Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 19th November

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 19th November, 8.15pm-9.45pm GMT.

She will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half, starting with the most popular questions with answers being given in a way to give the most benefit to the general Community.

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Posted 13 Nov 2014 at 2:41 PM
  • 19 comments
  • 1 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 19 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Vicki, had 2 nights of SR – wow, so tired! 2 queries – firstly, I have never had a problem getting to sleep, but do now! I ALWAYS read in my bed before turning the light off, have done since I could read myself (literally decades) and cause great hilarity in my family as even do this when returning very late after nights out etc. Now that this is not part of my routine, am now taking longer than I have ever done to fall asleep. Secondly, I am now also waking fairly quickly after falling asleep, not something I have done now for months.
    I am not disheartened as I had prepared for things to get worse, before they got better but hadn't thought that the parts of my sleep that were actually ok, would be affected! Can I read in bed???? Thanks…...

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Dr Creanor,

    Can we discuss Shift work

    I'm having difficulty with the sleep deprivation part of the programme. I work shifts. Long days, am up at 5.30am and sometimes not home until after 21.00. (Luckily I am not doing nights at the moment, but actually normally sleep well on nights, sometimes better). I manage to get up for work, but if I keep to the scheduled hours am just so tired. I have a physical, demanding job, so feel I need to recover when I am off. I generally sleep well on days off, then badly on the night before I go back to work. Or sometimes more than one night in my working week, which leaves me feeling tired and ineffective at work.

    I did see when I signed up that Sleepio wasn't really suitable for shift workers, but thought I would try, as I was really struggling. I have had problems with sleep since my teens, am now 33. My main issue is not getting to sleep, especially on nights before I go to work. My mind races, not necessarily about anything in particular, maybe just a song or something. Sometimes it doesn't even race, but I just can't sleep. However much I have physically or mentally achieved that day.I feel at times, that I just don't have an off switch! I have tried a lot of different relaxation methods over the years. They work with varying success, depending on how wound up I am. I am healthy, exercise, have cut out caffeine 6 hours before bed and have cut right down on alcohol. I practice a relaxing bedtime routine as well. I am an anxious person and have been treated for depression since my teens, I do for the most part have a good grip on this and have a number of strategies in place. My problem with sleep has always been getting to sleep and total insomnia at times, where I am awake all night.

    Can you tell me if the sleep restriction part of the programme has to continue for you to be successful/prevent relapse. Or can this be adjusted to suit your working hours?

    Many thanks,

    A

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Dear Dr. Creanor, i am a new member and am wondering about something. last year i had treatment for grade 4 secondary cancer in my liver mainly with other small sites as well. i am now cancer free and back at work but am having trouble with sleep. i take about 16 tablets each day – including stress relievers and sleeping pills to prevent panic attacks about what may be ahead of me. i know all the tablets are affecting my body and my biorythms and i wonder can this programme work alongside so many tablets. i would like to cut back on the sleeping tablets – one mild one at bed time – but i dont want to get into a panic state if i stop the xanax and seroquel. i suppose it cant do me harm and it was my GP who recommended the sleepio.com site for me. thanks. Dozyhead

  • Sleepio Member

    • 19 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Vicki, now quite a few days into SR and my sleep is sooooo much worse than it was – time alseep is shorter. I am really struggling to get through my day and am worried about the impact on my health. Have my first cold/throat thing in years and have had a headache for what feels like weeks! Will the SR actually improve my time alseep eventually?! Thanks…..

  • Sleepio Member

    • 213 comments
    • 73 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Vicki, I had to take medical leave from work to get off sleeping pills and do this program, as things had progressed to a really bad point w/my health (dizziness, falls, speech, irritability, extremely low blood pressure – everything became a huge haze) and the medication (ambien/klonopin/lyrica mainly – plus, a whole medicine chest of various things they tried in between – I think some of the other things they tried for mood on top of this really pushed me over the edge ( physically/emotionally w/the side effects – so I have discontinued those as well.)- I started not sleeping on high amounts of sedatives (up to 3 ambien, 3 klono + 2 lyrica a night – which were taken as prescribed – even though I feel kinda junky like admitting it – but yes, I was prescribed up to 3 ambien a night – and even that didn't cut it) – plus the work stressors.

