Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 27th May 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 27th May, 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.

To keep up with new comments as they are posted you will need to refresh this discussion page.

To do this

On PC hit CTRL and R keys or the F5 key
On Mac hit CMD and R

Posted 21 May 2020 at 7:23 PM
  • 27 comments
  • 5 helped

Comments

Show older comments
  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Brilliant well done…if we feel we have had a good night, that is surely better than numbers and algorithms! 8))
    Also add in what you did during that day so you can look back in time and see how you were doing and which things worked for you and which didn’t.
    Glad to have helped.
    Kurly :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Is this the right place to pose a question to Dr Creanor? I have just done Session 4. My problem is that my partner snores (above the ear plugs I wear each night) and this has contributed to my insomnia/sleep anxiety. Now with sleep restriction I also wake him up when he is asleep so it’s not easy for either of us. He has tried to sleep in the spare room but the bed doesn’t suit him. I CAN sleep there, in fact I often end up either there or the sofa – but what is this doing for my bed/sleep connection? Any ideas on how to deal with a snoring partner? Thank you!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor! I am in my first week attempting to comply with the sleep window, and I’m sort of confused about some of the nitty gritty details of how to put it into practice. Some examples:

    1) I continue to do the muscle relaxation exercises before sleep as part of my wind down routine, but I typically do these in bed. Does this mean that this time that I am doing the exercises takes away from my sleep efficiency because I’m in bed but not yet technically trying to fall asleep? If I want to be lying down to do the exercises, is the solution to do them on the floor in my bedroom? This seems like an absurd distinction.

    2) I generally have not been AS noticeably sleepy at my designated go-to-sleep time (10:45 pm) as I am about an hour beforehand and an hour afterward, and even then I am not “drop dead sleepy.” I understand that the program is saying that I should wait until I am sleepy to go to bed, but my question is, “How sleepy do I have to be?” My issue is staying asleep through the night, not really getting to sleep in the first place, so I suspect I should just try going to sleep at 10:45 and seeing if it works even though I am not feeling very sleepy, but I find the program’s advice confusing.

    3) During the night, the program’s advice is to get up if you have been awake for a quarter hour, but not to constantly look at the clock to check. Without looking at the clock, I have no idea how long I’ve been awake. I don’t really like looking at the clock the moment that I wake up to see what time it is, because that tends to cause a small adrenaline/anxiety spike. But without looking at the clock, I really don’t have a good idea of how long it’s been. I also find that “lying awake” is a slippery concept. When I wake up, I am not suddenly wide awake. I am still sleepy and want to stay in bed. If I feel that way, it seems weird to get up, because the program’s other advice is to go back to bed when you feel sleepy. So if I get up after lying in bed for approx. a quarter hour and go to the living room, and I ask myself “Are you sleepy?” the answer is Yes, I can barely keep my eyes open, so then the logical response is to go right back to bed, in which case I wonder whether the advice to get out of bed in the first place makes sense in my situation, or if it is reserved more for people who wake up and ruminate really don’t feel sleepy any more after they’ve been awake for a while.

    I hope these questions make sense and very much appreciate any guidance.

    Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr Creanor,
    I have 2 questions: Is it possible that by getting out of bed after being awake for 15 minutes or so every night, I will create a habbit? I actually do wake up about 3 hours after going to sleep every night. Sometimes I can fall back to sleep after about 30 mins but usually it takes over 2 hours. Getting up seems to extend the time it takes to get back to sleep. I never feel sleepy once I get up in the middle of the night so I just go back to bed after about 30 mins.
    Secondly, is it pssible to be too tired to sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi LyLoLil, I’ve just left you a message about your OH snoring – hope it helps.
    Kurly :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi bold Ben
    I’ve left you a message on your profile page :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Good evening and welcome to the live Sleepio session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with an interest in sleep, and I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any questions you may have about sleep or the Sleepio programme. Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch. First of all, I'm so pleased to hear how well you're doing and about the improvements you've made. Yes it can be that, when we wake with an alarm, our body hasn't yet reached the lighter stages of sleep that tend to lead to us waking naturally, so this sounds similar to what you describe. As time goes on and you extend the sleep window and your body gets into more of a natural sleep, this is likely to lessen. But in the meantime, when you wake, having some caffeine and getting fresh air and daylight as early as you can may help kick start the body a little quicker.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    HI Moxie,
    I'm really sorry to hear this. It is true that the effectiveness of any type of treatment may not be as high for some compared to others, but it sounds as if sleep quality is the problem here. This is an area that is still being studied and we are learning more about it now. Lack of deep sleep is often the cause of poor sleep quality or feeling unrefreshed upon wakening. Lack of deep sleep can be caused by many factors – age (we get less deep sleep as we age), underlying conditions, medication, diet, exercise.

