Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 17th March 2021

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 17th March 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 12 Mar 2021 at 10:47 PM
  • 21 comments
  • 9 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr. Creanor,

    I've noticed the last couple of nights I'm waking up in the middle of the night extremely thirsty. I'm able to fall back asleep straight after I have a drink of water but I'd like to avoid getting so thirsty at all. If I want to drink more water later in the day and my bedtime is 11pm, what time should I stop drinking liquids to prevent dehydration setting in but also so I don't need to go to the bathroom in the night?

    Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 63 comments
    • 18 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Just to tell you what i do while you are waiting for expert advice . . .

    You have to find your personal sweet spot. For me it is a minimum of 8 × 8 ounce liquids. This is a bit less than a liter. I include all my tea and milk. I stop two hours before bed. This way i get up only once for the bathroom and get back to sleep quickly. Some recommend stopping much earlier, even five hours before bed, but then I’m too thirsty to sleep. I’ve had to stop the chamomile 1/2 hour before sleep as it’s too disruptive.

    For me hydrating properly is part of good sleep hygiene and it starts when i wake up.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Dipping my toe in here too LSH 80))
    I actually take a drink to bed with me every night. It’s there – just in case or if I start coughing which I do every now and again. I have cups of tea during the day until 4.30 pm then only have cool water.
    I go through a two litre bottle of water from 4.30 pm onwards (but OH has two glasses from that same bottle – the rest is mostly me.)
    I have frequent drinks and visits to the loo, up until I get changed and ready for bed and nip to the loo again at 10.15-10.30ish…then have sips or during wind down if I need them, but make sure I go to the loo to empty my bladder again before I sneak up to bed. I hardly ever have to go again in the night.
    Before I started sleepio – I was getting up one or two nights a week for a pit stop – but I told myself that as I’m in my fifties – I should be able to go through the night and not have to get up!! I’m not 5 years old!! I sort of coerced myself into sleeping through the need for pit stops! (Obviously I wouldn’t recommend this if you think you have a bladder problem – if you think there is a difficulty – give your GP a call.). We are all so different though – just make sure there’s no underlying problem.
    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor,. I am fit and well 64 year old senior doctor. I have sleeping problems almost all my life. After major life event 6 years ago, I have the problem not only getting to sleep but also getting up so early no matter what I do. I tried various sleeping tablets, tranquilizers, Melatonin up to 10mg SR, 5HTP, black seed oil, antidepressants. lavender oil and Sodium succinate. Some with temporary success others none. I don't have any signs of anxiety or tension and I am no longer suffering from depression. I go to work sometimes with only 2-3 hours sleep and find it difficult to cope. I could not try week 3 sleepio programme as I am sure I won't be able to go back to sleep at all as I had 3 days with no sleep at all in the past. As I am growing older there is no way I can cope with this particularly with my type of work. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you very much

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 5 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, I'm currently about to finish week 2 and have a few questions:

    1) if I delay the start of implementing the recommended SR for week 3 (my kid is coming home from college for a week and I'm not sure I want to start this while he's home), how does that impact the program? I assume I will just continue to maintain my sleep diary daily but if I'm not following the recommended routine immediately, I'm just curious how it impacts subsequent week recommendations from The Prof, etc.

    2) similar to what someone else posted to their profile, I sleep well the first 4 – 6 hrs depending on the night, but after that I wake up but am not necessarily wide awake, so I have a hard time really estimating if I've been awake 15 minutes (I think I drift into a state of very light but not refreshing sleep). How do I best deal with this? Should I just automatically get out of bed when I first awake after 4 – 5 hrs?

    3) Finally, if I'm getting much more light sleep them REM/deep sleep, will the SR help reduce the light sleep and cause more REM and deep sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Dr Creanor,

    My sleep problems began when my baby started sleeping through the night about 6 months ago. As his sleep slowly got better, mine steadily got worse… you really couldn't make it up!

    I am on week 4 and struggling in a number of ways but my main question for now is about my sleep window. The Prof gave me 5 hours and initially suggested the times 10.30pm – 3.30am, I'm assuming based on my previous sleep. The thought of waking up at that time filled me with dread so I changed it to 12.30am and I have been setting my alarm for 6am (more than 5 hours I know!). My best sleep is early on in the night, and I am often tossing and turning from about 3/4am onwards. In the evening I am very tired, and falling asleep watching TV or even when I'm doing yoga from about 10am onwards. Based on this, I was wondering whether I should be moving my sleep window forward ie. 11am – 4am?

    I know that if I ever reach the 90% target (ha!) then I can go to bed 15 minutes earlier, however is there ever a time I would look to move the time I get up any later? I definitely don't want to start my day at 4am for longer than necessary!

    Thanks in advance,
    Rachael

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hello,
    I am in week three, sleep restriction. I watch TV for an hour and a half before bed and I am struggling to stay awake during this time. I think I am nodding off as I am missing some bits in the films. When I get to bed I fall sleep ok. What can I do to avoid this? I am trying to avoid stimulating activities. I fear that this momentary nodding off may be using up my tiredness hence my sleep pattern/ times awake continue to be the same except that I am in bed less time hence I am more tired during the day.
    Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor,

    I took part in another programme with sleep restriction before I came to sleepio. The programme was successful in that I got rid of long breaks during the night without sleep. Unfortunately I still don´t get enough sleep per night because now I tend to wake up very early in the morning (at about 4 am). This results in about 5 hours sleep per night. During the day I feel tired quite often and tend to fall asleep in inapt situations. Sleep apnea has been ruled out by two different sleep laboratories. I assume I should have at least 6 hours sleep per night to be alert all day long. I need to make an improvement desperately!