    I have a lot of guilt about taking off work to do this and am also nervous upon returning – that all those worries and fears won't come back double and ruin all the progress I have made w/getting off the pills so far -I'm currently just on a half to one klonopin at night, magnesium, and an herbal supplement (so progress has yet to be made but have really done well so far from what I was taking) and already fear day 1 of going back in and having a night of no sleep. I just keep trying to put a positive spin on things but it is easier said than done. I have noticed a few people on here who have went through a similar situation – especially w/the leave from work-and it makes me feel better to know I am not alone and other people have made it through. I don't know how to handle going back when this is over and how other people have done this. I'm really not sure job wise this means – I have to have a source of income and I have a lot of responsibilities and deadlines at my job. Just curious on that whole angle and trying to not feel major anxiety and fear of the future.

    Also, I am curious – how long the sleep restriction lasts as I start that this Thursday. I just really hope this works for me. I'm starting to sleep enough to function and stabilize without the pills at the end of week 2. I really hope this will make things get better. I had one dr told me I was just wired wrong and part of me wonders if they are right. I certainly hope I am not one of the few that c.b.t. does not work for.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    Expert

    Hello everyone – let's start the session. Anyone have any burning questions before I answer the ones people have already posted?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Lesley AG,
    Thanks for your post. Sleep restriction (SR) is one of the hardest techniques to implement – so well done for managing your first 2 nights – but it is one of the most effective, too. I'm wondering what it might be that keeps you from falling asleep when you go to bed. Some people find it's their thoughts that go wild, others feel their body can't relax, others aren't sure. For some people, the more they think about their sleep, the more they focus on it (which is counterproductive) and this can also affect out ability to fall asleep quickly.

    As for reading in bed, it's my opinion that you can read in bed if it helps you fall asleep. If you've done it since you were younger and associate it with sleeping, it may actually help.

    As for the waking, I am also curious what you do when you waken – are you following the Quarter Hour Rule?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi ailschat,
    Thanks for your question and for giving me so much detail to help me understand your situation. You sound like you have a lot of insight into what keeps you awake and what helps/doesn't and it sounds as if you've put a lot of effort into promoting your health. Yes, Sleepio is not as suitable for shift workers as it is for others, simply because in sleep treatment using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – on which Sleepio is based – a huge part of the aim is to get a regular pattern of sleep. A big part of this is sleep restriction. However, you can see some improvements by targeting other areas, too. For instance, you know that getting to sleep is the worst bit for you and that your mind races. You said you found some relaxation techniques that work – great, keep using these. You may have had some work on targeting negative automatic thoughts during your treatment for anxiety and depression…this technique is also explained in Sleepio – it sounds as if this is the most important one for you just now, if that's what keeps you awake. Look at the mindfulness info as well as this may help, as well as distraction at bedtime, to take your mind off things that you are thinking about.

    Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1692 comments
    • 341 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Vicki, That's so interesting that you say one can read in bed if it helps one to fall asleep. Many of us here have given up reading in bed, very reluctantly! as we were told it will interfere with the sleep-bed association. Your thoughts about that?
    Thanks,
    anniem

