Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 20th March 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 20th March, from 8:15 to 9:45pm British Time or 4:15 to 6:45pm US Eastern 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.

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Posted 15 Mar 2019 at 5:45 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch for the discussion.

    I'm sorry to hear it is particularly tough for you just now. Reading your post, I wonder if you have considered the reason for the change in your sleep? Often when people have been doing well, then things change, there is a trigger for this. Sometimes it is related to underlying stress/anxiety/low mood. It can be helpful to get support for these things as often we see improvements in sleep when these things are targeted.

    It is encouraging to hear that you knew to use sleep restriction having learned it before. It is one of the hardest techniques to master, so try not to be too hard on yourself being in week three and seeing little improvement – it is one that takes time to see shifts happening. Although I imagine three weeks has felt a very long time to be working on this, it is often quite a bit after this length of time that we start to see positive change, as the body starts to get used to the new patterns.

    I can understand how frustrating the cartoon must be when it says you're doing well yet you feel you are not – I will take this to the Sleepio team for feedback as I think it's a very valid point. Thank you for raising it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – thank you for your posts this evening. It sounds as if sleep is fairly erratic for you – sometimes we see this is people who work shifts – is this something you do? Are things in place such as a good bedtime routine, a set bed and wake time each day. I see you mentioned caffeine – we would recommend refraining from caffeine from lunchtime as the effects can be longer-lasting than people imagine.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    No I don't work shifts

    What about sugar consumption?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello, thanks for getting in touch with this query about sleep restriction. Similar to a reply to someone above, it is worth saying that sleep restriction is one of (possibly the) hardest technique to endure in sleep therapy. It is counterintuitive and can seem to make things harder before they improve. It can take quite a while for some people to see changes after starting the technique, so try not to be put off if there are no changes at this point. 5 days in will feel like weeks to you I'm sure (!) however stick at it and things should start to improve with time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Sugar taken in high amounts will stimulate the body and can keep us awake, but can also cause sugar crashes. It can interfere with our mood as well, which also has an impact on sleep, so it's wise to monitor sugar consumption. If sleep is erratic and the techniques are being followed closely, accurately and consistently, it may be worth looking into seeing if there is a local sleep clinic that can monitor your sleep to better understand the erratic patterns as there may be an underlying sleep disorder at play. As mentioned previously, underlying stress/anxiety/low mood can also lead to unusual sleep patterns, so having a think about whether these things are present is also important.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you for your advise.

    No while I have issues to be anxious about, I am related on these issues.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    While I can binge on sweets onnice after many weeks I otherwise am light to moderate on consumption so mm should not interfere with my sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Just something to think about – often it's the timing of food consumption that can be crucial – ie too close to bedtime can be unhelpful. Always worth thinking about our diet and lifestyle when looking at our sleep as food, caffeine and alcohol can all have an impact.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    In the past my caffeine intake is before 4pm and sweets and cakes around 8pm with bedtime around 10pm.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Yes so probably a good idea for people generally to only consume caffeine before lunchtime and keep sweet treats to earlier in the day.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Sweets – how much earlier in the day?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    There is no specific guide here – it may be worth asking a GP/dietitian about this in case there is medical guidance.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Mmm but, what is your advice on curfew time for sugar?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Some people have cut sugar out of their diet completely to test the effect of this on their sleep/mood, while others have decided to limit it to earlier in the day. Again, this is not my area of expertise, but it may link in well to limit both caffeine and sugar to pre-lunchtime.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Alright then thank you for your help this evening.

    Take care.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Ps. Staving off sugar is not easy for someone like me who has been brought up and enjoyed sweet treats all my life!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    You're welcome, speak to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's our live discussion finished for tonight – thank you for your posts and I will speak to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 15 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks, but I think my question was misunderstood due to a typo on my part (had/has). Sorry about that.

    My apnea has been and continues to be well controlled with CPAP for over seven months now, but I've not gotten any improvement in terms of drowsiness, fatigue, or ability to concentrate.

    In fact, those symptoms have gotten dramatically worse over these seven months, to the point that my sleep specialist has now prescribed a stimulant (modafinil) in an effort to keep me awake during the day.

    From what I gather, this is called residual excessive sleepiness. It's not well understood, but it affects a fair percentage of apnea patients who are “successfully” treated with CPAP or BiPAP.

    I was wondering if you know of any newer research into this. Is CBT actually helpful in such cases? My sleep efficiency at the beginning of the course was already well above 90%, though it's now dropped to about 88% at the end of week two. But my “sleep score” remains 0/10.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you for your reply.
    I have seen that others have similar experiences so understand it's probably part of the process. I will certainly stick with the course. I have been the same way for years so don't expect an overnight fix – although that would be nice, ha ha

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