Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 21st December 2016

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 21st December 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. Her 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 15 Dec 2016 at 12:11 PM
  • 48 comments
  • 10 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    There can be various reasons why people wake up early. Dietary factors can play a part – consumption of alcohol, too much caffeine close to bedtime etc can have this effect. So too can an underlying stress/anxiety – this is a common reason why people wake up earlier than planned. Health conditions can also play a factor so it's worth getting a health check by the GP if someone thinks this may be a factor.

    What I also recommend graduates to do is to go back through the techniques learned during the programme and take it step by step again – go at a good pace as it was done before – to rethink everything again. This is often helpful to see where the real problem lies and to help fix it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    We speak to many people who have just started the Sleepio programme in this forum and there is often a general sense of distress and a desperation for help with a number of different sleep-related factors. After all, this is why people come to Sleepio as not sleeping is very distressing!

    Although it's hard to know what's coming up in the programme, I hope I can be of reassurance by saying that there will be a number of different techniques to help people with refocussing their attention onto positive things while trying to wind down for sleep, as well as introducing some relaxation and distraction techniques. It can be really overwhelming when we first start a programme as we are usually in desperate need of support. Hopefully these issues can be targeted over the next few weeks and the feeling of being overwhelmed will start to reduce as the techniques kick in.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    Sometimes it's not possible to put the programme into practice during holidays etc, so the best thing to do for those in this position is to email hello@sleepio.com and request the programme is paused for a certain time until life is back to normal.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    We've seen this quite often with the quarter hour rule being needed so close to wake up time. My advice would be to still do this, as strange as it may seem, but it's just to be consistent with improving that sleep efficiency and sticking to the sleep window. If this problem lasts for a long time, however, what people could do is go to bed earlier to keep the sleep window period the same and see if this allows a full sleep by aiming to get up a bit earlier as is currently happening. Perhaps that's a natural time for the body to waken,so an earlier night would allow for the sleep window to be fully used. Hope that makes sense.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    For those struggling with staying asleep, the main techniques to look at again would be:
    – the quarter hour rule (this improves efficiency)
    – sleep restriction (again improves efficiency and helps people sleep in a longer chunk rather than with frequent wakenings)
    – wind down time before bed and thought challenging (these reduce anxiety which often wake people up)
    – reduction of alcohol if this is a factor

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    Like a fellow community user above, I see this is the start of the Sleepio journey for you. Again, it's completely understandable that when we start a programme such as this, there are many questions about how it can help our specific problems. Please rest assured that there will be several techniques to specifically target the problems mentioned here (long periods awake at night, getting a deeper sleep and feeling refreshed upon wakening). It sounds as if there may be lots of anxiety here too, which contributes to lighter sleeping – the programme will also help with this side of things. I hope this is reassuring to those at the start of the programme.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    Session 2

