Live Discussion with Dr Michelle Davis - 2nd September 2020

Dr Davis will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 2nd September, 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.

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Posted 27 Aug 2020 at 12:39 AM
  • 9 comments
  • 2 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Insomnia is emerging as one of the experiences of some people with “long covid”. Apart from anxiety, what might be causing this?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr. Davis:

    I have graduated from Sleepio and have been maintaining over 90% sleep efficiency overall for several months. However, I still have anxiety dreams and bruxism the majority of nights, which apparently cause me to wake up multiple times. As a result, my sleep quality continues to be unsatisfactory. I have tried to follow all of the program's recommendations, and I find that intense exercise earlier in the day seems to help to reduce my stress and the number of wakeups (as the program suggests) but even that is not really solving the underlying issue. I am also doing the progressive muscle relaxation every night before bed.

    What other suggestions would you have for reducing anxiety during the night? Imagery before bed? Light yoga during wind-down? I am just sort of feeling that the combination of interventions is still not quite strong enough.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 184 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hiya Bold Ben, have left you a message which I hope helps a little 80))
    Kurly :)

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi JudeD,

    Thanks for the great question. I am unaware of research identifying insomnia as a symptom of COVID-19 infection, nor of research identifying potential causes. There is, however, mounting evidence that the pandemic has led to increases in mental health problems (such as insomnia) broadly, not just among those who are infected with the COVID-19 virus.

    Though we can’t know for sure all of the causes and how large of a role they play, two culprits that come to mind are stress and anxiety (which you pointed out) and changes to daily habits. Our day-to-day habits and activities have a huge impact on our sleep, and our day-to-day habits and activities have definitely been impacted by the pandemic. For example, many peoples’ daily routines have changed (e.g., working from home instead of going to the office, caring for children at home rather than them attending school), which can definitely have an impact on sleep. For example, someone who used to have to wake up at a certain time each day to commute to work may find themselves sleeping in now. Additionally, changes to light exposure (i.e., being outside more or less often) can also impact circadian rhythms. Many people have not been able to go to the gym and thus their exercise regimen has changed. Changes to routine and/or social isolation can also cause low mood or depression, which can impact sleep.

    Overall, there are many ways in which the pandemic can impact sleep, because there are many different factors that impact sleep in general.

    I hope this is helpful!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi!

    I was wondering about what the best thing to do is with your sleep restriction if you are feeling unwell (not with Covid symptoms). Typically you think about sleeping more and spending more time in bed but I really do not want to disturb my sleep restriction because, before this week, I have been making some decent progress.

    Thank you!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the question. Glad to hear your sleep efficiency has improved, and congratulations for completing the Sleepio program! Sorry to hear that you are experiencing anxiety at night.

    Sleepio’s general recommendations for managing anxiety and stress are 1) exercise , 2) relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, 3) the wind down routine, and 4) the cognitive and behavioral strategies presented in sessions 4 and 5. You mentioned 3 out of 4 of these, so my general recommendations would be to try practicing some of the cognitive and behavioral strategies in sessions 4 and 5, and that you might try (as you mentioned) experimenting with your wind-down routine. I would give each of the ideas you mentioned a try (making sure to do them in dim light and outside of the bed), and experiment with whether any work well for you.

    If you find that all of these strategies are still not enough, it may be helpful to speak with your doctor about other options for managing stress and anxiety directly. Though Sleepio describes some cognitive and behavioral techniques that can be helpful for managing anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) specific to addressing anxiety may be helpful (even if the anxiety is mainly occurring at night). Your doctor should also be able to give you recommendations for managing bruxism.

    I hope this is helpful, and I hope you find some relief from the anxiety soon!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Gjsykora,

    Sorry you’re not feeling well, but a great question.

    It is a bit tricky because being sick does indeed make you want to sleep more (and sleep may be helpful for recovery). My general recommendations would be to try resting (though not actually napping) throughout the day (i.e., doing a calm, relaxing activity) and to make sure that if you are napping, you are not doing it in your bed – try to keep your bed for your scheduled sleep restriction hours only.

    It’s also important to remember that you can give sleep restriction a try any time, and if you’d like to delay sleep restriction until you’re feeling better, you can manually adjust your sleep window in Sleepio.

    I hope this is helpful!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Thank you, Dr Davis. That is really interesting and helpful. As well as the impact of the virus in the ways you describe, it may be that there is a more direct causal link between the virus and insomnia in some people. I was wondering whether you or your colleagues were in a position to comment.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Thank you, Dr. Davis. I will definitely experiment as you suggest.

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