Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 17th January 2018

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 17th January, 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.

To keep up with new comments as they are posted you will need to refresh this discussion page.

To do this

On PC hit CTRL and R keys or the F5 key
On Mac hit CMD and R

Posted 11 Jan 2018 at 5:42 PM
  • 27 comments
  • 0 helped

Comments

Show older comments
  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Every night I wake up 3 or 4 times and take a while to go back to sleep, which means I don't sleep for many hours. Even if I am only in bed for 5 hours I still wake lots of times so I have had hardly slept at all. How can I change this pattern.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I’ve just graduated but almost immediately, my sleep problems have come back. I was getting between 5-6 hours most nights, but now I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep. I’m feeling despondent. I’m sticking to the rules, so why is this happening? Nothing has changed in terms of my life style or work. Should I reduce my sleep window? If so, would this be by 15 minutes a week (the same as increasing it)? Any other suggestions would be very welcome.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    Expert

    Hi and welcome to the live Sleepio session…let's begin…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    HI there,
    Thanks for your question. For those who find it hard to reach the morning rise time and experience early morning wakenings, it is important to look at what may be causing this. Sometimes lifestyle factors play a part – what we eat/drink (ie alcohol and caffeine can lead to disrupted sleep and early wakenings), whether we are experiencing stress or low mood (which also lead to early wakenings), but sometimes even an external noise at the same each morning wakes us out of our sleep without us realising it's happening.

    If the problem persists, it may also be helpful for people to shift their sleep window so that they go to bed earlier, in order to get more sleep before they naturally wake up early.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi.Sometimes I find it impossible to fall asleep despite getting up early,relaxation techniques,sleepio techniques I learnt in the course.I end up awake all night and then exhausted after a whole day of going to work.I don't want to use medication to resolve this as I don't see this as a long term solution.This is happening about once or twice a week.Do you have any suggestions how I can tackle this?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there – thanks for your questions. So first of all, I understand the concern about making meditation purely sleep-related. It is a person's choice as to whether they do it just at bedtime (your theory makes sense about keeping it for only that time) or at other times. What I would say is most important is that it is consistently kept as part of the routine at bedtime for those using it then, so that it is essentially telling the brain to wind down for bed, rather than done now and again at bedtime. As for progressive muscle relaxation, some people do find that this being done in bed helps them to drift off, so I would say this is perfectly OK.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Sorry to hear this. Often when people find it hard to fall asleep it is due to thoughts whizzing around in their heads. Making a note of these and tackling them at a time in the day not too close to bedtime (morning or early afternoon is best) can help. If it feels as if there may be an underlying anxiety or low mood that is keeping someone awake, it is important to seek help for this too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your question. Often, when people's insomnia strikes from no-where, it can be helpful to look closely at one's thoughts. Often these thoughts go under the radar but cause anxiety, leading to poor sleep. Common thoughts after periods of good sleep are, “I just know this good spell won't last” or “what if it comes back – I won't cope” etc. Often people in good spells of sleep anticipate the bad occurring and essentially bring it on themselves by way of these types of thoughts. Paying close attention to what we are thinking can, therefore, help what's causing the problem and this makes it easier to challenge using the techniques in the programme.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    thanks for your advice Dr Creanor.i have tried in the past writing thoughts on paper to try to take them out of my head but this approach doesn't seem to work for me. I think sometimes there maybe an underlying anxiety. I tried to refer myself for CBT but from answering the questionaire from my doctor's surgery my case wasn't deemed serious enough for CBT.I sometimes use meditation and CBT apps from my mobile phone instead. I am worried in the respect of my insomnia affecting my performance at work and distressing my family.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi – you're right, we all have to find a way that works for us. If I might suggest something that can help you rest and maintain better efficiency…upon wakening and not returning to sleep within 15 minutes, it may be helpful to have that hour's rest time outwith the bedroom, but still cosy in, perhaps, a blanket on the sofa. For people in similar positions, it may help keep the rest time without affecting sleep in the longer term.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – there is a techniques within the programme whereby one challenges one's thoughts – it's more than simply writing them down, but more a way to look at them rationally and generate alternatives. This is essentially the cognitive part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is very helpful for those negative thought patterns that can rule our lives sometimes. I would advise anyone who feel as if they need support for their anxiety to persist with their GP (or request to see another GP) to get that help.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI thanks for your post. The reason it is suggested to have no TV is so that the bedroom environment is kept free from external noises and influences and helps the person learn to sleep by themselves in that environment. A radio would fall into the same category, however none of these suggestions are mandatory and if someone feels this helps them drift off at night, it is up to them whether they continue with this or not.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there. When it comes to medications, it is crucial that the professional who prescribes them decides how and when a person reduces their dose. Unfortunately we cannot comment on medication issues due to this point, as giving personal advice on such matters without knowing the person and their medical history would be unsafe.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    First of all, well done on 100% efficiency!! Great result! As for sleep quality, it is my understanding that the programme measures this via self-report in the sleep diary – the question “how would you rate the quality of your sleep?”. Sleep quality tends to improve following improvement of sleep quantity, so it naturally catches up with itself as a person gets longer, less fragmented sleep. Having said this, we all have times in our lives when sleep quality worsens due to stress/low mood/lifestyle and dietary factors.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Is there anything the doctor could advise or refer to apart from CBT or medication to help with acute insomnia?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there, thanks for your post. I see you're a graduate, so it is all about going back to basics for people who still see this pattern, or have progressed but for some reason slip back in this pattern.It may help to look at all the previous techniques covered and take them one at a time again, giving each of them a chance like before. The obvious ones for those waking regularly throughout the night are the quarter hour rule and sleep restriction, along with all the others such as regular bedtime routines etc. I hope this helps…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It depends what is available in that part of the world, however CBT is regarded as the treatment of choice for insomnia in the UK.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    I'm sorry to hear this has happened. Our sleep can be disrupted for a number of reasons and sometimes it's hard to work out why it has changed. Underlying anxiety is a common cause and it can affect our thoughts very quickly, creating a problem around sleep. Going back to the basics and re-doing all the techniques in the same way as before, but taking time with it, not necessarily doing them all at once, can help. Essentially, though, re-calculating the sleep window will be important for people in this situation. Calculating how much sleep is being had on average per night then adding all these bits of fragmented sleep together gives you the amount one needs to be starting out with again for sleep restriction. Then working out what one's sleep window will be (setting a bedtime and sleep time) and being consistent with this, while monitoring sleep efficiency, will be key.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    Expert

    Sorry – last post should have said “setting a bedtime and rise time” rather than bedtime and sleep time!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    Expert

    That's all for today – thanks for the posts and questions and I will speak to you again soon.

Return to top