Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 19th May 2021

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 19th May 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 13 May 2021 at 6:07 PM
  • 20 comments
  • 1 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Why do I keep waking up? I completed the course about 3 months ago. My sleep efficiency is much better around 85% but the length of sleep is still under 5 hours. I usually manage around 1.5-2 hours sleep then wake up. I can get back to sleep quicker but wake up about every 45-60 mins. Im exhaused when i finally get up. Around 4am i dont need to get up until 7am but after a few times of waking up i cant get back to sleep within the stated 15mins so have to get up then im awake hours before i could fall asleep but at this point i have to get up and ready for work

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I have tried sleep restriction in the past, and I am dreading starting it now. The pressure to sleep during the allotted time is unbearable, and of course leads to not sleeping and the horrible anxiety of “how will I get through the day”. I’m consequently quite sleepy the next evening, and find trying to stay awake until my predetermined bedtime is absolute torture. Sitting down to watch tv, I’m almost instantly asleep in the couch. Any tips for staying awake when your body is screaming to be in bed?
    Thank you!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I am 38 years old, always been a good sleeper, but since my son was born, i had to get up many times a night. Often times I wasn't able to go back to sleep after 3am or so, and would just start my day.

    Now my son is sleep trained, and sleeps through the night, but i can't. I thought it would get better on its own, but it didn't for 3 months or so.
    I joined the sleepio course, and it helped, helped a lot.
    My sleep efficiency is high, i sleep about 7 hours a night on average, but the thing is I still wake up in the middle of the night. I am now better at falling back asleep, so in most cases I sleep until the morning.

    My typical night is to go to bed around 10:30 PM, wake up the first time around 4:30 or so, turn around a little bit, try to stop my thoughts and if i succeed i fall back asleep, and then wake up around 5:45 or so, sometime 6. (my sleep window is now 10pm-6am).
    This is not bad, and i am not complaining 7 hours is great and I am typically not sleepy during the day, but it sill isn't what my sleep was prior to my son being born (i used to just sleep without ever waking up, without any issues).

    I wonder is it possible to get back to that ideal (sleeping through the night, not remembering any wake ups etc), or is chasing the perfection here not a smart move?

    Should I sleep restrict my self to 6 hours again (when the first natural wake up happens), and try doing 15 minute increments until i reach 7 hours of sleep in one go again?

    If not do you have any suggestion about what could I do?

    Thanks a lot,
    Simon

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    Hello,

    I have a question related to PMS. I find my sleep is much worse the week before my period. Is this to be expected? And is there anything I can do during this week in particular that might help me to stay asleep through the night?

    Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    I always need to wake up once in the night. The issue I have is not being able to get back to sleep afterwards. I was not able to put this as a goal, but had to pick “sleeping through the night” which I feel is an unrealistic goal for me. Is it possible to add “getting back to sleep after waking” as a goal to the programme?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    Hi,

    I had another question about sleep schedule. Should one adjust their sleep schedule to the seasons? For example, in the summer time I notice I wake up very early but I was sleeping longer during the winter months. The birds often wake me at around 5am so I'm wondering if I should just get up at this time and go to bed earlier or is it better to keep the same schedule all year round?

    Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    I wake every morning at 3or 4am I get up to cool down and stretch. It is visually a dream that wakes me but I get back to sleep after I do my relaxation routine. Why do I wake at the same time every morning and is there some way to mend it?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I have a question regarding deep sleep. No matter how many hours sleep I get I never feel refreshed in the morning. I have bought a fitbit which shows that some nights I get no deep sleep, other nights it might be 10/20 minutes. Often my deep sleep is early morning just before I wake up. I thought that deep sleep was meant to happen early on in the night. I appreciate that everyone is different however is this normal? And is there anything you can do to increase your deep sleep?
    I am active walking a lot during the day, no caffeine 8 hours before bed, have a relaxing bath a couple of hours before bed, no screens 2 hours before bed etc.

    Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hi and welcome to tonight's live online discussion session. I'm a clinical psychologist with a special interest in sleep behaviour. I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any Qs on the psychology of sleep – let's go!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thank you for your question. It sounds as if you may be waking at the end of your sleep cycles, which tend to last on average 90 mins? If so, this is actually pretty normal, but what tends to happen is, if we view this as something abnormal, that shouldn't be happening, then we attach anxiety to it, we waken up fully and then can't get back to sleep.

