Live discussion with Dr Jen Kanady - 2nd Dec 2020

Dr Kanady will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 2nd Dec, from 8.00pm to 9.30pm British Time or 3.00pm to 4.30pm 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 26 Nov 2020 at 2:11 PM
  • 13 comments
  • 1 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    How can I be more accurate in my sleep diary? It's hard to tell how long it took to fall asleep/fall back to sleep or if I've been sleeping and have now woken up again!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 12 comments
    • 4 helped
    Graduate

    I'm not really sure how judge the quality of my sleep. Does anyone know of a way rather than just how I feel when waking up?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    I keep thinking about problems usually not my own and how I imagine its affecting me and the anxiety starts to build.With the anxiety the panic attacks.
    Result no sleep

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    I keep thinking about problems usually not my own and how I imagine its affecting me and the anxiety starts to build.With the anxiety the panic attacks.
    Result no sleep

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    Dont usually think about my own problems like for instance I have just posted an ebay item which is fragile and I am not overtly worried it might get damaged but its a big problem if it does.Its weird really.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    Hi all,

    I've had problems with my sleep for over ten years, but have generally managed to get around 4-5.5 hours a night. Apart from one short phase, I've usually been able to get to sleep at a decent time – say 11am and then waking up at 3/4/5. I kind of got used to this and was able to manage on it. If I missed a whole night's sleep I'd usually have a 7 hour sleep the next day, so my body seemed to be able to make up for a it a bit.

    However, over the last 3 weeks this pattern has changed dramatically and I'm now only sleeping around 1.5 hours a night. I don't fall asleep until 4am/5am in the morning after trying to do all the things that I should do (15 min, get up etc) and now I feel like a shadow of myself and don't know how to cope. Am so wired and tired and just don't know what to do or how to get back to something that resembles sleep. I can already see it's affecting my health and relationships in other ways and am scared this is my life now (so it's become sleep anxiety too). Sleeping tablets haven't helped. It feels doubly worse because I am in full-time athletic training and have had to miss loads of sessions because of my sleep issues and therefore can't do the thing i love the most in the world. Training on no sleep is virtually impossible now. Im worried I'll break myself.

    Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

    Is there any expert advice for athletes on how to train with insomnia?

    Am only on week 2 of the programme and am planning on moving back close to my family so that I feel safer generally to see if that has an affect on anxiety generally.

    Apologies that turned into a bit of a rant – think I'm at the end of my tether.

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

    LH

  • Sleepio Member

    • 376 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. I am here to answer any and all sleep-related questions for the next 1.5 hours.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Ahnee,

    Thanks for the great question. This is a question that I get a lot, so know that you are not alone in the sleep diary struggle. The sleep diaries are designed to be an estimate. Therefore, best guesses are encouraged. The last thing we want individuals to do is worry about filling out the diaries perfectly as this can cause additional stress, which can make it harder to sleep. This can also sometimes lead to clock-watching, which can increase anxiety as well. Therefore, your best estimate is perfect and is exactly how the diaries are intended to be filled out. It’s important to remember that insomnia is considered a subjective disorder and therefore, the subjective experience of sleep best captures the experience of insomnia.

    Here is a community thread about the sleep diaries that you might find helpful:

    https://www.sleepio.com/community/discussion/how-accurate-does-my-sleep-diary-need-to-be/

    Also, here is a library article about sleep diaries: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/why-is-it-so-important-to-keep-a-sleep-diary/

    Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Nigel,

    Thanks for the great question. Sleep quality is definitely a subjective term and everybody defines it differently. My general suggestion is to define sleep quality in a way that makes sense for you and reflects your sleep goals. For example, some people may define sleep quality by how consolidated their sleep felt. Others might define it by how much deep sleep they feel like they got. Others might define sleep quality by how they feel upon waking up in the morning. Others consider sleep quality synonymous with how refreshing the sleep was. I would encourage you to reflect on your sleep goals/priorities and fill out the sleep quality question based on how you think about this metric.

