Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 14th June 2017

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 14th June, 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. 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 8 Jun 2017 at 4:19 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    There are a few questions similar to this this evening, actually, which is interesting. The reason we suggest sticking to this schedule and compressing all the fragments of sleep together into one block is to help people cut out all the time they lie in bed trying to sleep, but not sleeping (thus experiencing negative thoughts, symptoms etc)...all these little bits of time not sleeping really do create a negative link between bed and sleep, making it harder to sleep in general. By going into this routine straight away, it tends to compliment all the other techniques we teach around good sleep hygiene and how to deal with wakenings/thoughts etc, as it would potentially undermine any other work being done if people were still spending a lot of time lying in bed not sleeping and getting frustrated about it. Hope that makes sense.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Sorry I ended that reply before answering the second part of your question…if the schedule was less strict, it would, I imagine, take much longer to see improvements. As for timing though, some people prefer to work on their sleep when they know they have a good run at it and don't have to travel/cross time zones, which can also play havoc with sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks you for sharing your success story and well done for improving your sleep – it sounds as if it has changed your life significantly. This is an interesting question. The reason we tend to suggest that people restrict their sleep in the manner we do is to increase the chance of success in terms of instantly taking away all the bits of the night that people stay in bed while awake – this is one of the most significant factors that keeps insomnia going, so we like to remove it straight away.

    I take you point, though, about it being too much for some people, depending on their circumstances. It is the hardest part of the programme for most people. However, we have lots of evidence that doing it in this immediate way is very effective and gets very good results. I'm not sure how much evidence there is for doing it in a gradual way, but perhaps there is a space here for some research….

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    Thanks for your post. An interesting question, that is more complex than it looks! In the age of digital medicine, there is clearly a desire for people to utilise technology for their health needs. It's often more accessible at the times of day that suit, some people prefer talking to people they cannot see and some people prefer the flexibility that comes via this method. Some people, however, may struggle with technology or prefer face to face support. In summary, both modes of treatment will appeal to different people for different reasons and thus how effective the treatment is for them may depend on these factors, too. There have been studies done by Sleepio on effectiveness though if you are keen to know more about the findings (I don't know them off the top of my head) – if you email hello@sleepio.com and ask for this info, someone should be able to help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    If any treatment programme isn't effective for someone, my suggestion would always be to seek advice on the next steps from that person's GP/family doctor, to see 1. whether there are other ongoing factors that are preventing success, or 2. to signpost them to another line of treatment.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for your question. This is a very common experience for those with poor sleep. This “second wind” is usually anxiety kicking in as bedtime approaches. Similarly to something I mentioned earlier tonight in response to another person, if we lie awake a lot of the night trying to get to sleep, but failing to do so, our minds connect bed/bedtime/our bedroom with negativity rather than peaceful sleep, so around bedtime, many of us start to become anxious at the prospect of another poor night's sleep. This second wind is likely Adrenalin pumping through your body and making you suddenly more alert. The techniques within the programme that squeeze all the bits of sleep together (sleep restriction) as well as relaxation and a good wind down routine can all help to reduce this effect.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    I see that you're in session 1 so far, so welcome to the programme. Many people ask this question when they start and are reassured by knowing that one of the techniques within the programme (known as the 'quarter hour rule') is specifically designed for targeting this problem – what to do when we wake up in the middle of the night. It will be explained at session 2 or 3 I believe…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    Nightmares in adults are actually often a symptom of underlying anxiety or other mental health problems, even if it seems that they are unrelated. In the complete absence of mental ill health, though, certain medications and recreational drugs can also cause nightmares as side effects. I would suggest anyone experiencing these to speak to their GP/family doctor in the first instance to seek advice. In terms of sleep, trying to create a calming and consistent bedtime routine, incorporating relaxation techniques at bedtime and throughout the day and keeping sleep times as consistent as possible may also help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am trying really hard but getting increasingly depressed by the sleep restriction techniques as once I am up there is zero chance of me getting sleepy again. I become very distressed and lonely. I guess this just doesn't work for me but I am now feeling utterly hopeless and my experience of sleepio has been one of utter dejection. It's wrong to give people false hope that this can help them.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
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    Graduate

    I am trying really hard but getting increasingly depressed by the sleep restriction techniques as once I am up there is zero chance of me getting sleepy again. I become very distressed and lonely. I guess this just doesn't work for me but I am now feeling utterly hopeless and my experience of sleepio has been one of utter dejection. It's wrong to give people false hope that this can help them.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    First of all, welcome to Sleepio! This sounds interesting and sounds as if you have identified a significant factor that's maintaining the insomnia. Sleepio won't specifically target issues around eating during the night but it is likely to be able to help with night time wakenings themselves..what might need to be done for anyone with similar drives to eat during the night is to do the programme as taught, but at the same time reduce the size of snack eaten during the night gradually over a period of time in order to then (eventually) teach the body that it is no longer required, while using the Sleepio techniques to get back to sleep quickly.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I notice that you are on session 3 so have likely just started sleep restriction? What I can say is that many people within the Sleepio community have felt very similar to this when sleep restriction is commenced. It's by far the hardest part of the programme and the bit that most people feel they want to quit. I know this from talking to them through these sessions over the years – it's very, very common to detest sleep restriction! However it is also known to be one of the most effective ways to get people back to good sleep again, it just takes time. However, having said that, it may not be the right time for some people and if they feel their mood is slipping and they feel depressed, it is important to seek support for this via their GP/family doctor – sleep reatriction can be put on pause if it's just not the right time to do it for someone.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Well done for all the work you've put in so far. Many people ask us how to get rid of the one or two wakes in the night, however it's really important to know that this is actually 'normal' for us humans and good sleepers tend to wake once or twice a night. So my advice to those trying to eradicate this last wake would be – don't try to, as it's perfectly natural. In fact, acceptance that this is actually typical of a good sleeper's night can help us not worry about it anymore, The main thing is that the person manages to get back to sleep quickly, just as a good sleeper would.

    As for the tiredness during the day, getting fresh air (even standing by the window in the evening) can really help and even the use of caffeine in the morning can have an effect later in the day (although we advise not too much as this can keep us up!). Also, talking to people rather than watching TV can be more helpful to keep up up until our scheduled bedtime.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Sounds as if your fellow community member has a good suggestion for more info on this topic. There is a longstanding connection between our bodies seeking more carbs/sugar when tired or when our moods are low, so there is some link between eating and poor sleep. There is also an effect though when people are anxious (a common side effect of insomnia) whereby appetite is reduced, so eating can be affected in different ways by poor sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    just a few more minutes of this session left if anyone has any more questions?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    that's all for this session – thanks for the great questions – speak to you next week.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you Dr Creanor.

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Graduate

    Hi RosieDee, thank you for that, I will try and see what i can get. I like his documentaries. Am in South Africa so not sure about catch up, but thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Dear Dr Creanor,
    Thank you so much for this advice, I very much appreciate the support.
    Rene

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi I am in week 4. In week 3 I was seeing improvements and was attaining the 90% sleep efficiency. Week 4 isn't going so well. I wake up at least an hour before I should be. I try the QHR but don't end up getting back to sleep. Any advice?

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