Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 27th May

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 27th May, 8.15pm-9.45pm BST.

She will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half and, as always, you’re welcome to ask any questions at all about sleep or the Sleepio program. Please do note however that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor won’t be able to give highly specific medical advice. She will however try to help as best as she can!

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Posted 22 May 2015 at 10:30 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    (I'm also not sure how to rate this issue in my sleep diary – would the 7am wake count as final wake time, or wake during night due to then subsequently falling back to sleep?)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi EmmaMouse thanks for your question. You seem to have lot of insight into what would be a good relaxation activity for you and what wouldn't. It sounds very wise to avoid things that cause you frustration and that might lead to increased negative thinking and worrying/stress at night-time. If you find folding clothes soothing, by all means use this in your wind down routine. It really is important to acknowledge the individual aspect of relaxation as one person will find folding clothes stressful and irritating while others like you will find it soothing – possibly because it is repetitive and doesn't involve a lot of thought. In my opinion, light reading is OK at bedtime as long as feel the benefit from it. What we say about reading being problematic is if it is a real page-turner that keeps you awake, or if it is very violent or stimulating and therefore reduces the ability to wind down. It really depends on the content and how you react to the material, but if you find it relaxing and regard it as light reading, I don't see the problem with it…as long as it is done outwith the bedroom. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – you may be experiencing non-restorative sleep. Often people with this do manage to get what seems like a decent night's sleep in terms of length, but it's the quality that suffers. Sleepio is designed to improve this too an has been found to be effective in doing so, so I hope this is reassuring. Do you manage to fall asleep OK when you retire? I'm wondering if it might be that your sleep window needs shifting.

    As for your question re how to enter this into the sleep diary, would it be OK if I checked this with the technical team and got back to you? Just want to make sure you get the most accurate answer and they're best placed to do that.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Rosslyn,
    Hope the above answer helped – I would say that it very much depends on the material that you read, where you read it (it should be outside the bedroom) and how you react to this material (you do not want to be stimulated or too interested in it so that it makes you think about it once you retire).

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    Yes of course, that would be great if you could check that and let me know.

    That's really interesting re non-restorative sleep. I drift into sleep very well at night, usually around 11pm. I'm strict with getting a good, and usually long night's sleep. And often wondered if I sleep too much, though looking at my sleep diary now see that may actual sleeping time is pretty average.

    Do you have any initial thoughts on whether it's better for me to force myself up early, or allow myself to fall back to sleep for a while in the mornings?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Mitchell,
    Thanks for your question. Sleepio is very much a psychology-driven treatment for sleep problems. As such, we advise in our guidelines that medical issues and specific medicine-related questions are better addressed by those medically trained, such as your GP/family doctor. As I'm sure you'll understand, it's important to get the most appropriate help when you are altering medication. The person who prescribed it for you will be best placed to give you advice on weaning off it if this is your wish.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Have a look at the articles in the library about non-restorative sleep – you will likely find them interesting. Just search for non-restorative and you'll find it.

    We tend to recommend as a way of getting regular sleep and getting the body back on track for optimal sleep that you rise when your alarm goes off and do not go back to sleep. This is tricky I can imagine (!) however there are ways you can make it easier. Have your alarm very loud, have the heating on for when you get up so it's more appealing, have something planned for the morning so you must get up on time etc…people here may also have some ideas for making this easier. You may find that having a more regular patterns helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Betty21,
    I can really sense your frustration and the fact you're being pulled in different directions here! First of all, it sounds as if your husband is being very supportive, which is great and much needed when we're trying to get our sleep back on track. It might help to think of it as a short-term sacrifice for a longer-term benefit in terms of sleep. There will be things that really do help treat sleep problems that, in the short term, do feel antisocial. This is really normal but people struggle with this especially when they have partners (and even more so when those partners are so supportive and willing to put up with a few short-term changes!)

    If the TV isn't working for you, it seems counterproductive to have it on while you're trying to wind down. Likewise, if reading alone makes you dose off, this will affect your sleep efficiency.

