Live Discussion with Dr Jen Kanady - 14 July 2021

Dr Kanady will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 14th July, from 8:00 pm – 9:30pm British Time or 3:00 pm to 4.30 pm US Eastern Time.

They 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. If there are a lot of questions, they may not be able to answer all in the time available, but will try to answer as many as they can.

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

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Posted 8 Jul 2021 at 9:49 PM
  • 16 comments
  • 2 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    Hello. _ Is it ok to nap while on this program?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 7 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Jen. I have some questions about the QHR – sleep maintenance is my problem, I've seen some improvement but still struggling and only average 4-5 hours sleep a night.

    When I wake in the night I always find it hard to know how long I've been awake, and I usually feel very very sleepy and as if I'll doze off again (which I sometimes do). So should I be getting up at those times, even if it feels as if I might go back to sleep or should I stay in bed and do some relaxation exercises or listen to a sleep app or meditation? I do get up if I start to feel more alert, or if I start to feel even slightly tense or anxious about being awake – hough then once I'm up, I usually feel so tired and sleepy that I can't do anything much for a while. Sometimes I go back to bed in hope of sleeping, but at the moment thats never happening, and its usually so close to my 'official' waking time I wonder if its worth it. I should wake at 5.45/6am, my alarm is set for 6 but I'm regularly waking up any time from 4.30, sometimes about 5 or 5.15.

    Before starting sleepio, I would sometimes get up, take a cup of camomile tea back to bed and read for a bit, and would often then go back to sleep. But I do understand the importance of not doing that, to build the bed-sleep connection.

    Hoping to join this discussion live on Wednesday, but if I don't, some guidance anyway would be fantastic. Thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I have caught a really bad cough and cold so have gone to bed early but spent the whole night coughing. What do you do in this instance with the sleep diary.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    As you will see later in the course, it is not recommended unless in a dire need and for short amount of time (less than 15 minutes).

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I'm starting to feel disillusioned with this programme as its 3 weeks of sleep restriction and I'm still sleeping less than I was before I started. Not managed 6 hours yet. And sleep efficiency score is not increasing. Any advice or people who are finding it's the same for them?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    Expert

    Hello Sleepio Community and welcome to the live expert chat. My name is Jennifer Kanady. I am a clinical psychologist with an expertise in sleep and I am here to answer all of your questions for the next 1.5 hours.

    For those of you new to the live expert chat, the way it works is that I answer questions in the order in which they were received.

    Excited to dig in!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Flauntycape818,

    Congratulations on starting Sleepio and thanks for the great question! During session 3, the Prof will talk about naps; happy to chat about it here too! In general, if you have sleep problems, the recommendation is to avoid daytime naps. The reason for this is that napping depletes the sleep drive -- our need for sleep. Our sleep drive builds and builds the longer we are awake, then once we sleep, the sleep drive decreases, and builds again once we wake up. Just like nocturnal sleep, napping also decreases the sleep drive. So the general rule of thumb is to avoid daytime naps when possible.

    Now, that being said, if you feel like you absolutely need to nap, the recommendation is to keep the name short (between 15-20 minutes) and to try to keep the nap earlier in the day (e.g., before 3:00 PM, giving the sleep drive enough time to build again).

    Also, the exception to the “no nap” rule is if you feel sleepy in a situation that could be potentially dangerous (e.g., driving). In those cases, the recommendation is to nap until the sleepiness subsides to keep you and others around you safe.

    Hope this helps and feel free to follow-up with any additional questions.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi LettyLondon,

    Thanks for the great question and note that you are not alone, this is a question that I get a lot. A couple of thoughts here:

    1. The quarter of an hour rule is meant to be an estimate. Another way to think of it is whether you feel like you have been awake for a significant amount of time. This makes it more subjective and may eliminate some of the pressure around applying this technique “accurately.”

    2. Generally speaking, if you feel like you are close to dozing off, it may be best to stay in bed. I think your observation is a good one. E.g., sometimes getting out of bed can be quite stimulating. Therefore, if you are feeling pretty sleepy/close to sleep, it may be best to wait for a bit before getting out of bed.

    3. If you find getting out of bed to be especially stimulating, another thing you might try is moving to the floor rather than a different room (or moving to the other side of the bed) in an effort to reduce movement/activity. Something that might be helpful is setting up a space before going to bed. E.g., putting pillows on the floor to make the space comfy. Or having a relaxation exercise queued up before bed for easier access.

    4. In general, Sleepio is a self help program. As such, I often encourage individuals to experiment with techniques to figure out what works best for them.

    Keep us posted and let us know how things go!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Sulfate,

    I am sorry to hear that you have a cough. Being sick (e.g., having a bad cough) can certainly complicate sleep restriction and filling out the sleep diary. I am glad you raised this question.

    First, I wanted to note that when folks are sick, I generally encourage them to practice self compassion. I am usually a stickler when it comes to sleep restriction. However, when you are sick, I think applying some leniency makes sense. Especially given that sleep is important for optimal immune function and recovery. Therefore, spending some extra time in bed when sick and getting back to the sleep restriction window once healthy is a great way to go.

    Second, when filling out the sleep diary, you might consider filling it out the same way you always do. E.g., document when you got into bed, how it took you to fall asleep, etc. You can also add a tag to the sleep diary and note that you were feeling sick/had a cough. Spending extra time in bed while dealing with your cough will likely influence adjustments to your sleep restriction window, but as previously noted, you can get back to sleep restriction once feeling healthy again.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi again, Sulfate.

    Thanks for sharing and I am sorry to hear that you aren’t seeing the benefits of sleep restriction. That can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are putting in the work. A couple of thoughts related to your post:

    One thing that may be helpful to keep in mind is that sleep restriction works differently for different people. Some people notice improvements in their sleep immediately, whereas others require several weeks before seeing improvements. Those who aren’t seeing improvements after several weeks may be on the longer end of the spectrum.

    Another thing to note is that sometimes people find sleep restriction to be very stressful, which for some, can exacerbate any ongoing sleep problems. An alternative approach that some find to be helpful is something called sleep compression. Sleep compression is different from sleep restriction as it involves gradually decreasing the sleep window by 15 minutes every week (rather than restricting all at once) until sleep efficiency increases (~90%). E.g., if you are spending 8 hours in bed, but only sleeping 6, you decrease your window to 7.75 hours the first. The next week you decrease your window to 7.5 hours. You keep doing this until you hit a 90% sleep efficiency. Once you hit the 90% sleep efficiency, you can either keep the sleep window as is or gradually start increasing again. Some people find this more gradual approach to be less stressful and more helpful.

    Finally, here is a discussion thread that you might find to be useful: https://www.sleepio.com/community/discussion/dealing-with-the-new-sleep-regimen/

    Wishing you the best of luck and keep us posted about how your sleep is progressing.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Can you do sleep compression in the sleep diary/schedule?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Sleep compression is not part of the program proper; you would have to apply it on your own. You can certainly track your sleep compression schedule using the sleep diary, but the adjustments to your schedule that The Prof makes every week will follow sleep restriction and not sleep compression.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 386 comments
    • 120 helped
    Expert

    OK, signing off now. Thanks for all the great questions. And please do take advantage of our live expert chat next week. Wishing you all a great week and happy and healthy sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks very much.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 2 helped
    Session 3

    CAn we still ask questions?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 63 comments
    • 18 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    When next week's session is posted, you can ask your questions on that thread. Questions here won't be seen.

    Sometimes the next session is posted as late as Monday. The sessions are every Wednesday.

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