Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 21st July 2021

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 21st July 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 16 Jul 2021 at 6:31 AM
  • 18 comments
  • 2 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Can you discuss a little bit about how to wake up better? When I do sleep I sleep like a rock straight through my alarms. I'm now getting better at getting to sleep- but I still struggle with waking up.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    I sometimes have to do a survey at night for work. This involves getting a couple of hours sleep before, and then attempting a couple of hours after the survey ha finished.
    For example. Try to get to sleep at 10pm. Wake at 2.15am for survey. Finish and back to bed at 6am. Sleep (if possible) until 9am.

    I'm not sure how to record that in the sleep diary. As in total it could be 5 hours sleep 7 hours in bed. But the reality is that this was in two seperate blocks.

    It's also usually in a hotel so never the best sleep!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hi there:

    I often go to bed around ten pm and wake up around 4 am and can't get back to sleep. It seems to be a pattern.
    After 15 minutes to a half an hour of wakefulness, I usually get up and start the day. I suppose I could try to go to bed a bit later. Any suggestions around early awakenings?

    Many thanks,
    Joan

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    I try to get to sleep at around 11pm but find myself getting into a spiral thinking about the next day and things I haven't completed from the day before. I'm always caught in the middle of this vicious cycle which leaves me staying awake for at least 2-3hrs and eventually sleeping at around 1:30-2am. I've also noticed a feeling of not having enough time in the evening for myself and the things I want to do, so sometimes I stay awake just to get a feeling of having had more time for myself post-work. This feeling is especially exasperated if I finish work late – this usually coincides with wanting to stay up later just to recover that personal time back.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    It’s often said that we need less sleep as we get older, including on the Sleepio course. I don’t remember in which week. I’m interested to know what is the basis for this assertion as it’s absolutely not my experience. What studies have been carried out? In the past I could carry on regardless of how much sleep I had, but that’s no longer the case. To sleep less does not necessarily mean to need less.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    If you become ill and need to rest in bed how should you record this on the sleep diary? Should you take a ‘holiday’ or just record in the ‘more information’ box? Thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I have just completed session 3 with the introduction to sleep restriction therapy and have two questions about the specific timings.

    It isn't clear to me: should the fixed sleep window – 6h in my case – include 15 minutes of time for sleep onset – in which case my total ideal sleep duration will become 5h45m – or should I go to bed 15m earlier than the window begins?

    It seems the therapy must at some point entail a sleep duration that is not a fixed whole number of sleep cycles, since the increments are only 15m each time. Is that a concern, e.g. can it be detrimental to health to repeatedly wake up mid-cycle?

    Thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    I remembered I have one more question about the definition of the restricted sleep window – since sex is a permissible 'in-bed' activity and isn't time spent sleeping, should that time in bed be counted separately from the fixed sleep window?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hello and welcome to this week's live session.

    I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with a special interest in sleep. I'll be here to answer any Qs you have about sleep over the next 90 mins. Although we can't go into people's personal details here, we always aim to answer Qs so they are most relevant for everyone on the forum.

    I'll start by answering any Qs that have been left here but if anyone is online tonight, please feel free to get in touch!

    And for those in the UK, I hope you're somewhere nice and cool…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there and thanks for your question.

    It's great to hear that you are able to get to sleep and sleep through now. It is likely that your wake time is probably artificial as this is how it has to work while we train ourselves to sleep in a better chunk. As time goes on and your sleep window increases, you will probably find that this edges your wake time closer to when you're in lighter sleep, which will help.

    For now, while you're training your mind and body to sleep better, setting different alarms might be helpful so that you don't just get used to the sounds each day. Positioning the alarm further away from you so you have to get up to switch it off might also help, as well as turning up the volume or setting various alarms.

    Once up, I would recommend stretching or having a shower fairly quickly to get the body more wakened.

    Hope this helps? You may also find that others on this forum have some handy tips for what has helped them…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Port_bat,

    This is really tricky. The work schedule isn't obviously idea for getting consistent sleep under your belt, but not everyone can do this as working shifts is a big part of many people's lives.

