Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 12th June 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 12th June, from 8:15pm to 9:45pm British Time or 3:15pm to 4:45pm US Eastern Time.

She 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, she may not be able to answer all in the time available, but will try to answer as many as she can.

Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor will not be able to give personal medical advice including those about medication. Her 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 6 Jun 2019 at 11:41 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for this question – it's a common worry amongst people who are struggling to sleep. There will be several strategies that you will encounter and learn about over the next week or so that will help with this problem. Look out for relaxation strategies and thought challenging in particular :)

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    thank you I understand now …am new to this . I am guessing that the 'tools' will be explained in the next few weeks , only on Day 2 here.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Guest
    Expert

    Hello – well done! Sounds like you're making fantastic progress! Yes – these techniques are there for people at this stage who are still struggling with a racing mind, so keep on doing what you're doing!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – and thanks for your post. So if the stress of remembering to note things down in the night gets too much, this is counterintuitive to what we're trying to achieve. I would suggest a few things. Some people in the past have tried leaving a set of coins/plastic counters on their bedside table and knocking one off to the floor each tome they wake, so save thinking about it too much. Others have used their phones to take a quick screenshot of the time when they wake so this is saved for them in the morning with little effort. In terms of how long it takes to fall asleep – simply guess this. Do not look at a clock as this adds pressure, so we suggest guess work with the expectation that it is not always accurate. But this is perfectly OK.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi yes I can see you've just started, so yes – as you go on through the weeks, you'll be given strategies to try over the week and then they build up to give you a toolkit of techniques that all complement each other to improve various aspects of poor sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    ok a bit nervous that it will get worse or that I'll fail. I'm a bit all-or-nothing and don't forgive myself when I can't get things right…am working on it. The comment about realising that it's normal as we age to wake up a lot is helpful. Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello – good question. So these other external factors you mentioned will cause us to wake up too, however there is a natural cycle within each night's sleep due to the brain waves during different types of sleep. We cycle though about 4-5 sleep cycles per night, going from stage 1 (when we are drowsy and falling asleep – sleepy tired), to stage 2 (light sleep) to stage 3 and 4 (deep sleep), then back up through the stages with REM (dream) sleep after this, followed by a brief wakening. It then repeats every 90 mins. What changes is muscle tone (much more relaxed), temperature (much cooler), blood pressure (lower), brain wave frequency (slower). So there are many changes throughout the night and the increase in these factors towards lighter sleep means we briefly waken at the end of the sleep cycles.

    You may find this article interesting….

    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/sleep-science/the-science-of-sleep/

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    There will be a natural anxiety when anyone starts treatment and these thoughts are very normal too, but perhaps it's worth getting in touch with people in this community who have had success with Sleepio to encourage and reassure you…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you for replying yes I'll carry on with posting on the community forum it seems well moderated and advice seems to be consistent. I am both apprehensive and excited.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    A good place to be! Thanks for the positive feedback.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hello, I wanted to ask about a difficulty that I'm experiencing. Perhaps this will be useful to others in a similar situation as well.
    I have relatively poor sleep, mostly because I worry about not sleeping. Specifically, before bedtime I often begin to worry about how late it is, and how I need to go to bed immediately. This worry then makes me feel tense and stressed, and prevents me from sleeping, which is of course terribly counter-productive. It doesn't happen every night and is quite unpredictable. My sleep is then not restful and I often feel very tired, stressed and uncomfortable the following day, which then gives me more reason to sleep.
    This makes it hard for me to follow the sleep restriction guidelines, namely that I shouldn't go to bed until I'm sufficiently sleepy. If I stay up until later than usual I start to worry and the whole cycle begins. But if I go to bed too early, I toss and turn in bed for ages before getting to sleep.
    I wonder if you've encountered similar cases in the past and have any useful advice on this. Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Correction: “My sleep is then not restful and I often feel very tired, stressed and uncomfortable the following day, which then gives me more reason to worry”. Sorry!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    Yes this is actually very common! Worry is one of the biggest reasons people cannot get to sleep – worry about sleep and worry about other things in life. Worry about sleep is particularly common (and frustrating!) Something that can really help with this, especially if it occurs intermittently, is to have a solid and relaxing bedtime routine. This helps slow the body and mind down so that it is ready for sleep. A hot/warm shower or bath before bed can help to trick the body into feeling sleepy as the cooling of temperature after being warm can make the body think it's getting sleepy, even if the mind isn't ready. Using relaxation just before bed – some use it when trying to fall asleep – can also help as it reduces the mental capacity for worry and relaxes the body at the same time. Some food for thought?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you for the advice. I agree about the bedtime routine – I try to stick to a healthy routine, but it's hard to be disciplined. I should try relaxation exercises – again discipline is the issue. I just wish I didn't have to make such a conscious effort about relaxing before bedtime! Anyway, thanks again.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    What I would say, though, is that it is more difficult at the start when we change any habits, however when it becomes routine, it will, by definition, not feel as effortful and simply be part of what you do at that time of day.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I guess that's true. I know I can still make progress on the bedtime routine front, so I'll keep trying. Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I have found that I am clenching my jaw just gently when I'm tired and anxious. It's nothing obvious, others wouldn't notice but I realise it's another symptom of anxiety. I have a busy life and things are generally good, family well and loving etc. I have had periods of drinking to ease the discomfort of anxiety but have cut alcohol out almost entirely now. I still would slide into drinking too much if I didn't really watch it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    I would try the relaxation strategies for this jaw clenching as it can help people distinguish between tension and relaxation much quicker if practised regularly. It's a good plan to cut out alcohol when working on sleep as it is known to affect sleep in a negative way.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for this discussion session – thanks for the posts and I will speak to you again soon! Take care.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
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    Graduate

    Thank you very much Dr. Creanor.

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