Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 28th September 2016

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 28th September, 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.

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Posted 22 Sep 2016 at 5:16 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    This is one of the most common reasons people can't get back to sleep – thoughts racing through their minds in the middle of the night. It's hard to know what's ahead when people are in Session 1, but Sleepio will cover a few techniques over the next few weeks that will target this directly, so rest assured this problem will be tackled.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I understand, but I need some help now…I am barely functional during the day…isn't there an article I can read or some techniques you can offer now

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It sounds ass if the issue here is early wakening?

    When people struggle with wakening early, there are a couple of things to consider initially:
    1. have lifestyle/dietary factors been looked at (reduced alcohol/caffeine)?
    2. are there any underlying health complaints (mental health/physical health) that may be preventing solid sleep?

    The other issue is that 8 weeks is not that long to have worked on a sleep issue – the techniques may all be learned, but most of the change often happens when people put them into practice in the longer term. 8 weeks is a relatively short time, even if it feels like a very long process.

    If everything has been looked at and people are still struggling with early wakenings after a long time, I would suggest shifting the sleep window earlier if possible…as long as people do feel sleepy when they retire to bed. This may increase the length of time asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    I understand how frustrating it is when people start the programme – many people want all the techniques right away. It's a common and understandable wish. However, there is a reason for giving people time in between sessions. This helps them consolidate one technique at at time and increases their likelihood of successful outcome. My advice would be to take it one week at a time and focus on the smaller scale success that comes with mastering each technique in turn and gradually on a longer term scale, the sleep will improve.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello,
    Thanks for your questions. Firstly, I would say that any technique that people find tat makes them relax, is OK to use. Even if it's outwith the Sleepio programme – if it relaxes you, this is the main aim, given that relaxation in itself is a very subjective feeling. Secondly, I would still recommend that people working on their sleep follow the advice within the programme to get out of bed after 15 mins of not being able to get to sleep. / This is because what we are trying to achieve is a reduction in the length of time people are physically in bed and not asleep as this severely affects sleep efficiency. People can do relaxation methods before bed to get into relaxed state first, or use relaxation techniques when the quarter hour rule is being implemented.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there.

    Sleep restriction is often horrendous….but…usually very effective. It's often the hardest part of the whole programme for most people. The reason we do it is because we want to reduce the times in bed when people are not sleeping. This helps break the negative association between bed/the bedroom and sleep and increase sleep pressure (the body's need for sleep). If one was to reduce these non-sleeping times in bed gradually, there would still be lots of non-sleeping time in bed, which would make the problem worse.

    On the health note, though, we always recommend that, if people have underlying health concerns, they speak to their GP/family doctor to make them aware of their intention to start Sleepio. This is the case for most therapies.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there, thanks for your question. It can be difficult to note these times and we are aware of this within Sleepio, so what we are really looking for is people's best guess – how long it takes roughly to fall asleep for example. It's a good idea not to turn lights on or watch a clock, thus estimates are expected for the diary, rather than exact times. Some people who have struggled in the past have taken a screenshot on their phone (depending on phone) upon awakening so that times are recorded this way, but estimates are OK.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,

    First of all, well done for the sleep improvements!

    Quite often when people have had sleep problems, the sleep quality is affected as well as the sleep quantity. For many, it takes a bit of time to get the quality back on track, even when the time asleep is improving. Having a regular routine helps this, as do all the Sleepio techniques – but sometimes it just takes a bit longer for sleep quality to improve once these new routines are established. We would usually also advise people to look at whether there is an underlying anxiety/stress ongoing that might be causing poorer sleep quality/daytime exhaustion as well as checking for any physical reasons for tiredness. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello there, thanks for your question. Many people panic when they oversleep by accident, but the best way to deal with this is to simply act as if it didn't happen and sleep for the calculated sleep window the next night. No adjustments are necessary. Blips/mistakes happen but it's important not to place any significance on them. This will only lead to worry, which will make sleep worse!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    When people have had periods of poor sleep, it's very common to become even more in tune with their bodies and think about sleep in much more detail than ever before. It sounds as if there is a huge amount of detail and effort going into analysing results of certain measures here, however my advice to people focussing so much on sleep data is to try not to do this so much. If we think about good sleepers, they don not focus on sleep or do they worry about which types of sleep they are getting. Sleep is automatic – they are passive in the experience – sleep happens TO them. the danger of analysing sleep too much is that it's no longer automatic – the person becomes very active and involved in thinking about it.