    When you waken, try and remember this is what usually happens to everyone. We stir as we enter back into light sleep again. Over time, this knowledge will likely help to reduce the anxiety around it.

    When you are struggling to fall asleep, I would also try the paradoxical intention trick (saying 'don't fall asleep' to yourself takes the pressure off trying to fall asleep while telling your brain TO fall asleep). Perhaps look at what you are doing in the quarter hour rule time – altering the activities might mean you get sleepier quicker (listening to soft music, breathing exercises, imagery can all help).

    And during the day, try and get as much exercise as possible as this helps keep the body in deep sleep for longer.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    It's really tricky isn't it? Sleep restriction isn't the most pleasant or easy part of sleep programmes…but it does tend to be the most effective.

    You can do a few things here. If sitting down watching TV makes you fall asleep, avoid that at bedtime. Instead, you van try doing light housework, light pacing, reading, listening to music, sitting by an open window to get a little fresh air, listening to podcasts, doing some brain puzzles etc. But what I might also suggest is shifting your bedtime a little earlier if it's really hard to stay awake – it will mean your rise time will shift earlier, too, but it may take away the dread of staying up later than you normally would.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your question. You're right – deep sleep does tend to happen more at the start of the night and lessens over the night, however it can change depending on a number of factors. Sleep tends to set itself right, so if for some reason you're not getting deep sleep at the expected time, it might jump into it later just so it gets some at some point. So this is reassuring that at least you are getting some deep sleep.

    Sometimes low mood and anxiety affect deep sleep too, so if these are things that are affecting you just now, it might be worth looking into getting support for them. It's great you're getting walks during the day – making sure you get plenty exercise, fresh air and daylight really helps.

    It is worth noting as well that deep sleep does reduce as age increases, so while I'm not sure of your age, this may be a factor.

    But in general, sleep can be a bit all over the place when we are trying to sort it, so try not to worry too much about what the fitbit says – as sleep becomes more regular, the stages of sleep will sort themselves out too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks Vicki. That's very reassuring to know.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Simon,
    There is no doubt that becoming a parent can change our sleep a lot! And it's normal to think that once the baby is sleeping through, so should we, but sometimes the habits run on a bit longer. First of all, I definitely do think sleep can get back on track. With regular completion of the sleep tips on this programme, I do think it can get there. I see you're a graduate, so I would suggest going back to basics – from week one. Put in the techniques from the start of the programme again and see if they help allow for a more consolidated sleep through the night. Remember it is normal for us to wake a few times a night – it's how we perceive this that is vital. If we see it as a problem, it can become one. If we see it as normal, we can roll over and get back to sleep. If the early techniques don't help, you could look at sleep restriction again – add up all the bits of sleep you're getting across the night – average this over 7 nights – then this is your sleep window. When you reach 95% efficiency (asleep for 95% time you're in bed), increase the window by 15 mins.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there,
    Yes this can be pretty common in women before their period starts. The week leading up to menstruation sees many changes in the body – temperature shifts, mood shifts and pain – all of which would normally cause sleep to be affected. Things that may help include managing any pain that occurs, but getting as regular a sleep a possible at this time, good sleep hygiene basics and perhaps doing a few more relaxation exercises than usual can help with these changes.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there,
    Sorry to hear the options available didn't match what you wanted to say. The best option is to email the technical team at hello@sleepio.com to alert them to this – I'm sure they would be very grateful to have this suggested.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Great question! So the answer isn't black and white – I would always say this is a personal choice. Some people prefer to sleep a but less in summer and wake up naturally a little earlier as the body clock responds to the lighter mornings. But when you are trying to sort your sleep out, we would tend to recommend sticking to the same sleep times each night. After sleep is back on track, it would be a decision to make then I think as to what feels best for you and your lifestyle. To help with sleeping in summer mornings, eye masks and earplugs can help drown out the morning light/noises.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Jim,
    So people do tend to wake up during the night as they enter back into light sleep – I wonder if this is why you wake frequently at this time – especially if your bed/sleep time is quite consistent? But sometimes it's external noises that wake us, too, such as neighbours coming home from work etc in the early hours or early summer birdsong.
    The first thing I would recommend here is staying in bed at that time and just rolling over to aim to sleep again. If you're getting up and doing exercises, this is likely going to wake up the body and make it think it's time to get up, so it will be harder to fall back asleep again.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Last few mins if there are any further Qs tonight?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this evening – thanks for the Qs and I will speak to you again soon!

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