Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 27th November 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 27th November, 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 22 Nov 2019 at 6:56 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    My problem is waking after 6+ hours sleep and not being able to get to sleep again. Succumbing to a slight urge to pass urine results in minimal flow, although after 30 minutes awake the urge returns and I pass a reasonable amount.
    I have tried taking magnesium citrate in the evening dissolved in a tumbler of water to help me relax, but wonder whether this exacerbates my problem?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Sleepio says 7-8 hrs sleep is average, but everyone is different. Others take a harder line on this, emphasising how important it is to get more than 7 hrs for optimal long-term health – reducing risk of Alzheimers & other things. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep is an example. Is there anything like a definitive, scientific consensus on this? I'm now getting around 6hrs 45 & wondering how far to try to stretch my sleep envelope over time. Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Dr. Creanor, do you have any suggestions when someone shifts anxiety from the bed, bedroom, and sleeping to the wind-down time instead? I'm doing very well now in terms of no longer associating bed/bedroom and sleep with anxiety, but I now find myself in my 5th week of the program getting anxious as the wind-down time approaches and having for some reason anxiety associated with that now. The protocols of the Sleepio program have worked so well and I can now actually relax and fall asleep in bed, it's wonderful. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with a problematic wind-down time?.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Good evening and welcome to the live Sleepio discussion session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist who works with people struggling with sleep problems. I'll be here for the next 90 mins, so please get in touch if you have any questions :)

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Guest
    Expert

    Hi there. Thanks for your question. It sounds as if you are really proactive in terms of targeting the problem from different angles. There is no doubt that the evidence of the link between the gut and mind is building all the time. There is much more awareness about it nowadays in the media etc. Gut health is increasingly being seen as an important element to maintaining our overall physical and mental health. In terms of IBS, this will usually lead to pain or discomfort and if this occurs at bedtime or during the night, there will, of course, be a reduction in sleep quality/quantity. IBS, is, however, a condition usually related to stress. And we also know that stress increases the likelihood of poor sleep – and makes existing sleep problems worse. So this is something else to think about – ie. are there ways in which stress can be reduced via relaxation?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – I've heard a lot about this documentary but have never actually seen it – I will put it on my to do list :)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for getting in touch. I haven't read any research on this particular issue, however if there is an intolerance or allergy to gluten, it will cause discomfort/pain in the stomach – and if this occurs at nighttime, it may be a cause of struggling to get to sleep or staying asleep through indigestion. It maybe worth seeking medical advice on whether there is an allergy/intolerance there and, if so, intake can be reduced.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,
    I'm doing OK on Sleepio, but in order to do so, I have restricted my liquid intake considerably to avoid visits to the loo during the night. I stop drinking around 5pm. Is that dangerous as I have read recently that this can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Is that true?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,
    I'm doing OK on Sleepio, but in order to do so, I have restricted my liquid intake considerably to avoid visits to the loo during the night. I stop drinking around 5pm. Is that dangerous as I have read recently that this can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Is that true?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for your question. I'm curious – how long did you practice sleep restriction for? Often SR takes a while to settle sleep into a pattern. It's different for everyone, but it is very challenging for most and will take varying lengths of time to achieve results. A lot of the time, there are other factors at play that cause people to have lighter sleep/less sleep. It's worth thinking about these as well in case they were contributing. Examples include underlying stress, anxiety or low mood, medication, life events, diet.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there, thanks for your question. This is advice I often give out to clients who are about to start sleep work, as we know a fuller bladder can cause mid-night wakenings or problems getting to sleep. However, if you are concerned about the medical impact this may have, it is better to speak to a medical doctor as they will have the most up to date medical advice.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – it may well be. As per the comment above, I tend to advise that people limit their fluid intake before bed to avoid the common problem of waking up to go to the loo. I wonder if it is worth speaking to a pharmacist to see if there are non-fluid alternatives you could try?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    There are some good relaxation techniques within Sleepio – I wonder if you have looked at these to try before bed?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch! So – the age-old question! In a word – no – there is not a definitive answer here yet. Professionals differ in their ideas about how much sleep is optimal, but there is a great deal of individual difference out there, depending on age, physical health, work patterns etc. In terms of what you should aim for, this is a personal choice as well, however 7-8 hours is a good goal, and if it gets to a point where it's close to this but won't increase, this may be where the natural limit is for you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there. First of all, well done for getting to this point where you can fall asleep well in bed, this is very positive.

    First of all, my question would be – what are you doing in the wind down period? Is it a case of changing this routine a little so that you can start afresh with a new one? Also, how long are you spending in it? Are there particular thoughts that come up during the period that you could note down and work on challenging during a scheduled time in the daytime?

    The good news is that you have managed to reduce anxiety associated with bed/the bedroom so you will very likely be able to reduce it for this period, too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 14 comments
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    Graduate

    Thank you, Dr. Creanor!

    My wind-down window is 2 hours before bedtime. I've been doing a combination of watching some cartoons or comedy shows and then light reading and meditating on the good things that have happened during the day. The last part of my wind-down time is just some quiet sitting in a very dark room. (I've found that light is a major contributor in my staying awake.)

    But I think you are right--I have been getting some thoughts coming up during the wind down time that have been a bit distressing. I had been writing down those thoughts earlier in the day and had forgotten that I had stopped doing so.

    And I might try something other than watching a DVD, though I'm not sure what that would be. Would some imagery/visualization that the Prof provided be perhaps a good alternative?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Yes – imagery is a helpful thing for many people – if it's something you can do OK. A good thing to incorporate is a hot bath/shower, too. The cool-down process afterwards lends itself well to making the body sleepy. I would avoid watching screens during the wind down period as there is the risk of blue light from certain devices, particularly tablets and phones (and some TVs). But it can also lead to over-stimulating the mind depending on what you watch. Listening to music might also be something to consider, or listening to an audiobook. But yes, writing the thoughts down is also a good place to start.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 14 comments
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    Graduate

    Thanks, Dr. Creanor. I did forget to mention I wear amber glasses to block out blue light during my wind-down time. But I'll try listening to music instead of watching video; I've discovered I tend to get over-stimulated very easily and it tends to be longlasting once started.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    That's good to hear about the glasses. Yes, worth a try :) I hope some of these ideas help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's us finished for this evening's discussion. Thanks for the questions and I'll speak to you again soon.

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