Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 25th January 2017

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 25th January, 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 19 Jan 2017 at 8:14 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    The advice given to a fellow Sleepio student was very helpful earlier in terms of staying awake late evening – moving around, talking to people, getting fresh air are all helpful strategies. Going for a walk can help too although the nights are darker just now so this is often less appealing in winter. It sometimes takes a ood number of weeks to alter sleep habits, so it's important not to have very high expectations regarding change in just a few weeks – everyone is different, but unlearning a sleep problem that's been around for a while can take time. My advice would be to plan things to do in the evening to stay awake and keep going with it a little while longer to see what changes occur. If there is no change after another wee while, come back and we can chat through some ideas.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 38 comments
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    Graduate

    Thank you dr creanor. It's week 1 and my sleep efficiency is less than 15% on some nights. I'm worried about this but I will be guided by you and the prof as hopefully following the course will improve this .
    Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    I'm sorry I don't recall this article so I'm not sure what was contained, however tips for getting up would be the following:
    – have a set wake up time each morning (even weekends)
    – get up straight away, do not dose
    – some people need an extra boost in the morning to wake them up properly if going to work/driving etc, so caffeine can help here, as well as getting into the sunlight as soon as possible

    Hope these help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It's awful not getting sleep. Anyone who has come through the programme will agree. But it can change and we have had lots of success stories here. Keeping positive that change can happen is crucial at the start of any new programme. Hopefully speaking to fellow students will also be encouraging at this early stage as they've been there too.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the post and for highlighting that it's not just new mums who struggle with sleep after the birth of children. It's difficult to have children in the room and apply these techniques as their sleep is so unpredictable. If another room isn't an option just now, people in this situation might look at wearing earphones with white noise playing/earplugs to reduce the impact of the crying child. The programme can also be paused until the child sleeps through the night/moves into their own room, however this may be a while if another is due soon.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    It's hard to say with apps just how accurate they record our sleep. I would always recommend that people take their own measurement of their sleep – their own estimates throughout the night – to compare them to the app's, just to test whether there is any discrepancy. In terms of thee symptoms mentioned, these are all typical insomnia side effects, and may take a while to improve. Evidence shows that these side effects do, however, gradually reduce once sleep starts to improve.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Congratulations on the improvements, this is great to hear! We advise that people increase their sleep window – either by 15 mins at start of night or 15 mins at morning end – each time their sleep efficiency reached 90% or more. In terms of extending access to the programme, people should contact hello@sleepio.com and someone there will be able to advise on this process.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    It sounds very frustrating to be face with such limiting environmental factors. I can't really comment on what should be done to combat this as that's more of a political question, however it is widely known that shift working and a noisy environment do have detrimental effects on our sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    This is an important point to raise as women do often experience changes in their sleep patterns during their monthly cycles and at menopause. In terms of the best medical remedies, this is something needing discussed with medical doctors – the local family doctor/GP – as it requires discussion and knowledge of medical histories, however such medications can be used when people are also using the Sleepio programme which will target the psychological aspects of sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Great point raised here – it's all to do with the bed-sleep connection. This is extremely common and is why Sleepio has built techniques to directly target this problem. For a great explanation, see library article called “The Bed-Sleep Connection: The Science”

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the question. Pain is one of the things that can wake people up, definitely. It's worth looking at all the factors that might be contributing as some may be psychological (such as worry/anxiety/low mood), environmental (sound/heat/comfort), or physical (needing the loo/pain/discomfort).

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    It's interesting that this topic has come up twice today within the session (see last post). Pain and discomfort does keep some of us awake and while there are cognitive and relaxation strategies that can help, it also may be worth working alongside professionals such as physiotherapists who may help to suggest different sleeping positions that may allow for a better night's sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Great questions. So, one can alter their sleep window (keeping length of sleep the same but altering the times) but as long as it's not done frequently. One shift is fine but we aim to be as consistent as possible once the shift is done. And once the 15 mins can be added, it can be added to either end of the sleep window. Most people prefer to anchor the wake time, but if it works better to stick to same bedtime and sleep on later, this is OK. Also worth mentioning that 2 weeks isn't a long time on the whole – don't worry too much if people aren't seeing changes quickly – unlearning unhelpful habits and learning new ones takes time. Good luck!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    That's fantastic – well done! It's always a bit up and down when we do any type of programme like this – there are little blips, then (with hard work and commitment!) things can change again.

    It's interesting when we notice patterns in our week such as this – it's helpful to pinpoint the trickier times. Longer wind-down can help, looking at what is different about these days (more caffeine? more stress? more travel? more thinking at bedtime?) and adjusting these factors but also having mindfulness as part of the plan would be excellent. If negative thoughts build up midweek, for instance, one could factor in some dedicated worry time during the day (not in evening) to problem solve the issues or write down worries instead of holding them in the head (as they usually surface at bedtime).

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    The 15 min rule is very daunting for many people. The reason it's there is to improve sleep efficiency and the bed-sleep connection. So, my advice for anyone struggling with it would be to continue with it because it is very likely the reason it wakes people up fully is because it triggers anxious thoughts such as “now I'll never get back to sleep!”, which triggers adrenaline etc throughout the body, physically waking it up, too. These anxious thoughts will also be targetted during the programme, so when these get under control, the 15 min rule will become easier. Hope this helps…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 4

    Does warm milk at night helpful in getting to sleep if so why?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2622 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    I believe it does (not too close to bed so it makes the bladder full) – although I'm not sure about the why! I will see what I can find out…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for today folks – thanks for all the posts – see you again soon.
    Vicki

  • Sleepio Member

    • 37 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks very much for this Feeling really positive about extending my sleep window now

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I have to report…I have been a Physiotherapist for 25 years specialising in pain and disability in the NHS. Its made it worse knowing how challenged I am now..feeling I knew so much advising people over years.

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