Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 24th July 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 24th July, from 8.15pm to 9.45pm British Time or 3.15pm to 4.45pm US Eastern 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. 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.

Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor will not be able to give personal medical advice including those about medication. Her 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 20 Jul 2019 at 2:42 AM
  • 20 comments
  • 1 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 1 helped
    Session 4

    Hi Doc,

    Is waking up slightly to turnover from one side to another (which lasts approx 30 seconds/1min) classed as a waking? Does it need recording? If so how?

    i.e. I go to the loo twice in the night both mean I am awake for 30 mins per event so I record these.

    In the same night I roll over 6 times that I am aware of for 30 seconds per time.

    Please advise.

    Many thanks, Scott

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    Is there a link between personality type and sleep problems. I am an intj and my my mind is constantly racing and trying to fill itself with knowledge. I stay up late watching and reading stuff to learn more about totally random subjects I find interesting. I find the concept of work a waste of life so I try to constantly squeeze every last drop out of my free time and maximise it, which usually means lost sleep. This is like torture!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 121 comments
    • 42 helped
    Graduate

    If I wake early (an hour or more before scheduled waking time) and get up after a quarter of a hour, what can I do to avoid this too early rise becoming a habit? It is very unlikely that I shall feel sleepy again before the end of my sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 19 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    How do you sleep when it's really hot and stuffy?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi,
    I suffer very badly with a ‘racing mind’ to the extent that often I think I am awake for many hours at a time. In fact I believe that I drift in and out of sleep but the thinking seems to continue through all of this. Session 5 ha helped me to begin to address this but would you be able to offer any further advice on how to overcome the problem?
    Many thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 10 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor,

    I would like to know your thoughts on sleep trackers, specifically in regards to two items. I use “SleepScore” which is not a wearable, but one that detects your sleep pattern via sonar. It has supposedly been validated by comparison to polysomnography.

    (For the curious, see below, and click on “About the SleepScore App” and then “How Does SleepScore Track My Sleep)
    https://www.sleepscore.com/sleepscore-app/faq/

    1) How accurate do you believe such a tracker to be, and how seriously should we take the results? I generally use my nightly tracker results as a starting point, but sometimes adjust my Sleepio diary entries to reflect my own perception of my sleep as well as the tracker data. For example, if I don't remember being awake for a stretch that the tracker indicates, I might adjust my Sleepio diary and not include that in my wake time. Or I might do the reverse, adding to wake time, if my perception so indicates.
    My doctor (Yay! The specialist had a cancellation!) prescribed gabapentin (300-600 mg PO HS) as a non-hormonal treatment for menopausal symptoms. The tracker says I still wake up as many as 10 or more times a night, but I do not remember most of these wake-ups. Do I assume the tracker data is incorrect, or assume those wake-ups are still happening?

    2) I am someone wary of trackers (sleep or otherwise) in general, because I think they can encourage the development of an unhealthy obsessive relationship with the parameter being tracked. I have been fairly vigilant, and have managed to about avoid this phenomenon, but if you could speak to it as well, I believe it would be useful to many of us.

    Thank you for your time.
    Paula

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Good evening and welcome to this week's live Sleepio session. I'm a clinical psychologist with a special interest in sleep behaviour and I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any questions relating to sleep or the Sleepio programme. Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Scott and thanks for getting in touch. Because everyone – even good sleepers – wakes up a few times per night, these very brief wakenings are normal – especially in hot weather as or bodies wake due to the overheating. However when they become longer or it takes longer (more than 15mins) to fall back to sleep, this is when you should think about putting some techniques into place. It's personal preference as to whether one records these brief wakenings in their sleep diary but many people do not. Hope this helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thank you for your question. By INTJ, I'm guessing you mean introverted, intuitive, thinking and judgemental type? There are many reasons our mind may be racing, sometimes it comes down to things like personality type, sometimes it comes down to underlying difficulties such as anxiety/stress or underlying neurodevelopmental conditions. Sometimes it's a combination. All of these can cause a proneness to sleeping less, or struggling more with sleep. Even if one believes it is down to simply personality type, there are still ways to help with the racing mind via cognitive and behavioural techniques. It can be daunting starting a course such as this, but rest assured there will be weekly exercises to practise that will help with the racing mind and that may help you to take things at a different pace in order to prioritise your sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello Dr Creanor

