Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 16th June 2021

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 16th June 2021, from 8.15pm to 9.45pm British Time or 3.15pm to 4.45pm 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 Creanor 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 10 Jun 2021 at 5:29 PM
  • 16 comments
  • 2 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hello. My name is Wendy and I have had disturbed sleep for years. Since my stroke last November, even though it was cause unknown, and what was described as a small stroke, I seem to wake up habitually every night. I don`t understand why, and always have a dry mouth on wakening, and so the vicious circle of drink of water and then next wake up call, bathroom visit, and a sip of water. I usually get back to sleep quite quickly, but then I`m awake with the birds in the morning, but refuse to get up then, and doze off again. I get out of bed, usually about eight because of medication, and try to leave going to bed around eleven, and try to adhere to that, although on occasion, I do, if I feel particularly tired, rest a while. I try not to sleep during the evening, and have been successful of late, but last night I just slipped into a short snooze, which then made it difficult to get to sleep. Iv`e changed the curtains to thicker ones, dropped one pillow to bring my head down, and turned off the TV. Iv`e done the relaxing of the body exercise, taken myself to a happy place routine, relaxed during the evening, and don`t know what else to do. Last night my kind was a busy street for some reason, and so I will try again tonight with the advice given. I do find that keeping to six hours in bed is impossible, as my body needs to rest, even if I don`t sleep, as tiredness post stroke is not just mental, but a physical experience. I`m going away on Monday till Friday, and so I won`t be able to attend the open slot, but maybe you would be able to advise further as to any instruction given in general. I have heard that some of the meds that i`m on may have an effect on sleep, that being the statin, and await an appointment with the pharmacist to reduce it. Lets see if that will help. Many thanks. Wendy.*

  • Sleepio Member

    • 22 comments
    • 16 helped
    Graduate

    Dear Dr Creanor,

    Could I ask a couple of questions about the link between sleep, anxiety and health-related thoughts?

    I am having increased problems at the moment with anxiety about falling asleep. One of the sources of this anxiety is about the effects of sleep deprivation on health. In general I have found that the Thought Checker is a useful tool, but am struggling with it in respect of this particular thought. If my troubling thought is that “lack of sleep is going to have a bad effect on my health” the only response I can think of is “well yes, that’s correct’! I have tried reframing this as “I am taking positive steps to tackle my sleep problems”, but that doesn’t seem to help much when I am in the middle of a sleepless night. Can you suggest any ways of thinking about this problem that might take the emotional heat out of it? I think it is partly the emotional heat that is causing the completely sleepless nights.

    Secondly, I know that sleep quality is much more important than sleep quantity, but there are many references on prominent NHS web pages to the importance of getting between six and nine hours sleep. Despite my attempts to avoid obsessing over numbers, I can't seem to help paying attention to the 'six to nine' numbers, and getting anxious that my regular pattern seems to be less than six. If one's sleep average is around (say) five hours, could it be that this is sufficient, as long as the quality feels high? Or is there something significant about achieving a minimum of six? Since the 'six to nine' reference seems to be the very clear and persistent message coming from the NHS, I can't seem to help giving it attention. Do you have any advice about this?

    Thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Good evening (from the UK!) and welcome to this week's live Sleepio session. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any burning Qs about Sleepio or sleep in general. Look forward to hearing from you! I see there are a couple Qs waiting so I'll go to these now…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Wendy,

    Thank you for getting in touch. Listening to your report of what's going on, it sounds as if you're doing many things to help your sleep just now. They all seem appropriate in terms of helping poor sleep. When anyone has a history of a neurological event such as a stroke, it's really important to consult with the relevant health professionals about what is best re sleep, as it can change the standard advice we offer here. You also mention that you're on medication – we know that there is often an interaction between meds and sleep, so that's good you're consulting with the pharmacist on this issue.