    There are a couple of articles about it in the library if you're interested:

    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/sleep-science/what-accounts-for-unrefreshing-sleep/

    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/how-to-sleep/how-to-get-a-good-nights-sleep/

    Sometimes, as other aspects of sleep are worked on, sleep quality also improves. Other things that may help to increase deep sleep are: increased exercise during the day, a good, consistent bedtime routine, working on any stress/anxiety/depression that is present and having a hot bath/shower before bed. I hope that some of these things may be worth a try for you and that you find your sleep quality improving as time goes on.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there and thanks for your question. Sleep quality is very much a subjective measure, so first of all don't worry about it being anything other than a 'gut' reaction to the question. I tend to suggest people record this as soon as they wake up. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi njee2,

    Thanks you for getting in touch. I can understand your fear about sleep restriction given the difficult times you mention in the past.

    Let me first answer your question about the lie-down in the daytime. We don't advise this generally because any time spent napping during the day reduces the likelihood of the body being able to fall asleep well at night. Even if it's a short nap.

    Sleep restriction is one of the toughest parts of the course. It requires the person working out how much sleep on average they get per night (for example 6 hours). Then, the person is asked to only go to bed for this length of time in the first instance and to decide where to place this 'sleep window' of 6 hours. So it could be 10pm-4am or 12 mindnight-6am etc etc. Next, the person calculates how much sleep they are getting during this new pattern, compared to the time they're spending in bed. If they find themselves sleeping most of the time they are in bed (we call this sleep efficiency), then they can increase the 'sleep window' by 15 mins and start the process again. This keeps increasing if sleep is going well until a good healthy sleep pattern is established.

    I am pleased to hear you are liaising with a psychiatrist. It is a very personal decision as to whether someone undertakes any aspect of this course, which is designed in a self-help way, as opposed to being prescriptive. So I would suggest that you discuss this at each step with your psychiatrist so they can monitor your progress and the effect on your mental health. You and they will then be better able to assess how it is working for you, or if indeed you wish to use this specific technique.

    I wish you all the best going forward in the programme.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello – yes! Right place :)

    Thanks for your post. It's a very difficult issue, unfortunately, trying to balance improving sleep with maintaining a good relationship!

    The earplugs is something we suggest, but it sounds as if you've tried this and it's too loud for this too. I wonder if you've tried white noise playing through ear phones?

    As for separate beds, this is something many people do try and I would say that, for the time being, you might set up the spare bed as yours until sleep gets back on track. This would be a better alternative to the sofa. It's not an ideal situation, but it may be the best option for now.

    Another option that some people have tried is to record the snoring, then listen to it while doing some relaxation exercises. This helps to associate the noise with a relaxing feeling rather than an anxious one, so that, gradually you start to feel more used to the noise and more calm about it. Often it's also the anxiety around a noise that reduces our ability to sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello – yes! Right place :)

    Thanks for your post. It's a very difficult issue, unfortunately, trying to balance improving sleep with maintaining a good relationship!

    The earplugs is something we suggest, but it sounds as if you've tried this and it's too loud for this too. I wonder if you've tried white noise playing through ear phones?

    As for separate beds, this is something many people do try and I would say that, for the time being, you might set up the spare bed as yours until sleep gets back on track. This would be a better alternative to the sofa. It's not an ideal situation, but it may be the best option for now.