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI dozyhead,
    Thanks for your post. Great to hear that you are cancer-free and back at work. It sounds as if you've been through an anxiety-provoking time lately. It's true that medication will affect our sleep as it affects many things in our system. However many of the techniques in Sleepio are behavioural and cognitive, helping to alter what we do and how we think to promote better sleep. So, despite your system being exposed to these medications, you can still gain some benefit from learning these techniques because as you gradually reduce some medications, you will still have trained your body behaviourally and cognitively. Hope that makes sense? Some people use sleeping pills during Sleepio treatment and this is OK – the effects of such treatment while using sleep medication vs not are quite similar.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi LesleyAG – what you're describing sounds very normal, so please keep up the good work. It will feel worse before it gets better and this is what we expect. SR is one of the most effective parts of sleep treatment in ensuring your sleep is efficient – that when you are in bed, you are asleep. So please know that we expect it to feel worse before improvements are found – it may be worth asking your Sleepio classmates here in the community for encouragement as they have been through this too and it always feels good hearing it from someone who has experienced the same thing. All the best with it, LesleyAG.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thanks Vicki, had no issue at all falling asleep until I started SR – now have an issue with it – BUT, you are right, I obviously do associate reading with sleeping, so will stick with it. I find it very hard to implement the QHR as wake up and then sleep, then wake up, then sleep. The last couple of days have had a very horrible feeling in the day of being 'wired' – as if I've drunk gallons of coffee – think my body is keeping going on adrenaline and this is now the feeling I get when I wake up – basically feeling soooo much worse since stated SR! And, my results on mood etc have plummeted this week. But, will continue with it for a couple of weeks and hope to see improvements. Thanks for your advice….

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi gin-gin,
    Thanks for your post and welcome to the programme. I see that you're in session 2? I guess what I pick up from your post is a lot of anxiety and emotion about your sleep. Lack of sleep is a horrible thing and many people who have come to Sleepio feel desperate about their situation and sleep problems. At the start of the programme, most people worry about whether the programme will work for them and have a lot of anxieties and 'what ifs'. This is very normal. If you chat to some of the people in the community, my guess is that you will feel less isolated and alone in your anxieties – some graduates will be able to tell you their success stories, too, which is always reassuring to hear.

    In terms of sleep restriction, this is the part most people worry about more than others. Asking someone who doesn't sleep well to RESTRICT their sleep seems crazy. However, as I've said to others tonight, it's a very effective strategy, if it's done correctly. Regarding how long it takes, it varies from person to person as everyone brings with them a whole number of variable factors (health, stress, lifestyle factors, background factors etc etc), but what you're aiming for is approx 90% efficiency in your sleep (sleeping in bed rather than being awake in bed 90% of the time), then you can start increasing the time you sleep for and this continues.

    Speak to the community, though, as this may help with your anxieties about the course ahead.

    All the best!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi anniem – sorry I missed your post there for some reason. My thoughts are that it's trial and error with some things, this being one. There are, however a few rules…

    If you have a strong association with sleeping and reading…and IF falling asleep is OK for you, then I see no problem with reading briefly before bed. So if your main problem is night wakenings, reading before bed is less of an issue.

    However, if you are reading for an hour in bed before you actually fall asleep, I do see a potential for this to cause a problem with sleep efficiency as you're spending an hour in bed without sleeping.

    So, I believe it's OK to read in bed as long as 1) you've been doing it for years when you didn't have a sleep problem, 2) getting to sleep is not your main problem and 3) you're only reading for about 15-20 mins before sleep.

    Hope that clears thing up? Good question though, thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi LesleyAG,

    I would say regarding the QHR, have a think about what might make it easier to implement it as it's pretty vital to the success of the programme. For example, make sure you have a light on in another room and keep it cosy so that it's more inviting for you if you have to get up.

    Does anyone have any other tips for LesleyAG that make the QHR easier to implement?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 213 comments
    • 73 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you so much for your input – I am finding that reading all the comments on what everyone else is going through, as well and your responses to them, are very helpful. I appreciate your reply to my lengthy post and yes, you are correct – I have a lot of anxiety about the upcoming sleep restriction, as I have such troubles as it is now. However, I am finding support from the community already w/my fears and worries. It seems to be an amazing group of people here and we are all headed towards a similar goal. Thanks again!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    What a positive comment! Great to hear you're finding the community a positive support – I think it's a great way of feeling less isolated in what can be a very isolating difficulty. Thanks, gin-gin.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    Expert

    just a few minutes left folks – any more questions?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    Expert

    thanks for all the great questions tonight – see you again soon.

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