    But in terms of wakening up in the night, it does sound as if you are getting back to sleep quickly. It is normal to wake up during the night (and the likelihood of this may increase after strokes). So my advice would be to follow any specific post-stroke sleep advice from the professionals in this area, but also to see these wakenings as normal. One we stop pathologising things like this, it can have a huge impact on the anxiety we feel around it.

    I hope that makes sense.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi there, I’m Tara in the uk. I’ve been feeling particularly bad about a real yo yoing sleep pattern. I’ve always struggled with falling asleep but not really waking in the night and if I do, I often can go back to sleep.

    My question is that my Fitbit has entered data into the Sleepio. And records micromovements in the night often totalling to an hour when I could not have recorded that i wake if I were to enter Sleepio data manually. What has happened is that it reports that I have an average of 6 hours sleep, not around 7 because it counts these movements as awakenings (8plus etc).

    So now Prof has recommended a sleep window of 6 hours and I’m dying. I’m not entirely sure what to do. Do I edge it to what it should be. Keep at it for the full 6 weeks and then increment it forward like I remember someone saying (maybe the prof, I’m a bit sleep addled at the moment)…. So yes… any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Tara

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there and thanks for your post. I'm sure there are many people out there experiencing similar things as this is very common. Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming when we read so much info on the things we fear, such as poor sleep and the links to poor health. Our brains are more tuned into the info that we deem important/scary. So one thing you could do is aim to reduce time spent on these websites, as it doesn't seem to be helping.

    But you're right, it can be hard to come up with an alternative, more helpful belief when we're so tied into a negative one and all we see is 'evidence' to support it around us. I think your approach is a good one, though – it is true you are doing a lot to help your sleep. This is within your control. Sometimes when things are outwith our control, getting into a battle of thoughts makes the issue worse. So another way to look at it is this:

    What are your values? They may be working as much as you can towards good health, or having a focus on improving your mental health. Does your current behaviour move towards or away from those values? And what are you already doing to move towards them. What can you do more of to move towards them?

    Think about it like a tug of war with your desire for good sleep. The more you tug, the more tired you get, but nothing is moving towards your values as you're stuck in this battle and you can't move. What if you dropped the rope? The poor sleep will still be there, but your focus can now move towards what's important instead.

    Another way to look at it, but it can be helpful when you feel quite stuck.

    Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Something I meant to add to the last post was that, as we focus less on the issue of poor sleep and on our values, often the sleep improves too as there is less of a focus/effort involved.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Tara,

    Thanks for raising this issue as it comes up now and again. I always say go with the data you think is accurate, even if different from your device. You can get in touch with the team (hello@sleepio.com) to request that the data is altered and I believe they can help do this.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Ok great, thanks! I’ll do that. At the moment, I’ve stuck at it to a T and needless to say I’m literally passing out at the right moment so sleep percentage thingy is great!. Trouble is I’m just a touch too tired at work but I am going in and I’m keeping up my exercise and generally behaving as if I am not sleep deprived. I’m just not sure how long I can last!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It would be up to you then as to whether, if your sleep efficiency is high, this is an opportunity for you to stick with it and increase the sleep window when you reach the target (I believe it's 90%) by 15 mins. But if you feel you are getting less sleep than you're supposed to, feel free to get in touch with them :)

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Well I did wonder whether to stick with it to the end and then increase it by 15 mins…. One week. And then another 15 mins the next etc until wither I reached a good optimum compromise or reach the 7 hours that I would have recorded if the ‘wakings’ had it been recorded as such?

    I also wondered whether to just go with a compromise of half an hour earlier than suggested? And see how I go.

    I just worried that the Prof would record that I hadn’t stuck to my alotted window and then spin off into some different advice than if I had kept to the window?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    I'd say if you're worried about that, to get in touch with the team so that it all matches up for you. Then it will feel more consistent if you choose to alter things from your end.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Ok will do, thanks that’s great!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 22 comments
    • 16 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many thanks indeed Dr Creanor. This really helps to being me back to the fundamentals. Much appreciated,
    Ellen

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    You're welcome :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's us for this session. Thanks for the great Qs tonight – speak to you all again soon.

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