Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 13th December 2017

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 13th December, from 8:15 to 9:45pm British Time or 3:15 to 4:45pm US Eastern Standard 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.

Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor will not be able to give personal medical advice, including that concerning 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. 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.

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Posted 7 Dec 2017 at 2:09 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – thank you so much for raising this and bringing it to our attention. I will look into it and raise the issue with our social media team. Much appreciated!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    What you describe is a hugely significant part of poor sleep for many people. The effort involved in trying to sleep actually has the reverse effect on the outcome…the more people try to sleep, the less likely they will fall asleep easily. Across the 6 weeks of the course, there are many techniques on offer for people to try and help themselves lose the effort in sleeping in order to help it become a more passive experience in the future.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    As well as not sleeping long enough… I am an incredibly light sleeper and wake up at the slightest thing. Does being a light sleeper mean that the quality of sleep you do have is poor? ... Or the wrong kind of sleep? With sleepio I am learning how to be more sleep efficant… But not to sleep deeper How do I become a deeper sleeper? Or is that irrelevant? Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for getting in touch and for your question.

    Interestingly, we usually have our deepest sleep at the beginning of the night and it's usually harder to be woken during the first third of the night. What may be happening if one wakes in the earlier part of the night and finds it harder to get back to sleep then is possibly due to background noise. There is likely to be more movement around us earlier in the night (traffic/other people moving around etc) compared to the early hours of the morning. Once we focus on external noises, it can be harder to get back to sleep and then thoughts creep in about not being able to sleep…and the cycle begins. I wonder if this may be a factor here?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi, I have just started the program and am awaiting the sleep restriction advice. Am a bit worried as if, given my sleep diary I am will be allowed to spend 31/2 hours in bed – I do wonder how I am to do my job during the day? I am a university lecturer.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – thanks for your question. There are many parts of sleep being targeted by techniques used in Sleepio. These techniques help people to work on their sleep to improve various elements of sleep – longer time asleep across the night, more efficient sleep, deeper sleep and overall better quality sleep. It all really goes hand in hand and the techniques actually target all these things. For those who are light sleepers, getting into regular routines can help as this allows the body to settle into a pattern so that all types of sleep can occur across the night. This is important as we need light and deep sleep – and dream sleep – for different things (ie learning).

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there. Although Sleepio does use sleep restriction as one of its main techniques, it is still very much a self-help package, so it is important that people decide whether a certain technique is for them or not, depending on various factors in their current lifestyle. If sleep restriction is in any way dangerous for someone (ie if they are often driving for work) or impractical, it is worth making this decision about its use. Some people find it helpful to talk to a clinician who knows them well to help talk these decisions through with them.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – this is an interesting question. We often find that people who struggle with sleep have big emotions around the topic. And good sleepers either have positive emotion around sleep – or a neutral stance on the subject. The way we think about sleep is a key point in terms of how well we sleep. If there is anxiety around the subject, it will have a negative impact on a person's sleep. Sleepio contains some techniques to help people challenge their negative thinking around sleep, but there are also behavioural techniques which help weaken the negative association people have built up between bed/bedtime and sleep…look out for the quarter hour rule as this is key in improving this association. Usually as sleep improves, people's emotions around it change too, thus helping improve it even further for the future.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for your question. Sorry you're struggling just now. Unfortunately, there are times when sleep improvements do take longer – and this is dependent on many factors and varies from person to person. What I have suggested to people who have struggled for longer than they'd hoped with less improvement than expected, is to go back to session one and take the techniques on board one week at a time, concentrating on each week's points in turn. Going back to basics can be helpful in terms of working out which parts of that person's sleep problem needs most attention. Hope that helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Welcome to Sleepio! There can be many things that wake us up during the early hours…external noises, anxious dreams, underlying anxiety/stress/depression, medication, hormonal changes. And many more. Sleepio will, over the 6 weeks, cover some self-help strategies that people can use to help them tackle their sleep in many ways, including those early morning wakenings. I hope you find them useful!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    hi Dr Vicki; i'm 3 months into the programme and suddenly these 2 weeks have awakened early in the night, sleep lasting 4 hours and then wide awake.

    I've gotten into a quite anxious state as a result. mainly as i feel that 4 hours isn't sufficient and has to be damaging my health. Any advice appreciated

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for getting in touch. Sleepio contains techniques for people to try if they wish to change various elements of their sleep. Many people choose to sleep in one chunk through the night as this fits with their lifestyle and there are tips within Sleepio for people to try to help with this. However, it is always up to the individual as to how they wish to structure their sleep so it's important for people to make their own choices about this in order for them to gain the most from Sleepio's hints and tips.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your post. First of all, I'm sorry to hear you're struggling at the moment.

    I have spoken to many people within the live sessions over the years who have found sleep restriction very difficult. There is no doubt it is it probably the part that everyone struggles most with. However it it also the technique that often has the most success. But how long someone does sleep restriction varies. Some people see success more quickly than others while other people need to work at it for longer. And sleep does become disrupted during this phase, which is why people often find it very hard.

    It can be tough, but it needs to be a personal decision as to whether someone persists with it or not. Sometimes talking to someone who knows you well can help with this decision.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and welcome to Sleepio! During the next 6 weeks, you'll be introduced to various techniques and tips that people have found helpful in improving their sleep – this includes getting to sleep faster. So rather than there being one answer here, it is more helpful to follow the programme and use the strategies outlines to support you in getting your sleep back on track.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for getting in touch. When there is a sudden change to someone's sleep, it's worth thinking about what has been going on in the daytime hours that might have had an impact…is there an increase in stress, has there been a significant change to lifestyle, have there been dietary changes etc. But as always, when people feel that they are becoming more anxious and this is recognised, we would always advise seeking support for this from a trained clinician who can work with that person individually. It is also worth knowing that there are some techniques within Sleepio that can help people reduce anxiety, such as the relaxation strategies.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    There are many reasons for wakening up in the middle of the night – sometimes it's due to external noises, underlying anxiety/stress/medical reasons, medication side effects as you point out, dietary changes etc. The list goes on, however I think it's always wise for people to consult a GP after sudden changes to rule out medical issues. Not sure if the doctor you mention was a GP or psychiatrist, but I think it's always good practice to see a GP in these circumstances, as well as having a think about any other possible contributing factors. Usually looking for change of any sort during the waking hours is key. Hope that helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello and thanks for your post,
    The general rule of thumb is to increase the window when sleep efficiency increases to approx 90%...what people often find is that sleep quality improves naturally as a result of improvements elsewhere.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there. There is often a personal choice, but it is helpful if people can use bed for sleep and sex exclusively, to strengthen the association between bed and good sleep. Sometimes these techniques will suggest using them in bed and this is up to the person as to when they do this – from the start or after their sleep has improved somewhat and the association is already strengthening. I appreciate this can be confusing, however. Perhaps it is something to raise with the wider Sleepio team.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello there,
    This is quite similar to the previous post, and it is always a personal choice as to which bits of advice people choose to follow, however what we tend to say is that the bed should only be used for sleeping and sexual activity, this all other activities – reading, watching TV – should be done elsewhere. The theory behind this is that, any time we are awake and in bed (reading, watching TV, trying to fall asleep) the association between sleep and our bed weakens. What we want to do is strengthen this and improve our sleep efficiency (making sure any time in bed is spent asleep). Following this advice will make a difference to the sleep calculations in the diary, too.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for all the posts today – that's the session finished for this time – speak to you again soon!

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