesign
    I noticed your comment about pain and sleep, and I agree with you that massage and hot baths don't work that well. Some people find that cold is better than hot for muscle pain, as it works against inflammation, like ibuprofen.
    I hear people say that exercise stops them getting stiff with muscle pains as well – my mum took up running and doesn't complain about being stiff any more!

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