    Is there something else you could do that would be a calming activity but that would be more sociable? Some people in the community may have ideas of joint activities that are relaxing as part of the wind down routine.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Scott1981,
    This is a really interesting question and one I've not been asked before so thank you. There is something that springs to mind that may help. There's a technique called paradoxical intention that can help people fall asleep. You repeat “don't fall asleep” over and over and it can help trick the brain into sleeping as it doesn't tend to notice the “don't”. It's usually used when people put lots of effort into trying to sleep rather than letting it happen like good sleepers do, but it could work to replace the cognitions that are keeping you awake in the form of the song. In the same way, you could also repeat over and over a calming word, such as “relax” to see if it might block out the song?

    I will also take this to the rest of the clinical team if that's OK, though, as it's a really interesting question and I'd be keen to know if they have come across any specific techniques for this problem.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with this. It sounds as if you have a lot to contend with. With medical conditions such as CFS, it's really important to follow your medical practitioner's advice and adopt the Sleepio techniques where you can – and check this with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to do so. In terms of what techniques are specifically helpful for CFS, I'd like to check this out and get back to you if that's OK as I'm not sure off the top of my head and want to get you the right advice. Would that be OK?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Dragan,
    Thanks for your post and welcome to the online community if this is your first time. There is the obvious advice about watching what your fluid intake is before you retire, but I'm sure you have looked at and amended this already. In terms of what else might help, it's really important to stick to the quarter hour rule when you are up during the night. If you can't get back to sleep after approx 15 minutes, move to another room and wait until you feel sleepy tired, then return to bed. This must be repeated as often as required and tends to help people get more solid periods of sleep. You may have gotten into a cycle of feeling awake after you get up and, if you stay in bed instead of getting up, this pattern will be harder to break.

    Hope that helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Stokesy I'm sorry to hear this. Sounds really tough just now. Yes you're right blips are very very common – and actually expected from time to time – and yes they can vary in length depending on what's going on for that person. If you are experiencing increased stress in your life just now, it's understandable that your sleep might suffer…and if that stress is ongoing, it can delay getting it back on track as many of your resources are being taken up by other things.

    The good news is that you have all the tools you need and that perhaps it is just that this is a particularly stressful time where anyone's sleep may have suffered. You might find that, because your awareness of sleep is heightened, you're more prone to worrying about it and therefore this, in turn, is maintaining some unhelpful cycles.

    As I said, you have all the tools you need. It can seem overwhelming putting them all into practice at once, so what may help is taking week at a time, just like when you first did Sleepio, and focussing on one aspect each week. This way, you can break it down into smaller chunks that seem more do-able.

    Sometimes when we start with the basics such as relaxation, this is enough to help give us a kick-start again.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI alureon,
    Thanks for your questions. With regards to your first question, the reason we recommend sticking to the techniques as closely as possible is to give the body the best possible chance of recovering and getting back into a pattern and rhythm. If sleep restriction isn't done consistently, it isn't being done as has been tested and therefore, isn't being done in a way that will optimise results. You're right – it is really, really tough. Sleep restriction is horrible – and seems so counter-intuitive! And it sounds as if your body is very determined to stay awake which must be very difficult. However, I would recommend following it to the letter to give yourself the best chance of getting back on track.

    As for your second question, I would really love to tell you how long it will take, however it will vary as people vary so much in terms of their natural sleep rhythms and quirks and also in terms of their lifestyles and environments. Sorry to be vague, however this is very variable and so there's not a more direct answer to this.

    Perhaps people in the community could offer you some words of encouragement as to how to cope with the technique that is most dreaded….

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Of course. That would be very helpful – thank you

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Great I will be in touch ASAP.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 47 comments
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    Graduate

    Hello From Arizona, Dr. Creanor, where my family and I are in the midst of planning our first trip to London and the UK next month.

    I notice that my sleep is stronger on non-work nights. I have mastered my job, so work stress is not a problem I do think that as I age (55) I am less tolerant of office life over all. Maybe a little boredom is seeping in. Also, I spend too much time on a computer in a sterile office. Could this general ennui be causing non-restorative sleep or is it symptomatic of poor sleep? Tough question I know – but it does go back to the premise that mental attitude and sleep are linked.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi glider guy,
    Thanks for your question. It could be…if you are pretty bored at work and generally more active and stimulated and interested during your days off, you are likely burning more calories and thus feeling more ready for sleep on these nights when you've been away from the office.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 47 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    And enjoy your trip to the UK next month – it's a lovely country, even if I'm biased…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's the end of our session for now. Thanks for the great and varied questions tonight – look forward to speaking to you soon.

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