Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 29th Aug 2018

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 29th August, from 8:15 to 9:45pm British Time or 3:15 to 5:45pm US Eastern 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, including that concerning medication. Her replies to questions will be made in such a way as to help as many people as possible who might have similar issues. If there are a lot of questions, she may not be able to answer all in the time available, but will try to answer as many as she can.

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Posted 24 Aug 2018 at 12:47 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Greetings. After going through the program, the sleep restriction has helped with going to sleep. But I still have tremendous issues with early awakening insomnia. I very routinely wake up after five and a half hours of sleep and can't go back to sleep, so I end up getting up, and am still exhausted throughout the day. I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea/upper airway resistance syndrome, but have been using a mandibular advancement device that seems to help with that aspect. Any suggestions with regard to the early awakening insomnia?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and welcome to the live Sleepio session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor and I'm a clinical psychologist. I've worked with people with sleep problems for a number of years. I'll be here for the next 90 minutes if anyone wishes to ask any sleep or Sleepio-related questions. Let's get started,,,

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your question. The first thing I'm curious about it whether the apnoea is causing the early wakenings? Other things that often cause people to wake too early are: underlying anxiety/depression/stress, napping during the day, environmental disturbances to name just a few. It is quite normal to wake during the night, however if someone then cannot fall back to sleep, this is a problem. I would always in this case recommend implementing the quarter hour rule rather than just getting up upon wakening early. Try the paradoxical intention technique or thought blocking technique (both found within the programme) when trying to fall back to sleep again. If anxious thoughts creep in, use the technique within Sleepio to challenge these. It may also be a good idea for those who wake up and have lots of racing thoughts to 1) schedule in some 'worry time' earlier in the day to note down any worries and problem-solve around them and/or 2) have a pad and pen beside the bed at night for any anxious thoughts that won't get out your head. Sometimes getting them down on paper is helpful in distancing ourselves from them in the short-term. Hope that helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi there – I actually replied to you just a few minutes ago – hope you can see it? It is above your recent post?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks. It's potentially the apnea causing the early wakening. As you know, however, these issues seem to be multi-factorial, and certainly underlying stress may be part of the issue. I guess the suggestion would be the same, regardless: to use the quarter hour rule and various techniques. At what point, though, does it make sense to just get up? Right now, I wake up after 5.5 hours and try to get back to sleep but am quickly at the 6.5 hour window.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Yes usually there are a few factors at play. The advice tends to be to implement the quarter hour rule until the scheduled rise time – so at that point, you would be getting up for the day.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Since we're chatting, mind if I ask another question? Any suggestions on how to distinguish whether it's apnea vs something else causing the early wakening?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – no problem – ask away! That's a tricky one – if there is a bed partner they may be the best source of observation here?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    If you find you're waking up anxious though, it may be a sign that that's what's underlying it…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Another question: It's been 3 or 4 months, and I'm still stuck at 5.5 hours, basically, which doesn't leave me rested. So, the progress has been in terms of getting to sleep, and sleeping at 5.5 hours (after getting only 4-5). But now it seems like I've plateaued. Assuming it's not apnea, could things improve over a the next few months? What's the range of normal for continuing improvements? I'm just trying to get a sense of what to expect (or not). Thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    It can be very frustrating when progress seems to slow a little, but this is fairly common. Everyone progresses at different rates, simply because of the variance in factors each person has going on in their lives. Things can definitely improve even after someone feels they have plateaued. It might be worth trying to go to bed earlier, shifting the sleep window so that, even although you may wake at the same early time, you'll have had more sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for tonight's session folks – join us again next week where we will be available again to answer any sleep/Sleepio-related questions….

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