    I am in my second week of the program – I listen to audio books at night and initially it helps me to fall asleep but I was wondering when I forget to switch off and wake up with it on if it contributes to me not having a refreshed sleep. Pat

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello and thanks for your question. I don't have a lot of detail here about the length/timing of your sleep window, however sometimes when this early morning wakening first occurs after a period of better sleep, it is due to a shift in our mood/stress/anxiety. The summer months can also cause earlier wakening due to the light outside creeping into our bedrooms, or due to rising temperatures waking us early. Drinking more alcohol can lead to broken sleep, too. If it is only a new difficulty and hasn't happened too often, try not to worry too much about this and you may find it shifts again. Worry about it becoming a habit can often make bedtime more anxiety-provoking, so try to view it as something that will likely pass. If it does continue, however, have a think about what may be causing it and try to address these first, but if this is not successful, some people find that shifting their sleep window to an earlier time might help to fulfil the full allocated sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there thanks for getting in touch today. I hope you're enjoying the course so far. I suppose it depends on 2 things in my opinion – 1) do you wake up in the middle of the night with it playing and 2) how refreshed you feel on mornings when you wake having played an audio book vs not?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi – great question for a week where the UK is in the middle of a heat wave…

    There are many ideas out there – in fact the BBC news app has some on there today – but here are a few that have helped my clients in the past:

    – use a fan in the bedroom with a bowl of ice in front of it
    – put the bedsheets/pillowcases in a freezer for an hour before bed
    – wear light bedclothes/sleep naked
    – open windows if it is safe
    – keep bedroom curtains closed during the day
    – fill a water bottle with iced water
    – drink plenty of fluids during the day and go to the toilet before bed to avoid needing to pee in the middle of the night – ditch the duvet and use sheets instead – cool socks in freezer before bed and wear in bed
    – avoid alcohol

    Hope these help some people tonight…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks for your response, listening to the audio stops me from worrying about being awake initially and I do fall asleep, but I guess when I fall asleep with it on the inclination is for me to continue listening when I wake instead of trying to go back to sleep and ultimately this possibly contributes to my broken sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there. Sorry to hear it's a bit of a struggle just now. A racing mind is a common issue in relation to sleep problems and one that is difficult to bear at times, especially at night when there are fewer distractions. I wonder if you have covered the thought blocking and thought challenging techniques yet? These are often helpful to target this problem. Another strategy that may help is to schedule in 30mins during the day (before late afternoon) to note down some of the things that are on your mind that day and work through some solutions if need be. This is often really helpful as it tells your mind that these issues have been thought through by the time you go to bed and they can be less likely to resurface at night. Other techniques include incorporating a good relaxation or mindfulness exercise into your day and to have a regular, consistent wind down routine every night that follows the same pattern.

    If these do not work, it might be an idea to seek help for any underlying anxiety/stress that may be driving the racing mind.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Ah OK – yes, if you wake before your scheduled wake time with it still on, then this is likely to, as you suggest, prevent more restful sleep occurring. You could try to listen to it outwith the bedroom for the 30 mins before bed if this was possible – might prevent falling asleep to it?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Paula and thanks for getting in touch with this question. I can't speak for this particular tracker as I don't have personal experience of it, however I also have concerns over the accuracy of some devices. Some may be oversensitive and suggest one is awake when simply restless, while others are undersensitive and cannot accurately depict when one is awake but still. So, I would suggest exactly as you have been doing – go on personal intuition as this is often pretty accurate re sleep. In terms of the obsession you talk about, this can definitely happen to some people so if people suspect this is occurring, it may be best to go back to using instinct as the best measurer of sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 121 comments
    • 42 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    No, it has been a issue for a long time. I thought things were getting better but now seem to have relapsed. I just don’t want to be getting up at 5.30. If I go to bed earlier, I shall wake even earlier. I don’t want to be falling asleep on the sofa during the evening either.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there, thanks for this info. Have you also tried shifting your sleep window forward? going to bed later? Sometimes this can help reduce early wakening. It may also be wise to look into what might be causing the problem as mentioned above – sometimes targetting underlying anxiety/mood difficulties can have a positive effect on early wakening.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this session, folks. Stay cool in the hot weather and speak to you soon!

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