Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 22nd February 2017

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 22nd February, 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. 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 16 Feb 2017 at 12:59 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    You're very welcome, glad you got it sorted out.
    Yes that's right – it's important to stick to a regular, consistent wake time, despite the night's sleep that's gone before. It will feel strange and unhelpful, but it helps set the body up for better sleep in the long term.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    Sounds like it's stressful just now. I wonder if others on the community forum have any helpful ideas re a partner who snores, as it's a more tricky one to get around at times. Some people sleep separately just until the sleep is a bit better and more reliable, but this is a difficult choice to make. With the sleep hygiene work, we recognise most people will have tried these things, but they're there to highlight some ideas to those who haven't looked yet at the impact the environment has on their sleep. But as for the racing thoughts and relaxation, the thought blocking ('the the' technique) exercise may be helpful, otherwise I would recommend practising the relaxation exercises not just when in bed, but several times a day to get the body used to them. Making sure the bedtime routine is truly consistent can be effective, too, to get the mind wound down enough for bed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    Like many things, when change is introduced, it can be daunting. I would have a think about the new sleep environment and try to match it as much as possible to the one that's been experienced for the past while. I would then think about reintroducing the new sleeping environment gradually – so two nights the first week, then four the next, etc etc. Then perhaps ask the community about tips on getting through partner snoring?? Some people play white noise/music in the room or in earphones or wear earplugs to block out external noises.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the post. With any type of treatment programme, there will be some people who benefit quicker than others and some who see benefits after a longer time. Often, it depends on many factors, but one of these is how long the insomnia was present for. If it's been around for 30 years for instance, it can sometimes take longer to relearn new patterns of behaviour compared to a fairly recent onset. For others, it takes longer because there is an underlying problem such as low mood/stress/anxiety or life doesn't allow for regular bedtimes and rise times as recommended. So it depends as to how quickly results are seen. Although people may see others' posts about fast change, 5 weeks into the programme is still early days, so many people find if they stick with the techniques, change will start to occur. Hope this offers some encouragement …

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    PS – re things getting worse initially, this is experienced by many in that even the change of starting to do the programme makes them think more about their sleep, which can make the sleep worse before it improves.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks Dr Creanor. I've only had severe insomnia for 5 months, and there is no underlying depression, and have what I consider to be the usual sorts of life stresses. I have no problem with regular bedtimes and live a pretty organised and regular life. So I'm really frustrated not to see changes sooner.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Yes this is possible – it often depends which phase of sleep one is in as to how alert they are.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Also, I've been restricting my sleep for about 2 months now, and had CBT with a therapist before coming to Sleepio.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for your response. It may simply be that more of a focus on sleep is increasing awareness about it and scrutiny is being placed on what changes are occurring? If these changes are slower to happen than were expected (which can sometimes just naturally be the case), it can cause there to be an underlying anxiety about the whole process, adding even more scrutiny to the sleep, keeping the cycle going. In this situation, mindfulness exercises can be quite helpful – I believe there may be one explained in the course?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Absolutely. Sleep problems are a very common side effect of PTSD, often because there is a fear of nightmares occurring. For others, they fear sleeping because it brings with it a reduced state of control, which can be initially scary after a trauma.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 52 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I haven't come across a mindfulness exercise yet. There are relaxation downloads and a visualisation one. I use all of those regularly.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    It might be worth trying a mindfulness exercise as this is slightly different to relaxation. But also, if the above idea rings true. the thought challenging exercise will also be helpful to challenge the difference between expected progress and actual progress. This may then lead to acceptance that it will take time but will likely help in the long term.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 52 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I do thought challenging at least 4 times a day. Sorry to keep coming back to you, but I really do feel like I'm following all the advice and just not progressing! Very up for a mindfulness exercise – can you point out where I will find one? I've had another look in my case file and there definitely isn't one there. Thanks so much.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    No problem at all, it can be very frustrating when progress is slower. I have had a look too and there doesn't seem to be one in the programme just now – I think there used to be one, perhaps it was removed. I will check this with the team when we meet next. It's something that needs practice, but it's about accepting negative thoughts or experiences for what they are and trying not to judge them or get angry by them. It's also about grounding oneself in the moment rather than looking ahead too much. People can do this by simply learning to focus on nothing apart from their breath, how it makes their stomach go in and out, how they sound when they are breathing, how it feels within their body etc. This automatically takes the mind off racing thoughts.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hello, thank you for your response. You mentioned in a previous post that an underlying problem such as anxiety may be the reason that it takes longer to respond to the programme. In that case would you object to mirtazapine as a way to overcome this anxiety?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    I can't comment on medications I'm afraid – that's best for people to speak to their own medical doctor about for safety reasons, but medication can be used to treat underlying mood/anxiety problems alongside Sleepio.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    *individuals' medications I should say!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 20 comments
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    Graduate

    That's okay- I will try my best to go without!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    Expert

    Thanks for all the posts folks – until next time…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, What do I do about SR when travelling across time zones? I have to be in the US at the end of the month for work so need my wits about me so could really do with sleep while there. How do I handle the time change and the SR?

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