Live Discussion with Dr Michelle Davis - 16th Dec 2020

Dr Davis will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 16th December, from 3.30 to 5.00 US Eastern Time or 8.30 to 10.00 British 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 Davis 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 14 Dec 2020 at 11:04 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 28 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Davis
    I started Sleepio at the end of June, so coming to 6 months, my sleep is still up and down, hence I have the same question as AlisonJ.
    In reply to AlisonJ, yes my sleep quality and quantity is still not ideal, but unlike you, I don't feel exhausted during the day, except for being very sleepy during the winddown time, which is one thing I know that sleepio is having some effect. In November I had one week of better sleep around 80% and was given the first and only 15min extra. WOW I thought, long may it continue but alas the following week it started dropping, to taking a long time (up to 2 hours) to initially fall asleep, and then waking up about 3 times also for long durations. These days it's up and down between 3 – 5 hours of broken and sometimes very light sleep. I follow all the rules, but not so rigid on QHR, and I am not worried about it. So I would be happy if I can fall asleep quite quickly and get 5 hours of unbroken sleep.
    Still being hopeful of good continuous sleep staying above 80%, that would be a dream!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Dr Davis
    I feel that I've come to a point where I may take a break from Sleepio. I've been keeping my sleep diary since the beginning of the year and it's shown me that I sleep more than I thought I did! I have to pace myself during the day, but am lucky enough to be able to as I'm retired and in my 70s. I think it's an excellent course, and I hope if I need to that I could refer to Sleepio again.
    I wish everyone well and hope they find Sleepio as good as I have.
    Still feel slightly anxious that I may be stepping into the abyss as you can probably tell.
    :) asdfgfd

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Alison,

    Thanks for the question! Congratulations on completing Sleepio and continuing your commitment to sticking to the guidelines. Following the QHR would be my number one piece of advice for the issue you’re describing, so I’m glad to hear you’re sticking closely with that.

    I’ve outlined a few pieces of general advice below to keep in mind and consider whether they might be a factor for you:
    Pay attention to light exposure – be sure to be in dim light conditions before bed and get exposure to bright light upon waking
    Consider shifting the sleep window to a time that works better with your natural sleep habits (e.g., if you are waking up too early, perhaps shifting your bedtime earlier and seeing if you can increase the window in the opposite direction. Often times the schedule needs to be adjusted to test out what works best for you.

    If you find that you’re doing all of these things and still not getting the rest you need to not feel sleepy during the day, it’s important to remember that Sleepio is ultimately a form of self help – there are some sleep issues that require more personalized care, and/or care from a medical provider. Your doctor may be able to help you find something that helps.

    Hope this is useful information!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Olma,

    Thanks for the great question. It sounds like your brain has formed an association between things associated with bed (i.e., nearing bedtime, being in the bedroom or bed, etc.) and anxiety. This is not at all uncommon and often happens when people have been struggling with sleep for a while. The dread you mention happens quite frequently.

    I see that you’re on Session 2 – you’ll definitely get more information as you go along about techniques for managing anxiety more generally, but I want to emphasize that it’s so important to ensure that the bed-anxiety connection is not being reinforced (or made stronger). Habits and behaviors (like staying in bed when you feel anxious, or laying in bed awake) can keep you from forming a new association between your bed and relaxation/sleep (the bed-sleep connection). This is the reason it’s extremely important to stick to the QHR and get out of bed if you’re awake (especially if you’re anxious) for more than 15 minutes.

    Second, I want to highlight that willing yourself not to feel anxious is similar to trying to will yourself to sleep – the more you think about it and focus on it, the more difficult it becomes. You can think of it as one of those finger-traps – the harder you pull against it, the harder it is to get out of. It’s important to not be too resistant to the experience of anxiety, and to learn to respond differently to these sensations that you’re experiencing. Anxiety in itself is not dangerous or harmful, and it tends to lessen on it’s own when we focus less on it. It’s easier said than done, I know! But rather than responding to anxiety with alarm, dread, or behaviors that reinforce those feelings, it will be important to learn how to respond to anxiety differently.

    That said, sometimes people find that they need more personalized help than the Sleepio program (which is ultimately a form of self-help) can offer. Many people find it helpful to work with a provider on their sleep, or consult with their doctor about the anxiety itself. If you find that the anxiety increases or doesn’t improve as you go through the program, this might be a good option for you.

    I hope this is helpful, and hope your sleep improves!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi SLEEPMORE99,

    Congratulations on completing Sleepio and continuing your commitment to improving your sleep! Good to hear that you’re not feeling tired during the day (aside from during the winddown time, which is a great thing!).

    Following the QHR would be my number one piece of advice for the issue you’re describing. I know it’s difficult to implement, but can really help to make sure your brain is not associating the bed with wakefulness.

    I have the same pieces of general advice as i gave to Alison above – you might keep these in mind and consider whether they might be a factor for you:
    Pay attention to light exposure – be sure to be in dim light conditions before bed and get exposure to bright light upon waking
    Consider shifting the sleep window to a time that works better with your natural sleep habits (e.g., if you are waking up too early, perhaps shifting your bedtime earlier and seeing if you can increase the window in the opposite direction. Oftentimes the schedule needs to be adjusted to test out what works best for you. You can always manually change your sleep window outside of the program recommendations to see if shifting around the times is helpful.

