Live Discussion with Dr Michelle Davis - 24th February 2021

Dr Davis will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 24th February, from 8.30pm to 10.00pm British Time or 3.30pm to 5.00pm 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 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.

To keep up with new comments as they are posted you will need to refresh this discussion page.

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Posted 19 Feb 2021 at 8:37 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Michelle,

    Great questions!

    Regarding blue light, this has come up a lot recently with more blue light filters available on the market. In general, electronic devices can have a negative impact on sleep because the light that they emit is bright enough to inhibit (or reduce) the release melatonin, a hormone which helps our brains and bodies prepare for sleep. They can also cause an alerting effect, regardless of where they are on the spectrum (i.e., blue lights or other colors). This can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

    The research on blue light filters and whether they are effective is still in the early stages, but it is possible that they may be helpful in the several hours before bedtime (though immediately before bedtime, it is probably still a good idea to stay away from electronic lights completely).

    Regarding accessing previous live expert chats, go to the community board then click “see more categories” at the bottom of the page, then click “general chat” and scroll down to the “Ls” to see previous Live expert chats.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Nigel,

    Regarding pre-bedtime activities (or QHR activities), these are loose guidelines in general. Reading may be helpful for some, but others find it too engaging. The key will be to experimenting with pre-bedtime activities and finding what works best for you. If you find an activity relaxing and not stimulating (like reading) it should be a fine activity! Mostly you want to avoid the bright lights emitted from electronics and/or really stimulating content.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Suzie,

    Unfortunately, I am unable to answer questions regarding medication and would invite you to consult your doctor, who will be best able to advice you on this. I can generally say that certain antidepressants (e.g., Trazadone) are sometimes prescribed off-label for insomnia (even in the absence of depression).

    Regarding perimenopause (and really any hormonal changes that disrupt sleep), you are definitely right that they can disrupt sleep. Luckily, research has demonstrated that cognitive and behavioral approaches (like Sleepio) can be effective at reducing sleep problems in perimenopausal and menopausal individuals. It sounds like you are asking for tips – you can find some outlined in this article from the Sleepio library.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Jacq,

    Great question, and one that we hear a lot! Research indicates that most of us are pretty bad with estimating time, particularly estimating time we’ve been asleep versus awake – so you’re not alone! This is good news, because we know that getting the time exactly right is not necessary (and in fact, as you pointed out, can even be counterproductive) to benefit from the Quarter Hour Rule. My general advice would be to not look at a clock at all (i.e., don’t even check to see how accurate your estimates area) – it’s not really about the time, persay, but rather about getting out of bed when you’re not sleepy. Your best guess is likely to be fine (even if, like most of us, it’s not very accurate). You might also create a post (or search previous posts) on the community board to see how others have managed this, as it is a common concern.

    Hope that helps, let us know how it goes!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Nicolacat,

    Great question! Mindfulness can be a really helpful tool for anxiety (and general wellbeing), and lots of people find it to be a great activity during the QHR. There are tons of books, apps, and videos out there, and my general advice would be to experiment with lots of different mindfulness exercises (e.g., visualization, breathing, guided, unguided, body scan, grounding) and find one that works best for you! Surprisingly, YouTube has tons of great content.

    I’ve linked a Sleepio community board post where members talk about their favorite meditation/relaxation techniques and resources – this might be a good place to start!
    https://www.sleepio.com/community/discussion/meditation-and-relaxation-techniques/

    Hope this helps and excited to hear what works for you.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 12 comments
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    Graduate

    Many thanks for your reply Dr Davis. Yes, this has been helpful. It's good to know that we have control over what is best for us in getting back to sleep. Often what suits one person will not suit the next. Sleepio has provided many helpful strategies to get back to sleep and it's a case of trying them all until you find the one or two that suit you.

    Thanks again

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 2

    hi, where is the live session's link? this is my first time on this website, can you somebody help please.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Icyharris,

    Thanks for sharing!

    Shift work can be really tricky when it comes to trying to improve your sleep. Have you seen the Sleepio shift work guide? It might be insightful – it also might be useful to search the community board (or make your own post) to hear from others who have dealt with similar circumstances and how they managed.

    Here’s the Sleepio shift work guide:
    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/shiftwork/

    Regarding overactive bladder, have you considered talking to your doctor about ways to manage this? Some general recommendations are to pay attention to your water intake – not reducing the daily amount, but trying to consume it earlier in the day (rather than before bedtime). Also, you are likely doing this, but it can be helpful to make sure to use the bathroom immediately before bed.

