Live Discussion with Dr Michelle Davis - 4th November 2020

Dr Davis will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 4th November, 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 29 Oct 2020 at 12:17 AM
  • 19 comments
  • 6 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    Hello, Dr. Davis,

    I'm currently in the stage of filling the sleeping diary. But all those sleep patterns are recorded while I'm on sleeping pills (Zolpidem 5mg), If I didn't take them, I wouldn't be able to have any sleep hours at all. I'm not sure whether and where to capture this information on the self-helping tool, or sleep diary. Thank you.
    Igor

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 184 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Igor, because there will be no Live Doctor session until next Wednesday – I’m popping an answer and hope it helps you in the meantime ;))

    There is a section at the bottom of each sleep diary page where you can input ‘additional information’ and create your own sleep tags – then later you can look back and compare sleep tags.
    So if you wish, you could add a tag for what sleeping aids you are taking each night. Then in the right hand section you could write down the name and amount of sleeping aids you have taken the previous night.
    I use these sections daily to write in what exercise and what foods I’ve been eating or how my sleep was and what affected the night – usually my OH snoring!! Lol ;)

    Please don’t worry about taking medication – lots of Sleepios do. Then, when they have sorted their sleeping issues out, they start to wean themselves off the meds in conjunction with the help of the doctor who prescribed them. Always seek the professional’s help.

    Any other questions – just click on my name and leave me a message on my page. Good luck on your Sleepio journey!

    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 5 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I'm about 3 1/2 months into sleepio and still following the program pretty strictly. Sticking to the SR, doing the winddown, QHR and PTDTR most nights. I do still wake at least once for around an hour or more if I have a stressful situation (usually work) but am managing an average of 6 hours per night. This is a AMAZING improvement, as I've had insomnia for about 8 years and and times had very poor sleep.
    Could you please discuss how to ease back a bit, I certainly dont want to regress to bad habits or undo my hard work but I do miss being able to read in bed or the odd sleep in on a weekend? How can I cautiously relax things a bit …I'm a bit scared of messing things up :)!? Thanks in advance :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    I wear blue light blockers over my glasses and have a blue light fiter on my devices. Is there any research on the efficacy of these reducing wakefulness at night?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Unfortunately I had a terrible experience with the week 3 sleep restriction stage, and I've had to cheat by adding an hour either side of the recommended sleep window. I do have ME/CFS/AFS, so the experience has not come as too much of a surprise. I wonder if there has been any research along the lines of comparing a radical reduction of the sleep window with, say, taking increments of 15 minutes off a person's original sleep window each week until they can find a happy medium?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Zoh,
    I’ve left you a message on your profile page.

    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Kurly, Thank you very much for your reply (on my page). I found that very helpful, and I think deducting time in bed in gradual increments would be a much better recommendation for people with ME/CFS. It also gives me hope that I can try a reset of the sleep restriction strategy because I've gone off the wagon with the 6-hour window. Implementing all of the other advice for preparing for sleep has been achievable, though.

    To add, I would be so willing to help any researcher who is wanting to focus on studying sleep specifically for ME/CFS/AFS. We are a DESPERATE group of people, with very few experts knowledgeable about our plight. We are often just left to rot.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    I’ve started yo-yoing: one good night followed by one poor night, so my sleep diary looks like a rollercoaster. This started after I got a second extension to my sleep window; I had been doing really well.

    Following last week’s session with Dr Kanady I cut that second 15 minutes back, but I’m still following the zig-zag pattern. Any ideas?

    For info: I have long-form Covid, or rather I am finally beginning to recover and see the end of this Bastard (eight months in). Could this be a factor? Lots of long-haulers are reporting problems with their sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    I understand that your main advice is to only use the bedroom for sleep, but as our TV is in our bedroom, what advice do you have towards watching TV in bed in the most sleep efficient way possible. Should we watch on different sides of the bed, make sure we watch with the lights on, etc? Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, Dr. Davis. Sleep restriction has been very effective for me. As I continue to add 15 minutes each week, my relaxation duration is reduced. (I need to keep my waking time fixed.) Is there a minimum duration for effective relaxation before trying to fall asleep? Intuitively, I would keep reducing the relaxation duration until I'm no longer falling asleep within 15 minutes of getting into bed.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, Dr. Davis. Is there a time I could reintroduce reading as a relaxation activity before bedtime?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Igor,

    First I just wanted to reiterate that there’s no need to stop taking medication in order to use Sleepio (and if you did decide to make any changes to your medication, it would be important to speak to a doctor). Many people have used Sleepio successfully while taking sleep medication.

    To indicate those nights on which you took sleeping pills in your sleep diary, you can use the tagging system and create a tag for medication use. This feature can be found at the bottom of each sleep diary page (under “Additional Information”).

    Hope this is helpful!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Alison,

    Wonderful to hear that you’ve made such great improvements! Sounds like you’ve put in some hard work and are really seeing the benefits.

    In an ideal world, it would be best to stick to the same wake time (even on weekends) and keep the bedroom for sleep and sex only; however, striving for perfection can be unrealistic (or impossible!).