    If you find that you’re doing all of these things and still not getting the rest you need to not feel sleepy during the day, it’s important to remember that Sleepio is ultimately a form of self help – there are some sleep issues that require more personalized care, and/or care from a medical provider. Your doctor may be able to help you find something that helps.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    Hi Dr Davis

    I am doing Sleepio for the second time. I did it several years ago with good effect but relapsed due to several major life events. Week three so first week of SR. I had forgotten how hard it was. Any hints about keeping awake in the day when I feel dreadful!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi asdfgfd,

    That’s such great news! I’m glad to hear that you’ve been able to improve your sleep length (and hopefully the quality). I think it is common to feel some anxiety with letting go of the program, especially if you had sleep problems for a long time. It can help to remember that you can always reintroduce the techniques you’ve learned in Sleepio if sleep problems pop up again.

    Congratulations on all the hard work you put in to improve your sleep, and wishing you the best!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Also, feel free to contact help@sleepio.com if you have any questions about your access and for how long you have it!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Valkaye46,

    I’m glad to hear that Sleepio was helpful for the first time around – that’s a very good sign that it can be helpful as you’re trying again now. Sleep restriction is definitely difficult for most people, so you’re not alone! You might try searching the community (or posting) to see how others manage during this tricky time. Some other general advice is to pay attention to your light exposure to aid your circadian rhythms – make sure you are in dim light conditions in the evenings, and get bright light exposure upon awakening. For times when you are feeling sleepy during the day, it can also be helpful to get some sunlight or fresh air, so many people will take a walk or engage in some light exercise. I know it’s difficult when you feel tired, but physical activity can be incredibly helpful. If you’re not already, you might consider utilizing caffeine by making a glass of tea or drinking a cup of coffee mid-day (but not too close to bedtime!).

    I think it’s most helpful to remember that this period won’t last forever – better sleep is ahead, and you’re putting in some hard work now that will pay off in the long-term.

    Congrats on taking the step to improving your sleep again, and I hope you find success again.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Thanks that's helpful. I tend to try to avoid caffeine after morning given long standing sleep problems, but perhaps it might be an idea as long as not to late on. It definitely wakes me up. I will also try a walk.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi! My husband is a doctor on call 50% of nights. He has a separate on call room, but between the pager, phone calls and going in/out of the house it's very disruptive to my sleep. Any advice? Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    PS re light, I live in Scotland and this time of year its dark and dingy. Would a light box be any use?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Great to hear you'll be giving those a try! Experimenting with different things to find what works best for you is definitely the key.

    I realized after posting that sunlight exposure may be easier to get depending on your location (I'm in California!). Yes, many people find that light boxes are helpful for that bright light exposure.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    how nice to be in California! I will look into light boxes. But I had read some articles about potentially messing up your sleep with them. Is it mainly just using light in the morning that might be helpful?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi BellaMarie,

    That sounds like a tricky situation, but one that I'm sure others in the Sleepio community have experienced before (i.e., having a partner or conditions that are noisy). You might check out the community for posts on noise (or make a post yourself!).

    In general, as much as you can try to separate yourself from environmental noises and movement, the better! It might not be possible to achieve perfection, but perhaps you can work with your husband to find some ways to reduce the stimulating environment. Many people find that sleeping with earplugs is helpful, or (if possible) finding a mattress that doesn't create too much movement.

    It will also be important to remember to follow the QHR when you are waking up in these instances (i.e., getting out of bed if you're unable to fall asleep within 15 minutes). This will help build the bed-sleep connection and ensure that you're not associating your bed with wakefulness or distress.

    Hope this is helpful and hope you find some good solutions!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Yes! Make sure to only use them in the morning (upon awakening) and not near bedtime. Best of luck!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 5 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Valkaye46, I used to avoid caffeine after midday , but since doing Sleepio I actually use it a lot more to keep me alert as its really hard some days to stay awake. So long as I avoid it the 6 hrs before bedtime it seems to work fine. A coffee, an iced coffee or a Coke (its getting hot here in Australia) perk me up to keep going. One of the keys I think is to having those prolonged hours of wakefulness, so do try and persist. Going outside for fresh air or a short walk around the block helps too. In the evenings when I really want to nod off I get up and move, it makes the world of difference, I might do some light housework, a relaxing activity to keep my hands busy things like that help a lot.
    All the best.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    Hi I am suffering terribly with surgical menopause, cannot regulate my temp, fall asleep and wake multiple times, or cant fall asleep for many hours. I am in week 2 of sleepio, not understanding how it can help me target my specific problems. HRT is still trial and error and I am dreading going to bed each night. Also, partner is not supportive and goes to bed whenever he lijes, sometimes 2am, despite my pleading for a bit more consistency. Struggling a bit

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 5 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi there,
    So sorry to hear of your struggle but well done for persisting for 6 months, the more you do it the better ingrained your habits will become. I really really hope things get better for you, admire your dedication!

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