Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 2nd January 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 2nd Jan, 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 20 Dec 2018 at 2:07 PM
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Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 260 comments
    • 114 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor, I graduated from Sleepio about a year ago, and it took me a couple more months to see consistent good sleep for most nights. I am finding that over the past month or two, I am actually sleeping even better and longer. Could this be because of the decreased light and sun at this time of year? Is this a hibernation thing? Should I expect to sleep less well when spring rolls around with more light and more sun? Thank you for your insights.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 3 helped
    Session 3

    hello, I did the session that introduced sleep deprivation last week, but for many reasons I thought it was not the right week for me to start the sleep deprivation.
    Should one see the next available session from the prof. in such situation or should I wait until I do a few days of sleep deprivation in order to continue with the sessions?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 3 helped
    Session 3

    I noticed on session 3 when the prof introduced sleep deprivation he spoke more about sleep maintenance (waking up in middle of night or too early) but I dont know that he mentioned sleep deprivation helping with sleep unset insomnia, will sleep deprivation also help sleep unset insomnia? I assume yes, correct?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
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    Graduate

    I stopped sharing a bed with my husband before starting Sleepio as I found it easier to deal with my insomnia using a separate bed. Since using Sleepio, and recently graduating, I haven't successfully returned to the shared bed. Is there a way that I can reintroduce sleeping with my husband? He can be restless, and does get up at night to use the bathroom. I am happy to use earplugs. Unfortunately I think my sleep anxiety is still triggered by the shared bed as I associate being in bed with him with not falling asleep, having to get up, going to the other bed etc. Ideas?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
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    Graduate

    One of the problems I am still dealing with is early awakenings. I tend to wake up around 4.30 or 5.00 in the morning. And my sleep window finishes around 5.45 in the morning and in practice that means that my night ends there. I was told by one of the experts to move the sleep window and go to sleep earlier but that simply meant that this awakening happened earlier, around 4.00. When I wake up around 5 a.m. I go to the living room and listen to a podcast for 15 minutes and a few times I decided to simply go back to bed when feeling sleepy and over slept my window, and I found that I was able to go back to sleep without any problems and sleep one or even more hours. I am beginning to think that my body simply wakes up after I have slept for 5 hours. Can it be that it is natural for me to have a break in the night? Would it be better for me to accept that my body simply wakes up 5 hours after going to sleep and incorporate that break into the equation? thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 29 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Just to add to what I said above and to give you some context, I did the programme a year ago and I saw real progress, but frequent travel, dealing with different time zones, messed me up again and that triggered sleep anxiety again, which is always the big issue and sets in motion a vicious cycle. I am trying to go back on track and I put myself on self-imposed sleep restriction again, initially from midnight to 5.00 a. m. I have been increasing that week on week by 15 minutes and it is now 23:30 to 05:45. I wonder if it would have been better to stick to my sleep window of 23:30 to 06:30 rather than going back to sleep restriction, because with a shorter sleep window It is most likely that I get anxious if I can't get to sleep to begin with and that makes me more anxious and it can have a build up effect. I would welcome your advice on how to get back on track in a consistent way. Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    Expert

    Happy New Year and welcome to the live Sleepio session this evening. I see there are a few questions waiting, but if anyone is joining us live tonight and wishes to add a question, please do! Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your question. There is definitely a common belief/experience that, in the winter months when the sunlight hours are fewer, that we feel ore sleepy and less energised. We look back in history to find people did not tend to venture out after dark and often went to bed earlier as a result of having less to do. Things are a little different now, yet we do still tend to see people becoming more lethargic and sleepier at this time of year. It sounds as if you are also doing well with the techniques and have likely been thinking less anxiously about sleep having seen the positive effects, which will also have had a positive impact on sleep. What I would sat, though, is that there is no reason for sleep to be disrupted just because we are moving into Spring. Blackout blinds may be required to keep rooms dark, but it would mostly be about your thoughts about sleep that have the impact on actual sleep. Worries about sleep changing with the season will likely cause disrupted sleep, so bear in mind that, with the success you've had so far (and a little help with blackout blinds), you're sleep does not have to change at all. Stay positive and enjoy the continued progress!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello – thanks for getting in touch. So, to answer your first question, there is an opportunity to pause the programme if one feels they need more time to attempt techniques. Not uncommon in the holiday season as routines are often upset. Please email hello@sleepio.com to let them know you'd like to do this and when you'd like to 'unpause' too.

    To answer your second question, sleep restriction mainly targets broken sleep throughout the night or early morning wakenings. Its aim is to squeeze all the broken bits of sleep into one chunk, which can be extended as the person's sleep improves. All techniques blend together to help different sleep problems – they all compliment each other. But the main techniques to target initial insomnia (problems getting to sleep at the start of the night) include the likes of challenging negative thoughts, having a good sleep routine and the quarter hour rule.

    Hope this helps?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for your question. It's a tricky problem, given its personal nature and the fact a third party is involved, but there are a few ideas that spring to mind. Obviously these have to be discussed between you and your husband in the first instance. A larger bed might mean that there is less disruption if one person moves around, some beds come as two separate beds that join together and separate single duvets could mean less impact when your husband moves. Playing white noise in the bedroom can minimise noises such as snoring. Completing a joint bedtime routine may be a good idea to get in tune with each other prior to bedtime to reduce the anxiety. I would also try to challenge the negative thoughts you have about this as this is what is maintaining the problem and making it possibly worse than the reality may be. Lastly, have a think about whether you do this gradually or not. And make a note of the good nights when your sleep was OK – this way, you'll have a record of evidence that disproves the negative thoughts about sleeping in the same bed. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – thanks for your questions. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with the early morning wakenings. As you'll know from having done the course before is that it does take a while for sleep patterns to get back on track. This can be months, especially after the body clock is disrupted following frequent travel across time zones. It may just be that after a few more months of consolidation, the sleep patters evens itself out and the early morning wakenings cease. I wonder if there is any anxiety during sleep – any dreams waking you up? If there is underlying anxiety or low mood, this can cause early morning wakenings and would likely require the underlying problems to be addressed. Another thing I'd look at is the quarter hour rule – I would be inclined not to listen to a podcast and, instead, sit quietly doing nothing until sleepy. The podcast may be too stimulating to get back to sleep quickly. I would also suggest setting an alarm for the end of the sleep window to avoid sleeping past it – this will undermine the sleep restriction. In general, I do think it's a good idea to go back to sleep restriction when sleep becomes patchy through the night, so I think this was probably the right thing to do. These suggestions may be worth trying to see if there is any further progress…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2510 comments
    • 383 helped
    Expert

    Thanks for the questions today. Look forward to speaking to you again soon…

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