Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 28th April 2021

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 28th April 2021, 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 Apr 2021 at 3:22 PM
  • 17 comments
  • 6 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Can you do the Guy Meadows approach alongside Sleepio? Also, he comments in his book that CBT can give the individual lots of new habits that may be unhelpful as they become a new requirement for sleep making it difficult to get to sleep without, after all what we would all like to do is be able to fall asleep wherever and whenever we choose!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I am struggling with Sleep Restriction. Whilst I do see an improvement through a reduction in the amount of times I wake up during the night, I also consistently fight with staying awake later before I go to bed, and feel very woozy headed when I wake up. (I am in the second week of SR now) Will things get better? Or should I do something different?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Please can you explain how sleep restriction will lead onto a longer sleep window.
    I understand the restricted sleep principle and it seems to be working but only getting 5-6 hrs sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    I'm on week 5 and haven't yet managed to break the cycle of waking up every 1.5 to 2 hours. I don't feel like I ever get any refreshing deep sleep. My question is about perimenopause (I'm 49, no other symptoms yet). If hormones are playing a part in keeping me awake, can this course actually solve my sleep problem? It's helping me feel more relaxed about my insomnia in general, and I know it's going to take time, but I'm starting to feel like maybe I'm fighting a losing battle…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 15 comments
    • 4 helped
    Graduate

    Hello everyone. I’ve just started the course, so any tips, tricks, anything would be very much appreciated. Oh, and my sleep score is 3.1, so it says my sleep efficiency is about 8% where I need to be about 90% as you guys probably know. I have chronic insomnia and my GP is CRAP!! Help peeps! Please. Xx

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    I have another question, this time about the QHR. When I'm awake in the night for longer than 15 mins I usually feel calm. My mind isn't racing and I'm not worrying about anything. I'm just not asleep. If I feel myself starting to get anxious or I don't feel sleepy I go downstairs. Otherwise I've been staying in bed in the hope that I'll get back to sleep quicker that way. Is this slowing my progress? I'm in week 5 and still waking around 3 times most nights, despite sticking to SR.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I take diphenhydramine 2-3 times a week to help me sleep. Is this ok or should that be something to avoid?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hello and welcome to this week's live session.

    I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with a special interest in sleep. Over the next 90 mins, I'll be here to answer any questions you may have about sleep or the Sleepio programme.

    As per our policy, we cannot answer questions about medications (this is not our area of expertise as psychologists) nor can we comment on any other medical issues. It is important to seek medical advice on both these issues.

    I see there are some questions waiting, so I'll make a start on these, but if you're online and joining us live, please post anything you wish to discuss!

    Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there and thanks for your question. I believe Guy Meadows' approach takes an ACT point of view – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This is actually a branch of CBT in itself but the techniques are slightly different. Both traditional CBT and ACT for insomnia can be effective, but it's really a matter of personal preference. Personally, in my clinic, I will mainly use CBT for insomnia as I know more about the research in this area and have seen how effective it is for improving sleep. However I also use elements of ACT for other mental health problems. There is always a variety of therapeutic routes to treat a problem, so it's finding one that feels like the best fit for you that is important.

    In terms of doing his approach alongside Sleepio, I'm sure there will be elements that feel a good fit, but there may be areas which seem to say the opposite to each other! It's always good to have different options open to you though so it may be trial and error to see what you find best for you.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Annie,
    Sleep restriction is – by far – the most challenging part of any sleep programme. It can feel horrible in the early weeks. However, it is also one of the most effective strategies we include in our treatment plans. It's definitely one of those “it gets worse before it gets better” scenarios, so I would suggest sticking with it and perhaps altering what you do later at night to try and stay awake when you feel sleepy. Light housework or listening to music or reading are things people find helpful at this point of the night. And rewarding yourself for sticking at it might help to keep you motivated.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Emily,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    So, the aim with SR is that we squeeze all the bits of sleep we get in a broken night's sleep together to form one solid block of sleep. We do this by only allowing sleep to happen in a certain time period based on how much sleep (all added together, averaged across a week) we are getting per night.

    As the body gets into the rhythm of a block of sleep rather than broken sleep, sleep starts to improve in terms of efficiency (actually sleeping while in bed rather than being in bed awake).

    When this efficiency reaches 90% (we are asleep for 90% of the time we are in our beds), we add 15 mins onto this block of sleep. This happens once per week, so if we're at 90% for a month, we add on an hour to our sleep block.

    I hope this helps make sense of the process?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Ali,

    Thanks for your post to the page.

    The first thing I would say is that it is normal for us to wake through the night – specifically every 90-120 mins as this marks the end of our sleep cycles that last 90-120 mins each. At the end of the cycle, we move into the lightest sleep we have and many of us stir or wake up at this point. The important bit of this is…how much emotion we put into these wakenings. Good sleepers won't care about them and will roll over and go back to sleep. People who have had experience of poor sleep may overanalyse or worry about these wakenings and view them as part of the sleep problem. Viewing them as part of the normal cycles each night may be helpful to reduce the negative charge attached to them.

    The changes women experience when they go through the menopause are important to note – and sleep is usually affected. However, the approaches covered in Sleepio can still help poor sleep at this stage in life. You mentioned being more relaxed about sleep. For me, this is one of the biggest shifts in helping people with their sleep. Once we feel more relaxed about our sleep, sleep will very likely start to improve because anxiety about sleep is one of the main factors that keep sleep problems going.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi again Ali!

    So with the QHR (quarter hour rule) technique, the aim is not just to get out of bed if anxious, rather it is to prevent any extra time spent in bed that is not spent sleeping, as this weakens the bed-sleep connection in our brains. What we are aiming for is squeezing out as much of the time not asleep in our beds as possible. If the bed-sleep connection is strong, it helps us sleep better in the long run (and feel sleepy as we approach the bedroom).

    It can slow progress down if this is not followed often.

    However, as stated earlier on, there are many approaches and this is very much a self-help programme, so if you feel this is more helpful to you, you need to listen to your body.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello and a warm welcome to Sleepio and the live session! Over the next number of weeks you will find a variety of helpful tips and techniques to help improve your sleep. The online community may also be a great resource for you as they are a very supportive bunch!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi TeresaD,

    Although we can't comment on personal accounts of medication, what I can say in general terms is that there are some people on Sleepio who take sleep medication alongside the course and see the benefits, and others who prefer to do the course without medication…so this is a personal choice but always worth speaking to your doctor/pharmacist about your options here and their thoughts.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    15 mins left of our session today if there are any more burning Qs out there…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this session – see you again soon!

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