Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 21st May

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 21st May 8.15pm-9.45pm.

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 15 May 2014 at 8:42 AM
  • 38 comments
  • 15 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Dr Creanor,

    As a long term insomniac, one of my key objectives on the course was to reduce my nightly dose of sleeping tablets (Zopiclone). I have succeeded to some extent but the number of 'mini-sleeps', typically lasting a few seconds with little or no warning while watching TV in the evening, has increased. When this happens it reduces my sleep time by 1-2 hours, which is a lot in a sleep window of 6 hours. It leaves me feeling 'washed out' and frustrated the next day.

    I have two ways of dealing with us. One is to increase my dosage the next night which, of course, defeats the purpose in the long term. The other is to tackle the problem at source by getting up while watching TV every 10 minutes or so and running on the spot for a few seconds while breathing deeply. This works provided I remember to do it – it sometimes fails if the programme is particularly interesting!
    Do you know of any other way of dealing with mini-sleeps?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
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    Expert

    Hi everyone and welcome to our session today. Looks like there are lots of good questions already!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Richmond and thanks for your comment. It sounds as if you are feeling quite hopeless at the moment. I would say a couple of things. First of all, it may be that this particular approach of sleep treatment has not been suitable for you. This happens with all types of psychological treatments – some simply do not fit the person. It may also be that this has been the wrong time in life to try this particular treatment. Or, I also wondered if there may be an underlying difficulty, such as depression/anxiety, that may be causing your sleep problems and thus needs to be treated first in order for the sleep problems to resolve. Just a few things to think about. Hope that helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Madde,
    It sounds as if you have worked out what does work well for you! And well done on sticking to getting out of bed when you are lying awake. I would say keep looking at what works and what doesn't – you're doing exactly as I would suggest – trial and error. I would suggest not having a shower, though, as this usually wakes us up and may result in finding it hard to get back to sleep, but as for the rest, you've done a great job analysing your own strategies!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Well said, Marie Elaine…hope this gives you motivation, Eat it or Else. I agree – we are all very different in terms of sleep – what the Prof is talking about is in general terms. If you make sure your sleep is good now using these techniques, it will help in the future, too.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Eat it or Else – thanks for your questions. I will answer each of them in turn:

    napping – I would always advise no napping during the day of you struggle during the night. Cutting out the napping increases your sleep pressure, which is important.

    normal wake up times – I would also advise to stick to these, as we are trying to retrain the body to have as good a quality of sleep as possible, hence using a sleep window worked out to help us achieve this as best as possible.

    listening to our body – this is a tricky one. In my opinion, if the sleep problem is psychological, you need to stick to your routines and techniques as you are trying to re-learn how to sleep. HOWEVER...if you are suffering from fatigue due to a physical condition (including pregnancy), I would err on allowing yourself to listen to your body. If in doubt, though, consult your doctor with this question.

    Hope this helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi mckaydesign – I like Eat it or Else's shower idea. I was going to suggest a hot bath perhaps with certain oils in it to relax the muscles. The other option is a progressive muscle relaxation technique – there is one of these in Sleepio. If you practise this often enough, you will start to notice when you are becoming tense during the day and will be able to relax the muscles, leaving you less sore at night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Bluebird and thanks for your post. I would say that any physical pain at night will keep you awake and interfere with sleep. I do also know that there is a link between feeling anxious and having indigestion/stomach problems – it's one of the symptoms of anxiety.

    What I would suggest is keeping a diary of 1) what you eating, 2) levels of anxiety (0-10) and 3) anything that's a potential trigger for anxiety during the day. And of course, your sleep diary. This will give you some indication of any patterns emerging as to what nights you have a worse night's sleep. You may find that it's then easier to rule out foods vs anxiety that is keeping you awake.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi nowellv – great question! I don't have any information on this, I'm afraid, as I am not aware of any research in this area, nor do I have any clinical experience of the effects of different drinks on sleep. I wonder if there is a gap in the sleep research for someone to work this out for you!

    I imagine, also, it is different for different people, just like some foods do not agree with certain people.

    Good question though – sorry I couldn't help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Darkloriscat,
    Thanks for your question. I believe it could be either, actually and that it's one of these cases where you need to monitor things a bit more over time. It could be that 6 hours is your optimal window. But, it could be that in a few months' time, this increases. It's hard to predict this sometimes. Frustrating, I know.

    I would be interested to hear if you ever slept through your full sleep window time of 7.5 hours?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi won052 – thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are doing incredibly well despite tricky sleeping conditions! You are only early on in this course, and this is when your body starts to react to the changes you are forcing it to make through routined sleep. It will feel hardest at the beginning, so be assured that that is normal. I am sure if you speak to some of the people on here, in the Sleepio community, they can reassure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that the best way science has found of settling out your sleep and making it more even across the nights, is by cognitive behavioural therapy (on which Sleepio is based). I hope that relights that fire!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thank you Dr. Creanor. There was one time I did sleep through my 7.5 hour schedule. I was at the local car race and walking around for 4 hours. After spending two more hours driving home, I was exhausted and slept 7.5 hours without waking once. I normally wake up two to three times a night, but for only a few minutes.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi nzjimmy2001 – thanks for your question. I would always say if you are worried about anything health-wise, go and see your doctor about it. That's the first thing.

    The second thing I would advise is to seek help on the panic attack front. If this anxiety problem is left untreated, it will likely maintain the sleep problem. You can still learn the Sleepio techniques alongside the anxiety work, and there is some work on your thoughts within Sleepio which will help, but seek help to target this anxiety as soon as possible to get the best out of this programme.

    All the best with this and thanks for your post.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for your reply – it sounds as if physical exercise may help you sleep longer then? We all have certain things that help us sleep longer – this may be yours. As for waking a couple times a night – especially because it's only for a few minutes – I would see this is very normal. It's expected that most good sleepers do this most nights.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Muggsy – thanks for your post. First thing I would say is, you are not alone at all in these feelings. Most people find that daytime tiredness and worrying about sleep is a full time concern and extremely draining indeed. So rest assured that it's not whining – it's very normal!

    There is a section in Sleepio – you may not have come to it yet – where you tackle your negative thoughts about sleep. Most people find that once they manage their thoughts on sleep, their anxiety about it reduces and in turn, their sleep improves (when done alongside the behavioural techniques).

    In terms of what may relax you/distract you, this is a personal thing and trial and error is key. This is a great forum to get ideas, though – use this community to get a list of ideas (they will tell you many more than I could!) and some of these may help you out a lot in your quest for relaxation.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Ray1 – I'm not surprised you're frustrated…1-2 hours' sleep is a lot to lose!!

    What you have been doing is exactly what I was thinking before I read the rest of your post. Pre-empt these little mini sleeps by working out when they happen (you can use a diary for this – see what activities they usually follow and what you are doing when they occur) and then get up and do something energetic or something that you cannot possibly sleep whilst engaged in. Exercise is a great idea though. You could always use a timer to remind you in case you forget/get engrossed in the TV!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    Expert

    It's pretty quiet out there tonight – please feel free to ask any questions about your sleep/the Sleepio course – I am here for another 30mins so happy to answer questions

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    Expert

    It ended up being a pretty quiet session today, but thanks to all those who posted in advance – hope I answered some of you queries.

    Sleep well!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thanks for that, Dr Creanor. The timer is a good idea. I'll try to find one with a repeater function on it so as to avoid having to set it every ten minutes.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thank you again, Dr. Creanor. It is true that when I exercise a lot and I am exhausted, I sleep very well. If I do not, then I am tired much later in the night and I wake up earlier in the morning. I will focus on getting more exercise and see if stretches my sleep window.

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