    Hi Dr Vicky. That's my only sleeping issue, actually. I've always been the type of person who could easily sleep 12 hours sleep. But after having a child, and waking up frequently, this issue became more often. I don't suffer from anxiety problems, but the “light sleep” is realy bothering me.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Great questions….
    1) when we are in lighter sleep phases, we can hear what's going on in our surroundings and this can wake us up more easily than when we are in deeper sleep phases.
    2) many things are affected by prolonged poor sleep – memory, concentration, attention, mood, irritability, problem-solving ability, information processing (the list goes on)...if it is indeed sleep that is causing these things, then improving sleep will also improve these cognitive skills, too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    i feel as if i'm no further forward yet with sleep improvement. i am just going to bed in an afternoon to catch 2 or 3 hours when i can to make sure i can function efficiently with normal day to day things. should i be taking advice from GP to get medical intervention for sleep. i am not depressed, love my life, but sick of only getting 2 or 3 hours interrupted sleep per night. i do everything as advised on sleep improvement, but nothing is working.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It's interesting to hear that this occurred post-natally. Often what can happen (mostly in new mothers but sometimes in new fathers too) is that there is a requirement to be more alert even throughout the night in order to protect our young. There is likely an evolutionary factor in this but even in the safety of our homes with a young baby, we do need to be alert to them crying so we can help them. This can lead to lighter sleep for a while. When the child is older, we sometimes find that this has become our new way of sleeping, despite the child not waking through the night anymore. With the Sleepio techniques and regular bed and wake times, this can be altered and better quality, deeper, sleep can be achieved by many.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    I can understand the frustration of things not moving quickly – sleep deprivation is awful. However we tend not to see changes until a little bit further down the line, not usually after 2 sessions, just because there are usually sleep patterns that have been learned over many months/years, which need time to be unlearned by our bodies and minds. The programme does also recommend that naps in the day are completely cut out to make sure that sleep pressure is built throughout the day so all sleep is saved for night time. Of course, if for health reasons or safety reasons one needs to nap (ie long distance driving, operating machinery), this is important. Many people do seek medication from their GP for a short-term to help tide them over through the initial phases – if this is needed, it can be done alongside Sleepio. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    I will raise with the team this topic as something that people would like an article on for the Sleepio library – thank you for the suggestion.
    In terms of what is most important re relaxation, it really is subjective – if one finds something helps get them wound down for sleeping, then perfect. Sometimes it's trial and error. And this is a fair comment regarding the content of whatever is being watched or read – I completely agree – this is more important than the activity itself. Again, people perceive different things as relaxing/stimulating, so it's about finding the right thing for the person.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I am suffering from sleep desprivation since my childhood. It is intertwining my memory loss. I feel like a character in One Hundred Years of Solitude. I really feel critical decrease in my intellectual capacity. If I sleep fast, I will wake up early but in generally, falling asleep takes hours for me. Moreover my sleep is not efficient. My questions to Dr Creanor are:
    1. there is a state where I think therefore I consider it I am awake, because if someone calls me I will hear him. Am I sleeping or not?
    2. sleep deprivation has huge impact on my memory and cognitive ability.Is it reversible?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    This is a good point to raise. Usually there is somewhere in the accommodation where people can remove themselves to (a bathroom/a hall etc) but sometimes there isn't. What you suggest is a good solution to those in this situation – removing oneself from the bed is important even if the room must stay the same.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello there – not sure if you saw my reply further up to your post this evening – I will re-post in case it was missed as sometimes it's hard to locate a specific answer:

    Hi there,
    Great questions….
    1) when we are in lighter sleep phases, we can hear what's going on in our surroundings and this can wake us up more easily than when we are in deeper sleep phases.
    2) many things are affected by prolonged poor sleep – memory, concentration, attention, mood, irritability, problem-solving ability, information processing (the list goes on)...if it is indeed sleep that is causing these things, then improving sleep will also improve these cognitive skills, too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    There will be a few techniques coming up later in the programme that address anxiety – these include thought challenging, putting the day to rest, the wind down process and relaxation exercises. Hopefully they are useful in terms of reducing this stress.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    There are a few things one could do in this situation…try the normal mode and see how good this fit is in terms of what is experienced…or revert to manually entering the information if it's felt this would be more accurate?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
    • 417 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this session folks – thanks for the posts and have a wonderful festive season!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I use the Jawbone UP and do some manual editing for almost every single session (like adjusting time in or out of bed, number or length of weakings during the night, etc.). I find the tracker provides me a good baseline (usually about 80-90% accurate) which is easy to work from.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi – thanks for that. I probably didn't phrase my question very well. Fitbit records “asleep”, “restless” and “awake”. What I think I'm asking is what “restless” is. When fitbit data loads into Sleepio it registers restless sleep as “awake” time and apparently I spend about half the night “restless” when the fitbit is set to sensitive. But for me, as long as I'm not aware of being awake and suffering 3am madness, I'm asleep. I have now put my fitbit back to “normal” as that seems to show my sleep as I perceive it to be. But I'm guessing having restless sleep is a problem that needs addressing so maybe I should leave it as “sensitive”. That's my dilemma!! Does all that make sense?!

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