    I think you're doing the right thing, recording it this way though. I'm not sure I'd suggest an alternative. We just have to keep in mind that with shift work, it will take a little longer to get sleep back on track sometimes as it's not going to be a solid block through the night. What we're aiming for I think is getting to sleep as well as possible using the relevant techniques around this and sleeping as efficiently as possible when you are asleep – no matter where or when that may be.

    You may find the Sleepio guide on Working Shifts a helpful read…this can be found on the main website.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Joan,

    Thanks for getting in touch. Sorry to hear you're struggling with early wakenings.

    I have a few suggestions to think about what might help those in this situation.

    First of all, think about things that may be wakening you – often in the summer months, it can be light. Something as simple as wearing an eye mask to block out light can be extremely helpful to trick the body into thinking it's still earlier than it is. Or if it's sounds – people next door, birdsong, have a think about using white noise throughout the night using earphones or just a sound device in the bedroom. Is there something in your diet that may be contributing? Caffeine late afternoon (this can even be from chocolate)? Alcohol? Medication?

    I would advise anyone in this boat to try and go back to sleep at least once – if you get into a pattern of just getting up for the day at this point, this is what your body and mind will come to expect and want to do.

    Lastly, shifting bedtime to later can be helpful. You can do this in small steps or just shift it an hour or so as you please – there's no right or wrong here.

    Hope there's something in there that will help your situation.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and welcome to Sleepio – I see you have just started the course?

    What I will say is that many people at the start of the Sleepio journey feel overwhelmed in a similar way to what you describe here. Over the next number of weeks, you will find a variety of different techniques that will help you to target these difficulties. Look out for 'scheduled worry time'. This is a technique whereby we set aside 15/20 mins each day during the day (not near bedtime!) to note down all the things we are worried about/need to sort. Then go through them and work out some plans around these if they are important. Doing this daily helps train the mind to know that we will have set aside time to work on these things and so the need for them to pop into our heads at night lessens.

    On the issue of wanting time to yourself at night, I think many of us hear you! Especially if work or parenthood takes up a lot of our time. See this as a choice point. If this time at night benefits you more than causes problems (such as less time to sleep), then you may not have a problem. If it causes more problems than it benefits you, you may need to rethink this and have a look at how to go about this to retain the things you want to do – or perhaps to find time for yourself at a different time of day.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for raising this. Often statements like this seem like they are meant for everyone, but they usually refer to averages. Although it is proven that the older we get, the less sleep we have as the brain changes, older people can also feel tired more often due to having less energy or being less active (because we know that activity tends to increase energy).

    So it's not a one-size-fits-all…it's an average finding for most people. We always look at the context around people to understand their individual experiences within psychology, while listening to what the science says in terms of averages.

    You might find this article interesting:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29412976/

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi – thanks for raising this as I'm sure many will be wondering the same. I've always advised people to get in touch with Sleepio (hello@sleepio.com) to let the team know that you'll be pausing the programme to go on holiday (if you plan on having a break from the techniques) or because of illness.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hi – thanks for your Qs.

    This is a good Q re the 15 mins to fall asleep. I'm not sure I've ever discussed this before here but it makes a lot of sense to wonder about it! My instinct is to say that it's included in the sleep window, with the possibility that the 15 mins may reduce as time goes on and so you want to avoid being in bed any longer than you will be asleep for to ensure a good sleep efficiency. However, if you are feeling stressed out about this and wish to go to bed 15 mins early to allow yourself to fall asleep, I think this will be OK.

    You're right that, while sleep training, you will often be waking up at a time that isn't 'natural'. This is perfectly OK and safe to do while sleep training as it's short-term and in the long-term it will improve sleep quality and length, which will be beneficial to health.

    And lastly in terms of sexual activity, I'd see this as separate time in bed from your usual sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this evening – thanks for the Qs and I'll see you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 3

    Thank you

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