    Please feel free to follow up with any additional questions.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Alansleep,

    Thanks for the questions. I am going to answer both of your questions here. You have demonstrated some really great insight. You are absolutely correct; sleep and anxiety exhibit a bidirectional relationship. That is, the more anxious we feel, the poorer we sleep, and the poorer we sleep, the more anxious we feel. However, and importantly, the inverse is also true! Reductions in anxiety usually result in reductions in sleep disturbance and reductions in sleep disturbance usually result in reductions in anxiety. That’s the good news!

    I see that you are on Session 1. During Session 4 and Session 5, the Prof will introduce several techniques that can be helpful for reducing the worries and thoughts that interfere with sleep. One technique that can sometimes be helpful for people who experience worrying is “scheduled worry time.” The idea behind this technique is that you spend the same 20 minutes, in the same place, everyday worrying and problem solving. Let’s say that 12-12:20 PM is your “scheduled worry time” and you plan to worry in your living room. During those 20 minutes, you write down as many worries as possible. Then, once those 20 minutes are up, worry time is over. If worries start creeping in at other points in the day, you can say, “hey, I already worried about that earlier” or, “hey, I have time set aside to worry about that tomorrow.” Eventually over time, your brain will learn that there is a dedicated place and time for worrying and worries will start to interfere with sleep less.

    For more information about cognitive therapy, you can click on either of the two Sleepio library article links below.

    Cognitive techniques, in depth: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/cognitive-techniques-in-depth/

    Challenging your thoughts: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/challenging-your-thoughts/

    Please keep us posted about how things are going.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Yes, I was trying to gauge how I felt when I woke up each day. If I was refreshed and ready to go then I would score that as GOOD quality sleep but if I needed to rest after waking up, taking time to come to, then I scored it as FAIR quality.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi LH,

    Thanks for reaching out and I am sorry to hear that your sleep has gotten worse over the last few weeks. It can be really anxiety provoking to not get good sleep, and then, of course, the anxiety makes the sleep worse. I am sorry to hear that this has been your experience. I want to start by saying that Sleepio is a self-help program and may not be appropriate for everybody. For serious concerns about sleep, the general recommendation is to speak to your doctor as they can provide more personalized advice. Also, if things start to feel unmanageable, I definitely want to encourage you to speak to your doctor or someone you trust. I am happy to hear that your family is a good source of support.

    I see that you are on session 1 of Sleepio. During session 3, you will be introduced to a sleep intervention called sleep restriction, which can be quite helpful for reducing insomnia symptoms. The idea behind sleep restriction is that you restrict time in bed to when you are sleeping and maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule. Sleep restriction helps to increase the sleep drive and stabilize the circadian clock, both important processes for promoting healthy sleep. During session 4 and 5, you will be introduced to cognitive therapy that can be helpful for reducing worry and anxiety. As noted in my response to Alansleep above, sleep and anxiety exhibit a bidirectional relationship. That is, the more anxious we feel, the poorer we sleep, and the poorer we sleep, the more anxious we feel. However, and importantly, the inverse is also true! Reductions in anxiety usually result in reductions in sleep disturbance and reductions in sleep disturbance usually result in reductions in anxiety.

    For more information about cognitive therapy, you can click on either of the two Sleepio library article links below.

    Cognitive techniques, in depth: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/cognitive-techniques-in-depth/

    Challenging your thoughts: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/challenging-your-thoughts/

    Exercise is also closely related to sleep and can help us to fall asleep quicker, can increase the amount of deep sleep we get, and can improve sleep quality.

    Here is a library article that might be of interest to you: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/exercise-and-sleep/

    The challenge, of course, is that when we don’t sleep enough, we don’t feel motivated to exercise. And for athletes such as yourself, not only might motivation suffer, but performance can suffer too. One thing that has been helpful in other athletes is trying to get in a bit of exercise, even if the exercise or training is not as intense as it would be after a night of good sleep.

    Here is an article about sleep and athletic performance that may be of interest: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-athletic-performance-and-recovery

    Please keep us posted about how things are going and don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 376 comments
    • 120 helped
    Expert

    Signing off now. Thanks for the great questions today. For any additional questions, please reach out to our expert next Wednesday.

    Wishing everybody happy and healthy sleep!

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