Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 21st January

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 21st January, 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 16 Jan 2015 at 10:56 AM
  • 37 comments
  • 3 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 1426 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI again Kirke,

    Yes you're right, underlying mental health problems can have an impact on early wakenings – I wonder, do you feel anxious when you wake up? If so, perhaps this anxiety is needing treated first of all to help this particular symptom.

    As for shifting your sleep window, I think that's a very good idea and worth a try to see if that makes any difference…sometimes it's about trial and error with windows.

    As for light therapy, there is some emerging evidence that it can help people who wake early. Usually bright light therapy is about helping people's natural body clocks get back in sync – the light is used like natural light to help the body know when it's day and when it's night. By doing so, the body gets back on track, as does the sleep, making people less likely to wake early or sleep at unusual times.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi urmston,
    Sorry to hear this. What in particular are you experiencing? It would be really helpful to hear a little more about what's going on for you?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi gin-gin,
    Thanks for your post and nice to talk to you again. You have asked quite a few questions so I want to make sure I answer them all as best as I can…

    With regards to the time you come off the computer, it is really something you have to assess. An hour and a half may be OK for you to wind down before bed, however if it is not, just go back and stick to the 2 hours. It may even be best at 3 hours before bed, however this is completely subjective – it depends on how quickly different people can switch off from emails etc.

    Again, with the TV, it is different for different people. Some find it stimulating and others find it passive. It also depends what you're watching I suppose! If, however, you feel like you prefer a book, stick to the book. It's really up to you, whatever works.

    With regards to it taking you 30 minutes to fall asleep, it is important that you don't let it get to 30 minutes and use the QHR after 15 minutes. Although it seems counterintuitive and a horrible idea most of the time, it's such an important part of the programme and will help your efficiency.

    Great to hear you are now falling asleep quickly after wakening. It takes a while for sleep to get back on track – for your body and mind to relearn how to be a good sleeper. Also, remember that good sleepers wake 1-2 times a night anyway, so you're close to that figure….

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Deserted,
    Thanks for your post. Some people do find using a sleeping tablet is helpful in getting some respite to then start the techniques in earnest. Others prefer to try it without medication, so it's something you need to decide yourself but discuss with your GP.

    Can I ask, are you using the QHR when you are trying to get back to sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi glider guy,
    You raise very good questions, thank you.

    Firstly, it is only through thorough assessment that you can determine what the primary problem is – determining what happened first is usually key to this (did a bout of poor sleep, caused by a number of potential triggers, including getting into a poor sleep pattern following ill health, lead to low mood….or did the low mood occur and then, as a symptom of this, affect the sleep). It's sometimes complex trying to get to the bottom of it, but talking it through with someone can help you determine what occurred first.

    Secondly, I would always recommend counselling/therapy alongside Sleepio if you feel you are needing additional help/support.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi again, Theresa, thanks for joining us.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
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    Graduate

    Dear Dr. Creanor,
    I am new to the program and have just started doing sleep restriction. My main issue with sleep is I will usually wake up to use the bathroom (urinate) after about 4 hours of sleep and am unable to get back to sleep. I have always used the bathroom in the middle of the night even when I was younger (I am now 43) but didn't have a problem getting back to sleep. I know that there is not a medical issue behind this and that this is just normal for me. Am I correct that the goal of sleep restriction and the program is to get one to sleep straight through the night which would be difficult for me as I will always get up once to use the bathroom? I have also read from many sources that we're not necessarily meant to sleep in 7-8 hour blocks and it is not uncommon to have a couple of different blocks of sleep during the night. Any comments or thoughts regarding this and whether the program might be able to help me with this problem would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi MrsP,
    Sorry to hear you're struggling with this condition. We would always recommend talking to your medical doctor if you experience this, as it may require medication to help reduce it. It has also been shown to be worse if you smoke, drink a lot of alcohol or consume a lot of caffeine, so have a look at these if they are factors in your life. Have a look at the article in the library about restless leg syndrome, entitled, “What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?” as you may find it helpful.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thank you for your reply. I am sorry but not sure what QHR is.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 47 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you , Dr.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 213 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks Dr Creanor, it does seem counterproductive though to get up when I see it is about 12 min into my sleep window but so sleepy tired that I drift off in the next 10-15 min

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi pmac,
    Welcome to the session and thanks for your questions. Yes, the aim of sleep restriction is to condense all the bits of fragmented sleep you have and create a more continuous sleep, which will improve the quality and allow you to have the different phases of sleep we need to stay healthy. However, you are right in that not everyone needs 7-8 hours. Everyone is different and most good sleepers will wake once or twice a night. The key is to help you get back to sleep as soon as possible. Even if this means that you do this after the toilet break. You used to be able to get back to sleep when you woke to go to the loo when you were younger, so this indicates that something is now preventing this happening like it used to. I do believe when you go through the programme that you will be able to understand why it is that you can't get back to sleep – whether this is that you're thinking about sleep more than you used to, or whether you need more of a behavioural technique, I'm sure there will be something in there to help you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Sorry Deserted, my mistake. It's an abbreviation for the Quarter Hour Rule – getting up after approx 15 minutes of lying in bed not being able to fall asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1426 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It does seem counterintuitive, however if you are awake enough to realise that it's been more than 15 minutes, you should get out of bed, as it greatly affects your sleep efficiency and weakens the association between your bed/bedroom and good sleep.

    Are you looking at a clock when you're doing the Quarter Hour Rule? Just wanted to check, as this can raise anxiety, so just make it your guess of 15 minutes.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thank you, I did put an extra clock in the bedroom where I could see it (as a back up alarm) when I started work. That is also when it started taking longer to fall asleep. I had assumed it was just stress about having tobe “on” the following day. I will turn the clock so I can't see it. Thanks also for your advice on the computer and tv

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    You're welcome – yes I'd turn it away from you as this can lead to clock-watching and increase anxiety about falling asleep, making it less passive.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1426 comments
    • 247 helped
    Expert

    Thanks for all the posts and for your company. Speak to you soon.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 184 comments
    • 17 helped
    Graduate

    night everyone, sleep tight!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 38 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you Dr Creanor; with respect to your question about taking the sleep test, it was just something I thought I'd do. Lew

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    My sleeping problem – not being able to fall asleep – has been for less than one month, but I have anxiety so I would like to nip this in the bud before it becomes “a thing”. How can I stop myself from obsessing whether I am going to fall asleep at night?
    Thank you.

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