Live discussion with Dr Jason Ong - 18th November 2015

Dr Ong will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 18th November 8:00pm-9:30pm EST.

He will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half and, as always, you’re welcome to ask any questions at all about sleep or the Sleepio program.

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

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 13 Nov 2015 at 12:48 PM
  • 16 comments
  • 3 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    How do I get to sleep and stay asleep without resorting to taking pain medications due to the chronic back, hip, and neck pain that I have? I have tried relaxation techniques, warm baths/showers, ice massage, etc. which only help temporarily. Thank you for any suggestions.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    My sleep issues began a couple of weeks after taking a SSRI for a brief period of anxiety. I was only on it for 4 months. If the SSRI was the cause of my initial sleep problem, can this be overcome with the Sleepio techniques?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    Expert

    Greetings everyone! Welcome to the Live Discussion session this evening. I will be here for the next hour and a half to answer questions.

    There are a couple of questions which were posted in advance. I will get to start with those, but for those logged on, please do post your questions and I will try to respond as quickly as possible.

    I look forward to your questions!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Pain can certainly impact sleep so it can be very challenging to get sufficient sleep for those with chronic pain.

    There is evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (including the techniques taught through Sleepio) can help people with chronic pain sleep better. Sometimes it means sticking with the program for a few weeks, even if you don't see immediate benefits.

    Also, keep in mind that it isn't always about the amount of sleep you are getting that is most important. Sometimes getting more consolidated sleep (i.e., fewer interruptions) can feel more refreshing, even if it is not more total minutes of sleep.

    So hang in there and keep up with the tools that you are learning through Sleepio!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi meditativemom,

    It sounds like you believe that the insomnia might have been triggered by the medication.

    The good news is that the tools in Sleepio can very much help people sleep better, even if the sleep problem was triggered by something such as medication or a medical condition.

    The reason is that many people often develop habits or patterns in response to the initial sleep disturbance that actually work against the way the brain regulates sleep. Most people don't even realize this!

    The tools in Sleepio will help you identify these habits and help you make changes so that your sleep patterns improve.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    Expert

    Anyone logged on? Please let me know if you have any questions.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    Expert

    Boy, it sure is quiet! This must mean that Sleepio has cured everyone's sleep problems! :)

    If anyone is out there, please say hello and let me know if you have a question.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 48 comments
    • 12 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Ong,

    I'm in a similar situation to Emnemmons, with chronic pain issues (and noise sensitivity/hypervigilance issues) that keep me awake. Despite those challenges, the Sleepio techniques have worked extremely well, I think because I no longer become overly anxious that when I can't fall asleep to start with, or when I wake up in the night, that I won't be able to drop off. It took a long time but I'm doing so much better than before I started the program over a year ago. So thank you!

    Do you have any thoughts about whether it's helpful to wear yellow-tinted glasses at night in an effort to cut the effects of blue light coming from the computer and TV in the evening? I attended a course a while ago that indicated this could be useful, and wondered what you thought.

    Thank you,
    Flick
    xoxo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Flick,

    Thanks for your post. It's good to know that I'm not alone here!

    I am glad to hear the Sleepio techniques have worked for you, even in the face of chronic pain.

    Your question about the tinted glasses is a good one. What I would say is that yes, blue light can shift the biological clock (i.e., circadian rhythms) which can impact sleep. I think there is some evidence that certain colored-tinted glasses can reduce this impact. However, I don't think there is anything conclusive yet to say how much it helps. Moreover, it depends on whether or not there is an issue with the circadian rhythm that contributes to the insomnia.

    So, I think you can try it to see if it helps, but I think the Sleepio tools will likely have a greater impact, so keep up with those techniques too!

    Hope that is helpful!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 48 comments
    • 12 helped
    Graduate

    Hello again,

    I also had a question about the sleep diary. Whilst I found it incredibly helpful in the first weeks (and months!) of joining Sleepio to identify my sleep patterns and problem areas with racing thoughts etc., I eventually discovered after nearly a year of faithfully filling it out that I had become hypervigilant and obsessive about doing it, to the point of waking myself up more fully than necessary in the night to note the time so as to be accurate. When I finally went on holiday in September, I stopped filling out the diary and haven't restarted doing it and at least in my case this has actually helped me obsess less and not get as anxious (or as awake when I drift to the surface of wakefulness!) at night.

    Do the experts recommend continuing the diary, or once the habits and patterns have been recognized is it OK to stop? It may be something that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but I was just curious about it.

    Thank you!
    Flick
    xoxo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 48 comments
    • 12 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    That's very helpful, thank you!

    And you are not alone … we all appreciate your presence. This is the first time I've been able to attend a live session, and am very happy that you are there to help us!

    Flick
    xoxo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Ah yes, what to do with the sleep diaries long term?

    The short answer is what you said in the last sentence – it's probably case by case, not one answer will apply to everyone.

    But in the spirit of providing information that can be useful, here is what I usually tell my patients:

    The diaries are meant to be a tool for you, to help provide guidance on a course of action (e.g., adjusting your sleep window). If you complete the program and are sleeping well and the diaries become a burden (or increase sleep-related anxiety), then it's probably fine to stop completing them. However, if you find yourself back into a cycle of insomnia or feel like your sleep is getting worse, then it's probably a good idea to keep a week or two of sleep diaries to get a better idea of what is happening.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    Expert

    Ok folks, looks like we have about 10 minutes left. Any other questions I can answer for you out there?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 48 comments
    • 12 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    That makes good sense. I can't say that I am sleeping “well” yet, as I still have blips! But my reaction to those blips is much gentler now that I've learned so much. So perhaps in my case I will reserve the sleep diary for those times, should I need to get myself more firmly on track again.

    One last question -- can insomnia ever be cured? I used to be a solid 8- to 9-hour a night sleeper until last summer, when I fell into a 2 to 3 hours of broken sleep per night pattern and felt like I was losing myself. The back injury was 7 years ago, the 2 hip surgeries for the bone tumor in my femur was nearly 3 years ago now, and those events have left me with chronic nerve pain but I was handling it until last summer! I still don't know why it all went pear-shaped.

    Anyway, I'm up to about 6 hours a night now with only a few awakenings, and am SO grateful to the experts and the community here.

    Thank you so much! Sweet dreams to you all.

    Flick
    xoxo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It is very possible to be in remission from insomnia. Keep in mind that insomnia is defined by symptoms not a certain amount of sleep. Also, our sleep needs change as we age, so it might not even be fair to compare your sleep now with your sleep at a younger age.

    Having said all of that, most people would be considered to be in remission when they have minimal amount of wakefulness in bed (while trying to sleep), feel sufficiently alert during the daytime, and do not feel distress about their sleep. This could occur even when the amount of sleep is less than before!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 2 helped
    Expert

    Ok folks, thanks so much for your questions. Well wishes for good health and good sleep to all!

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