    Staying in bed every once in a while isn’t likely to dramatically impact your sleep, unless it becomes a habit or routine (in which case you might experience some difficulties again). Based on your post, it sounds like you really understand teh guidelines (which is great!) and have the awareness that it’s possible to slip back into bad habits.

    My overarching advice in these situations is to experiment and see what works best for you. One way to do this is to try it out slowly by trying to balance the importance of getting good sleep with the importance of other aspects of your life. If getting some extra rest on the weekends is important to you, is there a compromise you can make (e.g., getting out of bed at the same time, but then resting in another cozy area, like a couch?). You could start with this approach and see if it impacts your sleep, and if not, experiment with how much you can flex the guidelines without noticing bad habits cropping up again.

    Interested to hear what you come up with and hope it goes well!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Mabelfrances,

    Great question and a common one recently with more blue light filters on the market. A bit of background about electronic devices – electronics can have a negative impact on sleep because the light emitted is bright enough to inhibit release of a hormone called melatonin (which helps prepare the brain and body for sleep), or cause on alerting effect (regardless of whether it is blue light or another light on the spectrum), which can make falling asleep more difficult. Additionally, the content on electronic devices can often be stimulating – for example, social media posts, the news, or communication with someone else can all have emotional and cognitive stimulation effects. Given that we want the brain and body to be as relaxed as possible before bedtime, it’s important to abstain from use of these devices an hour or two before bedtime (regardless of whether a blocker or filter is used). Though research is still in an early stage on the use of filters, they may be helpful in several hours before bedtime (though your best bet is still abstaining completely before bed).

    For more detailed information about the impact of electronic devices on sleep, see this Sleepio library article: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/do-light-emitting-electronic-devices-disrupt-sleep/

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Zoh,

    Sorry to hear you had a difficult time with week 3. The process you’re describing is an alternative to sleep restriction that is often used for those for whom sleep restriction is very anxiety-provoking or worrisome. This process is called sleep compression and involves gradually decreasing the sleep window rather than gradually increasing the sleep window. For example, if you are sleeping 5 hours, but are spending 8 hours in bed, you gradually decrease the sleep window by 15-20 minutes per week until you see a sleep efficiency of above 90%. E.g., week 1, your sleep window is 7.75 hours, week 2 your sleep window is 7.5 hours, week 3 your sleep window is 7.25 hours … and so on.

    Once you achieve the 90% sleep efficiency, you can either keep your sleep window as is or start to gradually increase it again. It’s most important to pay attention to how you are feeling during the day (e.g., how alert/wakeful you are) rather than the number of hours. While 8 hours is the typical recommendation, that need for sleep actually differs from person to person. You may find that you function just fine with 6.5 hours, for example.

    I hope this information is helpful, and if you try sleep compression, I hope you have good luck with it!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Katecelyn,

    Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 on sleep is not well understood, but since sleep is so impacted by health, it would not be surprising to me at all if there is a relationship between recent illness and sleep problems. Regardless, when we are sick, we often need more sleep to recover (and thus sleep restriction might not be appropriate during these times). I think the best course of action would be to ask your doctor if Sleepio (and sleep restriction) are appropriate given your condition.

    That said, I also want to emphasize and validate the experience of yo-yoing (though it can be frustrating) is very common, especially during times of stress. Stress (which can increase due to illness) can impact our sleep, and we generally see that after a night or two of poor sleep, we tend to get good sleep.

    I hope this helps and hope you get well soon!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi piomatt0,

    I think you’re thinking about this in the right way – I love the creative solutions you’ve come up with so far. The guidelines for sleep (e.g., keeping the bed for sleep and sex only) are not always attainable for everyone depending on their lifestyle and living situation. Accordingly, it’s important to experiment with the recommendations and try to be creative with how you implement them. Some others with the same issue have tried strategies like watching TV on a pillow on the floor (or leaning against the bed), or sitting upright at teh end of the bed. It will be important to do any activities before bed in low light conditions (to prepare the brain for sleep) and to make sure you’re not watching TV too close to bedtime (and instead do another relaxing activity that doesn’t involve electronic devices in low light conditions). It may be worth posting on the community to see if others have had the same situation and what’s worked for them.

    I hope you find something that works well for you!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Kuwilldude,

    So glad to hear you’ve had success with sleep restriction! Great job putting in some hard work.

    I’m not entirely sure I am understanding your first question – I think you’re saying that you’ve been reducing the relaxation time in order to move your bed time 15 minutes earlier each week? If so, I think your instinct to try experimenting with reducing the length of relaxation time to see if it impacts how quickly you are falling asleep is a good one. For many, it’s important to have a period of relaxation (though no exact length is recommended), so you may find that it’s necessary to move your relaxation time a bit earlier along with your bedtime so that you’re still getting in relaxation time before bed. This isn’t feasible for everyone, so it is definitely something you can experiment with (and change up if you find that your sleep is worsening).

    For your second question, I think you should also feel free to experiment with this as well – try reading before bed (though we typically recommend doing this outside of bed) in low light conditions and see if it impacts your sleep.

    Hope this information is helpful – experimentation is key!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thanks so much, Dr. Davis!

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