    In terms of the question about deep sleep, the body is very good at adjusting types of sleep to suit the person and provide what the body needs. So, if deep sleep is lacking, the body often aims to get more deep sleep to make up for it. The techniques within Sleepio all aim to improve all types of sleep, so the body learns to sleep better overall. If people do feel exhausted still after using the techniques for some time, we would advise visiting the GP to check for other potential causes.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many thanks for your reply. I've been experiencing nausea and bad headaches with Sleep Restriction, and my brain felt like concrete. It seemed to be making me ill. Is it normal for it to be that bad?

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi there,
    There are people I have met before who exist on very little sleep indeed. It's sometimes hard for a good sleeper to accept this can happen. Sleepio will offer many techniques over the coming weeks that will help improve the length of sleep a person is able to get, while tackling the factors that may be maintaining the sleep problem. All the best in working through the programme.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Despite the awfulness of these symptoms, yes – it's often a very horrible time during SR. However, this is short lived. Each time sleep efficiency reaches a certain point, 15 mins can be added to the night's sleep, so the worst period is very much short-term.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
    • 225 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Negative thinking and obsessing about the night ahead is textbook for those with sleep problems. It is also something that keeps the problem going, however. Due to this, Sleepio will cover several techniques to combat these negative thoughts – look out for thought challenging, thought blocking and paradoxical intention amongst others. All the best with the course.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi
    I have one question. When I wake at night and cant Fall back asleep I leave the bed and go to the living room. However I can never fall back asleep once I get up. I end up being exhausted and just lie one the sofa doing nothing. Would it be better to do something active or do you have some suggestions?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there,
    What people do during the time they're up for the quarter hour rule varies greatly and often it's about trial and error. Some people find that simply sitting and doing nothing helps them get sleepy and then they go back to bed, but others do something passive such as listen to relaxation CDs/listening to music etc. Be careful not to do anything stimulating, such as watching TV, eating, drinking or pacing. These can all keep you awake!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you for your reply.
    but is it normal to be up for the rest of the night one awake? I feel like my sleep switch is broken, and when I return to bed I am wide awake and once I get out of bed so tired I cant sit up, so it is very difficult to decide when to go to bed…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Yes, it can often happen in the shorter term and what we encourage people to do is to stick with the 15 min rule – aim to go back to bed if at all sleepy, but wait until this point. If it doesn't come, look at challenging the thoughts that may be keeping wakefulness going as well as scheduling in some worry time to the daytime.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for today – thanks for the posts and speak to you again soon,
    Vicki

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    Graduate

    How does one deal with mental health issues, such as low self esteem, depression (even if mild)? Or physical ones, such as respiratory problems, often exacerbated while lying down at night.Sleepio seems to me to be a rather simplistic, mechanical approach to what if surely for most of us a very complex problem. Getting up after being awake for beyond 15 mins won't help me, as I'm often very tired and sleep disturbed because of sinus trouble (for which I already take medication) and troubled thoughts/sadness. My discomfort in the sinus area worsens with extra tiredness and my brain is more awake. Likewise, the restriction of the sleep window, going to bed an hour plus later than usual and setting the alarm to get up maybe 2 plus hours earlier, deprives me of sleep I might snatch by staying in bed, where at least I'm getting a bit of rest! so that overall I am far worse off & have a greater struggle to cope adequately in the day.
    The CB techniques of relaxation, thought blocking, imagery etc have helped a bit, but some times find myself trying too hard, which is counterproductive! The 'winding down' routine I've stuck to for the past 10 days initially helped a bit, but now makes no difference whatsoever.
    How sound are your statistics for claiming Sleepio helps so many people? I suspect many 'graduates' or those who've run with the course for some weeks don't get in touch, but give up & try another remedy or simply stagger on, with the problem maybe merely slightly alleviated. I understand you want Sleepio to succeed, and to justify your claims for it, but am somewhat sceptical about some of its methods, plus the rather 'one size fits all' approach.
    Comments in the Community section seem to underline my opinion.
    Also, why did I have to wait from 23rd August, Session 1, to September 14th for Session 2? This has prolonged the course by 2 and half weeks! I signed up for 6 weeks, so will not continue beyond that time unless I experience a great improvement in my sleep efficiency and overall sleep. I expect then to have to return to my doctor for anti-depressants which is something I really don't want to do. Or rely on cocodamol – not a good idea & ineffective in the long run.

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