Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 15th April

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 15th April, 8.15pm-9.45pm BST.

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Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:14 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    May you please explain how it is possible to change the circadian cycle? I tend to go to bed at 1am, that is the time I feel sleepy, and then, I woke up at 9am. This is terrible because I should get up at 6 am! Logically I should go to bed early, but I do not feel sleepy before that time. I always set my clock alarm at 6am but I do not hear it, I ask my husband to wake me up which he does, but It does not work. I do not hear the alarm neither my husband. I want to become an early riser so I can do all activities I need to do during my day, be punctual and avoid rushing to get to a place because I am behind the schedule. I appreciate your help. Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 38 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor; When up at night and utilizing the QHR , for example let's say you were up for an hour, how do you enter that on the sleepio diary as time up but not really spent in bed(this would affect the sleep efficiency calculation)?
    My second question is how to best prepare for jet lag if you are flying to a destination where the clock is ahead of your regular time (say 3hrs ahead or 8hrs ahead)? Thanks lew

  • Sleepio Member

    • 25 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor. I've been having some good nights sleep, but it's been getting more and more broken during the night. It's still in the 90%+ SE but I'm wondering if I should restrict my sleep window again to see if that will iron it out. But then again I could just be being fussy since it's not having a negative effect… yet.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1323 comments
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    Expert

    Hello and welcome to the live web session where people can ask questions about the psychology of sleep and about the technicalities of the Sleepio methods. Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 47 comments
    • 17 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor,

    Overall, I have had good success with this program. I still struggle with waking between 2 and 3 am on some night . I am very good about following the QHR and can usually get back to sleep after reading a page or two of a book. So, is there any reason my body/mind is doing this if they are really not be rewarded for it? Will this eventually be “conditioned” away?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi glider guy,
    Thanks for your post. I'm pleased to hear you've had such success with the programme. In terms of waking once a night, I think it's always important for people to know that this is very normal. Often when I've worked with people who are suffering from insomnia, then get back on track with their sleep, they can become distressed about these brief wakenings as they tend to aim for a perfect, unbroken sleep. But it is normal to wake once or twice during the night – good sleepers tend to do this. I would ask a couple of things if it is bothering you, though: 1) do you wake up anxious/needing the loo/feeling different in any other way and 2) what would happen if you turned over and relaxed into sleep again, rather than reaching for your book?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Betty21, it sounds as if you are experiencing a problem in the 'sleep-bed connection'. When you experience insomnia, you tend to be spending a lot of time in bed but not asleep – time spent in bed where you feel anxious, frustrated, distressed – lots of negative emotions. Thus, your brain starts to make connections with your bed and negative feelings. As such, you can be feeling exhausted and sleepy, yet when you go to your bed, your brain sends signals to your body to tell it to be alert as it feels threatened and anxious, due to the associations previously made. This is why the QHR and sleep restriction are so important in breaking this association and increasing the link between bed and positivity and sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI biddyp,
    Thanks for your post. I can sense your frustration. I'm curious about your rebellion at 10.30pm though – if it's usually hard to get to bed before 11.30pm, what helped the other night? Is it something you can use again?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 47 comments
    • 17 helped
    Graduate

    Dr. Creanor – as for question number 1…sometimes it will be an abrupt awaking – especially if I have a busy day coming up (and there is no doubt that it happens more on work nights) -on other nights -it is more that my eyes just drift open. As for the second question -- maybe I should just ride it out and not be so eager to get out of bed and read.

    Your point about expecting perfect sleep is well taken. I think my fellow travelers on this road will attest that we become hyper sensitive to normal small bumps in the road.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi waashat,
    It's my understanding that lucid dreaming is a phenomenon where you are dreaming but you are aware of it in consciousness – you are essentially awake but dreaming. It's usually confusing for people and they report not knowing if they are awake or asleep. I am aware that there are some self-help tools out there that use this as a treatment for nightmare-type dreams but I am not aware of the clinical evidence behind this idea.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Absolutely! You've spent so long thinking about – and so much effort working on – your sleep that this is inevitable, but it's usually reassuring to know – and remember – that a couple wakenings a night is normal and expected.

    You can use the anxiety-reduction tools and challenging thoughts tools for the abrupt wakenings (for example setting time aside in the afternoon to go through things you're worried about). As for the second issue, I would try just relaxing back into sleep in case you start becoming conditioned to wakening up to read during the night – does that make sense? If you automatically reach for the book rather than relaxing for 15 mins in bed, you may be training yourself to wake up to read.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 47 comments
    • 17 helped
    Graduate

    It does makes sense – thanks for such a clear answer – just need to go with the flow a little more. Have a good evening, Doc.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi hechel,
    This is a really frustrating problem for people like yourselves who tend to be informally known as night owls! Left to their own schedule, most wouldn't describe having a sleep problem, but modern society dictates that work/school starts at 9am and the world starts kicking off around that time!

    Treatment for something we call Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (when you naturally get sleepy later and thus wake later in the morning/early afternoon) may include lifestyle changes like making your environment more positive for sleep (darker at night, quieter etc) but also things such as reducing caffeine during the day and sticking to regular schedules to slowly start altering the times at which you feel tired. Some people use ‘bright light therapy’ to help to reset their body clock – this uses controlled exposure to strong light levels shortly after awakening. Some people also find medication helpful, such as melatonin, to regulate their sleep times.

    Hope this is helpful – there is a related article in the library if you search for 'circadian'.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Lew,
    Thanks for your post and questions. In terms of your sleep diary, you should enter the number of times you were awake in a night and how long these wakenings lasted. In terms of jetlag, it's usually recommended that you get into the rhythm of the new times as quickly as possible – eat when locals would eat, sleep at the 'new' nightime for the new timezone. This helps get you into the new times quickly. There's an article about this in the library titled, “I'm going on holiday. Should I stop the Sleepio course and techniques?” – it's worth a look for some tips!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Daluvd,
    Sorry to hear this is happening. I'm curious as to what might have led to the worsening of the solid sleep…more stress, lifestyle factors etc? THis may be worthwhile thinking about to see what you can alter and therefore help it? You can go back to sleep restriction when you feel your sleep is more broken…and it's great you realised this is the right technique to try again. That's the benefit of knowing how to do these techniques now – sometimes you'll have to use them again to quickly resolve a blip and that's normal. SR is set up to minimise the breaks we experience in our sleep across the night so it's appropriate to use this again when needed.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 25 comments
    • 7 helped
    Graduate

    Not sure why it's happening now, I don't feel any more stressed, it just seems to be creeping up over the last week. It's not like I feel frustrated from it either. It may be just a very long blip and I'm just being over sensitive. I just hope it doesn't get any worst. Thanks Dr.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It may just be the natural ups and downs of sleep – that good sleepers experience too – but, as you say, you will probably be more likely to notice the variance after having analysed your sleep for so long.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 25 comments
    • 7 helped
    Graduate

    I'll give it another 7 days before trying anything then. It's good to know that I can control it now thanks to this course instead of panicking that I'll be a sleep deprived zombie.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1323 comments
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    Expert

    We have 10 mins left of the session – any more questions out there?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1323 comments
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    Expert

    thanks for all the questions and posts everyone – speak to you all soon!

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