    Should I observe any special precautions during the sleepio programme or just follow the routine instructions?

    Thank you!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hi and welcome to this week's live Sleepio discussion session. I'm Dr Creanor, clinical psychologist – I work with people with sleep problems as well as many other mental health problems. I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any Qs you may have about sleep or the Sleepio programme. As per guidelines, I can't provide any specific health advice and any medication queries should be raised with your personal medical doctors. Please feel free to get in touch!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Great question – thanks for getting in touch. It can feel as if the easiest, most intuitive thing to do is just sleep on the futon, right? However, the reason you are falling asleep more easily on the futon is likely because you do not have any negative associations between that place and sleep, so if you're tired, you ease into sleep there very naturally. In your bedroom, however, you will probably have built up a negative association between there and sleep. It will be associated with many nights of restlessness and tension – and struggles to sleep.

    So, the purpose of the quarter hour rule and – when you come to it – sleep restriction – is to form a better association between your bed and sleep. So, keep returning to bed and avoid sleeping on the futon. Over time, by squeezing out the non sleep from your bedroom, you will be able to fall asleep more quickly in bed and the association will become more positive, thus enabling sleep even more in that location.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there and thanks for your question. As has been suggested by your fellow 'Sleepio-ers', there is no hard and fixed amount of fluids you should/shouldn't have. It really is different for everyone as there are many factors at play. We do recommend that people don't drink fluids too close to bedtime and go to the loo just before bed, but in terms of exact timings and amounts that suit to ensure no dehydration, this is something that may require trial and error. I might also suggest looking at diet – if it's particularly salty, this will affect thirst at night. Also look at the heat in the house – if it's too warm, you may wake up thirsty. And of course, if the problem persists and seems like a new issue, it might be worth talking to your GP about it, just to rule out any underlying biological causes.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Andrew,

    I'm sorry to hear things are difficult just now. In your line of work, where it is important to get enough rest, it might be one of those situations where naps during the day are needed if sleep is not achieved at night. We tend to recommend this if your job or actions such as driving could put yourself or others at risk through exhaustion.

    If sleep restriction seems too overwhelming, sleep compression therapy can be an alternative. This is when someone gradually reduces the time they spend in bed until they reach their average period of sleep time. So for example, if someone was in bed for 7 hours but only sleeping 5, they would gradually reduce the 7 hours – by 15 mins a week – to 5 hours. Then, they would gradually increase the time back up each time they reached 90% efficiency (sleeping for 90% of the time in bed). This is a more gentle approach to sleep restriction and may help increase sleep time but over a longer period.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch with these Qs.

    First of all, it's OK to pause the programme if this is what you wish while your child is home – simply email hello@sleepio.com and our friendly team will do this for you.

    Secondly, what I tend to recommend with getting out of bed is: if you feel awake enough to decide you should get out of bed, don't worry too much about it being 15 mins or not. It's hard to estimate time when you're just awake. If you've been lying there for a while and you're aware of it, get out of bed and practise the QHR.

    Lastly, all the Sleepio techniques work together to allow for an improved sleep quality – that is, enabling the right amount of different sleep phases to happen. Your body will do this automatically so improving all parts of sleep will help this process.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Rachael,

    Yes you can absolutely shift your sleep window to 11-4..it's OK to shift the sleep window if you feel it would help. We just recommend not playing about with it often, just so your body can get used to that pattern. But yes – see if that new time works better for you.

    As for increasing the wake time, the additional 15 mins that is allowed after 90% efficiency can be added to bedtime OR wake time – it's personal preference – so if you'd prefer the latter, this is perfectly OK :)

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there – thanks for your question. Yes it's best to avoid any other periods of sleep other than when in bed as it will affect sleep later on in the night. If watching TV is associated with sleepiness, it may be time to find a different activity. You're right to avoid stimulating activity. Something such as a shower/bath/listening to music can help, or even something that involves light pacing to keep you moving gently. Yoga activity for example is something many people find relaxing before bed.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for getting in touch and welcome to the programme.

    There are many people who engage with Sleepio with sleep times of less than 6 hours, so don't worry about this being something to take extra precautions for. As you learn various techniques over the next few weeks, you will hopefully find that you can increase your sleep time and start to improve the quality of sleep as well.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this time. Thanks for getting in touch with your Qs and I'll see you soon :)

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Lady, I have a rehydration sachet in my glass of water before bed and it sops me waking up thirsty.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Kat, I’ve left you a message on your profile page.
    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    Hello Dr. Creanor,
    It does not seem like Sleepio targets or talks about the physical symptoms that seem to be at the core of my sleep troubles.
    I have arthritis in various joints, and the pain at night, the discomfort and always needing to move to find a tolerable position seem to be the root of my sleep problems.
    I have tried medication (ibuprophen, naproxen, etc.), but none seem to offer much relief.
    Sleepio seems to focus on the psychology of sleep disturbance. I am not anxious to fall asleep (I nod off literally seconds after I turn off the light).
    What would be life-changing for me would be to get 8 hrs of sleep without waking up due to sore ankle or back joints.

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