    Another option that some people have tried is to record the snoring, then listen to it while doing some relaxation exercises. This helps to associate the noise with a relaxing feeling rather than an anxious one, so that, gradually you start to feel more used to the noise and more calm about it. Often it's also the anxiety around a noise that reduces our ability to sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Dr Creanor,

    I'm new to the sleep course and joined yesterday.

    My main problem is that I keep naturally waking up after around 6 hours of sleep consistently, but always feel very tired when I do wake up. I also struggle to return back to sleep so that I can wake up with my alarm, which is frustrating.

    I hope that I can naturally return to sleeping for a minimum 7-8 hours, but as the factors affecting me are not noise/light or underlying health issues that I'm aware of, what other reasons might be causing me to constantly wake up after 6 hours of sleep? Is it possibly an issue with my sleep cycles? Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thanks for your questions. I'll answer them one by one…

    1) This one splits clinicians!! My point of view is that it would be better to do this outwith bed initially if someone finds it hard to get to sleep. You're right, it may impact on the sleep efficiency depending on how long it lasts. However, some people find that by doing it in bed, they spend 15 mins on it then fall asleep instantly – when this is the case, I think it's OK to do in bed. If you fall into the former category, and not falling asleep as soon as it's over, I'd find a relaxing place to do this – even on the sofa is fine.

    2) It's vague isn't it? And this is because some people define 'sleepiness' in many different ways, so it can't be too prescriptive. A good marker is when you feel as if your eyes are closing – like the situation many of us have been in when you're at school/work/in someone's company and you're exhausted and desperate to sleep yet have to fight it. This is a good time to go to bed. However, the key is how long it takes you to get to sleep. If you are not finding yourself sleepy at bedtime, it may be that you need to shift bedtime a little later or alter the activities you're doing before bed (making them less stimulating and more relaxing).

    3) I think you describe how many people feel – there is sometimes a difficulty in guessing how long you've been awake. It's simply a guess though – don't place to much emphasis on it being very accurate, but perhaps time yourself during the day feeling what 15 mins feels like so you can estimate it better in bed without clocks. When you feel as if you may drop off again any second, it's fine to let that happen, however if you're lying awake wondering whether you're so sleepy you may fall asleep again or whether you may be awake enough to get up – this may be a sign that your mind is awake enough to be getting up for the quarter hour rule. Hope that makes sense?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi – first of all, welcome to the Sleepio course :)

    There are many factors that influence sleep behaviour. As well as those you mention, other factors include: age, stress/anxiety/low mood, body clock issues, poor sleep habits built up over the years, medication, diet, exercise, lifestyle. There are more still that haven't been mentioned.

    Over the course of the programme, you will learn how to tackle various elements of your sleep and by doing so, will target the parts that need improving. I hope you continue to gain benefit from the Sleepio community – both through these sessions and by talking to your fellow Sleepio members.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there – thanks for your post.

    So first of all, in terms of the quarter hour rule, it's unlikely to start a habit. What tends to happen is that it's needed less often as time goes on because sleep onset improves after going back to bed. It can take a while for sleep to settle into a new pattern, however, so often it can get a little worse before it gets better. When you are up in the quarter hour rule time, have a think about what might help relax you more. Avoid stimulation like TV/reading a good book that gets you hooked in, avoid drinking/eating too and create a warm, snug space to sit and – if it comes to it – do absolutely nothing. Sometimes it's a bit of trial and error with what gets us more sleepy at this time.

    Secondly, you often hear that people are too tired to sleep but if we are truly sleepy, the body will give into it. What is usually happening is that we are overthinking things and becoming anxious about sleep the longer it goes on, so the brain is actually remaining alert and awake as a result. It thinks there is a threat, so sleep is delayed further.

    Hope this helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thank you. I will persevere with the QHR.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this discussion session. Take care and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 39 comments
    • 10 helped
    Graduate

    Just wanted to say i found all these questions and answers really useful. Thanks to everyone and Dr Creanor.

Return to top