    Hope this is helpful and best of luck with the program.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Yamahdi,

    You are here! I am getting around to answering your question :) You'll get a notification when I respond.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Yamahadi,

    We can’t guarantee that Sleepio will help for everyone; however, you may find it helpful to know that many people have successfully used Sleepio while taking medication and still found it beneficial. We recommend working with your doctor on this (e.g., letting them know you are using the Sleepio program and discussing how it can be used with medication. If you’d like to stop taking medication, you should definitely speak to a doctor first, but please know that this is not a requirement for using Sleepio. Additionally, many people have benefited from Sleepio even after having sleep problems for many years. It may be helpful to browse the community (or make a post yourself!) to hear how others with similar problems have used Sleepio and/or found it beneficial. I’ve linked below some discussions and articles for further reading:

    https://www.sleepio.com/community/discussion/using-medication-while-doing-the-sleepio-course/

    https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/does-cbt-for-poor-sleep-really-work/

    https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/sleep-aids/

    Hope these are helpful!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 24 comments
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    Graduate

    My problem is with getting to sleep. At the moment I am finding that filling in the sleep diary is increasing my anxiety about this, as it is increasing my sense that my sleep is a problem, and something at which I have to 'perform'. As a result, my sleep is currently considerably worse than ‘normal’ (a number of nights without any sleep since I started the programme ten days ago).
    Am I right in thinking that the right approach is to press on, as the benefits will start to outweigh these problems in due course, and to help deal with the underlying anxiety?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    oh i am really sorry, i thought the session would be live with a link…i was not expecting a live chat :)

    i have been on clonazepam (0.5mg) for 6 years to help me sleep. lately it has not been working and i am looking for a natural solution to help me sleep. i am wondering if this program is going to be beneficial for me after such a long time being on medication?

    i really appreciate your answer

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the question! Few thoughts – first, your GP will definitely be the person to help you decide if medication is necessary or not. We are unable to give specific medical advice given that we don’t have sufficient information about your medical history and health. I’m glad your sleep drive and quality has improved – this is a good sign that SR is working (i.e., the sleep drive is stronger). I think in general it is normal to struggle with sleep restriction at the stage you’re in (and recommend checking out the community board for others with this experience); however, if you are concerned about the nausea I would recommend speaking to your GP.

    Additionally, it is common for people to experience anxiety and attribute it to sleep restriction (as it is a tricky thing to do overall), but I generally recommend considering all the factors that could be contributing to increased levels of anxiety. Without knowing your specific situation, in general it is possible that external stressors (and there are a lot of them, currently!) could be contributing or driving the anxiety.

    Here is some information on anxiety that you may find helpful: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/anxiety-introduction/

    I hope this is helpful and I hope you notice some improvements in your anxiety soon!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Jocetmo,

    In general, there are not specific guidelines around what schedule will work best for what person – the trick is to experiment with small incremental shifts and see what works. If you have the intuition that pushing it back might be helpful, I would generally recommend giving it a try for a few days and seeing if it helps with the early rise time.

    I can say that in general it is important to try to maintain a regular rise time (i.e., if you find you are still waking up around 5 regardless of what you do, trying to stick with waking up at 5 consistently for a time can be helpful to regulate your sleep).

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many thanks Dr Davis

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Renee,

    Great question, and welcome to Sleepio! The program techniques themselves are not dependent on your goals – the same techniques will help with each of these goals, as the interventions introduced often target more than one sleep parameter/goal. I would recommend selecting whichever goal is most important to you, as this will be most motivating for you to track over time. These goals are overlapping as you seem to have noticed – improving your sleep quality will likely regulate the schedule, and vice versa! But rest assured that Sleepio will address both, regardless of which you select!

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Ellenyor,

    Great question and sorry to hear you’ve noticed a bit of a worsening of sleep in the beginning. From my experience, this is quite normal and I would generally agree with your hunch that the benefits will start to outweigh these problems over time. Regarding the diary, I know it can be difficult to not be overly perfectionistic about it, but it is usually helpful to try to view this as an imperfect practice – as humans, we are not great at estimating our time asleep while we are in bed anyways, so it is difficult to get it exactly right! Also, people tend to notice that when working on any problem, it gets a little bit worse before it gets better (as, as you’ve described, you are focusing on something you might have been previously trying not to pay as much attention to!). I hope you will start to notice benefits soon!

    On a final note, if you haven't already, you may find it helpful to interact with other members on the board who have had similar struggles – this might help with normalizing the experience you're having and letting you know you're not alone!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Yamahdi,

    No worries, it can be a bit confusing. :)

    I can't give specific advice based on medication or personalized treatment, but again, many people have used Sleepio with medication (and/or have been able to decrease their medication use while using Sleepio). I strongly urge you to NOT go cold turkey and stop taking the medication all at once (as this can be dangerous with the medication you are using), and instead to work with you doctor to wean off the medication if you both decide this is the right decision for you.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 24 comments
    • 17 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many thanks Dr Davis – much appreciated! I agree about the benefits of interacting with others. The sense of community here is a great asset.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    Session 2

    Many thanks Dr Davis

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