Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 22nd January 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 22nd January 2020, 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 Jan 2020 at 5:59 PM
  • 22 comments
  • 12 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Dear Dr Creanor
    I have sleep maintenance insomnia. I would welcome your advice on how the restricted sleep window can be of help to me. My window is currently 10:00pm to 5:45am. (This has increased over the last 3 weeks from 10:00pm to 5:00am.) I invariably wake any time between 2:00am and 4:00am. I try progressive muscular relaxation. When it does not work (which is more often than not currently) I apply QHR, get up and do something relaxing. It is usually about 45 minutes or an hour before I feel sleepy tired. Then I go back to bed, and usually after another progressive muscular relaxation I get back to sleep. I am feeling very exhausted and under stress at present due to an illness in my family. So I have been turning off my alarm clock and often sleep through until 6:30am or 7:15am. That way at least I get the extra sleep. How will sticking with the restricted sleep window help, as it seems to me the only result is I would end up with 30 minutes or an hours less sleep?
    Thanks in anticipation for your help.
    David

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, if I go to bed late, like 1.30 – 2am and sleep for only 4-5 hours I feel tirĂ©e but ok the next day. But if I go to bed earlier, like 11pm I will wake up around 4 or 5 pm…. And feel horrible the whole next day, I mean really horrible
    So what's best ?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    I tried my first QHR last night! Very conscious of doing it so when I woke at 2 after going to bed at 12, I got up and came downstairs trying not to open my eyes and just snuggled in a blanket downstairs and did a guided meditation, went back to bed at 2.45 after thinking I was sleepy but had to get up again and this time just sat in the dark for another hour, went back bed and slept for about an hour or so then up at 7. The clock is my enemy but you need to look at the time in order to fulfill your sleep diary? Two questions, is it ok just to look at the clock when getting up and going to bed? And can you just sit in the dark when you get up or do you need to do something?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hello and welcome to the live Sleepio discussion session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with a special interest in sleep behaviour. I will be here for the next hour and a half to answer any questions you may have about sleep – or the Sleepio techniques. Look forward to hearing from you :)

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thanks for your post. Many people with additional physical health problems will find that sleep can be a difficulty too. If someone is bedridden, what can help to separate night time from daytime is to help make the bedroom seem like a different environment as much as possible at those different times. So, during the day, get as much light into the room as possible, make it noisier, open a window to get fresh air in. At night, have a blackout blind, make it cooler and darker and quieter. This can help the mind see it as a different space. Hope this helps answer your question?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch. What people do during the QHR (quarter hour rule) varies greatly. Some people like to sit quietly and do nothing, while some prefer to listen to gentle music or do some relaxation. What is important is to do something that relaxes you. And yes, whenever you feel sleepy tired, this is when you should return to bed. A trip to the loo shouldn't wake you up too much, but if you find it is, try and reduce fluids/ensure a trip to the loo before you retire for the night to try and reduce the likelihood of this happening later in the night.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thanks for your question about sleep restriction. The main aim of this technique is to help reduce the fragmented nature of someone' sleep pattern by looking at how much sleep they actually get on average per night, and using this as a starting point. Reducing sleep time aims to cut out all the wakeful periods throughout the night by increasing the sleep pressure before bed, which makes us more sleepy. If we have less time to sleep, the likelihood is that we will sleep in more of a solid chunk. It is also helpful for our sleep efficiency (how much time we actually sleep in bed compared to how much time we spend awake in bed). When we start this technique, though, our body clocks are often confused about what's going on and it takes a while to adjust, so sleep may remain broken for a while until it starts to understand the new pattern. This may be what you are experiencing at the moment. But usually when people stick with sleep restriction, they find it a very effective way to improve their fragmented sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
    • 9 helped
    Graduate

    Hi, I'm on night 4 of SR, with a 5 hour sleep window and I'm finding it pretty hideous!
    I'm really hoping after years of bad sleep that Sleepio is going to help me. I'm a teacher and have been asked to go on a residential trip to France in the summer. The trip involves all night travel (impossible to sleep) and then 4 nights in a very noisy hostel. If my sleep is disrupted for the week, will I be able to pick up my sleep routine where I left it, or will it set me back massively, because I really don't want to do this again!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    It sounds as if going to bed later may suit you best – you may find that you achieve more deep sleep if you leave it until later in the night. Some of us are simply wired in a certain way that makes us better at sleeping later on in the night. If this window works in with your lifestyle, this may be best to stick with.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
    • 9 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    So can we shift our block of time, as long as it's the same number of hours?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there – thanks for your question. Hopefully by the summer your sleep will be much improved, but it is possible to pause the programme if you know you will be having a period of time away or where good sleep may be hard to achieve. If sleep is getting back on track by then, you may also find that one bad week won't affect the following weeks too much as long as the techniques are put back into place on your return. Hope this helps to reassure you.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Yes you can shift your sleep window to any time that suits you, but after you've decided when it should be, try and stick to this to ensure it becomes a consistent bed/rise time and only change it to add 15 mins of extra sleep time when efficiency improves.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    Due to my sleep window being shorter I am missing out on sleep which is making me over tired, being over tired is causing my insomnia to become much worse. Two nights ago my sleep dropped to 1 hour all night, yesterday 2 hours and last night I was so tired I didn't sleep for a second. Is this normal? what can I do? I have always been that way, the more over exusted I get the less I sleep

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi – thanks for your post. So first of all, the clock issue is a tricky one isn't it? We advise not to look at it too often, yet ask for timings of wakenings! What might help is, when you wake, take a brief screenshot on your phone if you have a smartphone – this will pop it into your photos for the morning and will get around staring at a clock. You can set the screen to dark mode to avoid it waking you up too much too. As for what to do during the QHR periods, this is up to you. If you prefer to sit and do nothing, this is OK – others may prefer to listen to music or do a relaxation technique. The main thing is to avoid stimulating activities (eating/drinking/watching TV) and try and stay calm and quiet so sleep is more likely to happen.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    It can take a while for the body to get used to shorter sleep windows and some disruption during sleep restriction is common. However, given the additional health problems you mentioned, I wonder if this sleep work has been discussed with your GP/family doctor?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
    • 9 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    So I would't have to go back to a 5 hour sleep window, because if so, I won't go on the trip!!!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    This depends on what someone's sleep is doing at any point in time. If it improved, then, for example following a period of stress, it take a dip again and sleep becomes very fragmented again, it may be necessary to try sleep restriction again, but only if this seems to become the pattern. Not if sleep is only affected for a shorter time period.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thats a reify to here. Whenever I speak to the doctors they prescribe me more sleeping medications and these are not very effective. I will try and speak to them again. I feel that Sleepio will work, just relived it happened to others and then it balances out for them.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Yes I'd clarify that this programme is something you're working on at the moment so they are aware and they may be able to advise better given they know your medical history.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this evening. Thanks for your questions. Speak to you again soon.

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