Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 30th September 2015

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 30th September 8.15pm-9.45pm BST.
She will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half and, as always, you’re welcome to ask any questions at all about sleep or the Sleepio program. Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor won’t 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 24 Sep 2015 at 12:08 PM
  • 23 comments
  • 1 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 58 comments
    • 8 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Vicki. My sleep is going downhill rapidly and I just don't know what to do about it. My sleep problems started 3 1/2 months ago and before that I slept perfectly, going straight to sleep and not waking until the alarm went off in the morning. It started with waking early, then taking longer and longer to get to sleep until I was down to approx three hours a night when I started Sleepio. Initially when I began SR I had some success, but I've been going downhill since the first week and now I'm getting nights where I have no sleep at all, which I've not had before- 4 in the last 8. In Colin Espies book he says just remember that you will always get at least some sleep, but with me, it's just not true. How abnormal is this? I'm starting to get a bit desperate and having some very dark thoughts about the future. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. Many thanks. Peter.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    I'm in between session 4 and 5, focusing on sleep restriction.

    I've been sleeping a lot more the past few days after catching a cold and stopped caring about sleep restriction as a result.

    (I wonder if my immune system was lowered by the restricted sleep)

    Is there a standard operating procedure you'd recommend in this case?

    Should I restart sleep restriction once I get better and put off my next session (session5) until I go another week with sleep restriction?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    My sleep problems started with an out of the blue anxiety attack 2 years ago. what are recommended techniques to get back my ability to sleep from such a cause?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 30 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Peter, I'm the same as you. My sleep has gone down hill, I have alternate nights of sleep. Eg. 2 nights ago I had 7hrs, last night I had none. I assume tonight I will sleep, but the following night only be 2hrs. I'm feeling desperate too

  • Sleepio Member

    • 30 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I'm interested in that too or acupuncture

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    I take melatonin pills before I go to sleep. One of the days, I didnt take the pill and I had a hard time falling and staying asleep. Is melatonin pills addictive and are there any harmful effects of taking them long term.

    When I also take Melatonin pills, I dont have a hard time falling asleep but I have problem staying asleep. I usually wake up at 3 30 am or 4 am and then try to fall asleep again. Please advise, if this is normal.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    Expert

    Hello and welcome to the Sleepio Live Session. This forum is for anyone who wishes a bit more information on the psychology of sleep or about the Sleepio programme itself. I will aim to answer any posts in a manner that will benefit the community as a whole; any specific, individualised queries are better directed to your family doctor/GP who knows your health status and history well. Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Scotty,
    Thanks for your post. Although most people will be aware of several different types of treatment for insomnia, the reason Sleepio uses a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) framework is because of the wealth of evidence of how effective it is. It is, therefore, the preferred treatment for insomnia for most practitioners given the high levels of success. I have never used hypnotherapy and am not trained in it so have little knowledge of this evidence base.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    When may I add 15 minutes to my RS? I've had the same RS schedule for 1 1/2 weeks?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi bkarrer1,
    Thanks for your post. Night wakenings are common in insomnia. The techniques in Sleepio tend to work together to improve the length of time spent sleeping in total , reduce night wakenings and help people get to sleep (or back to sleep) more quickly. What often helps people with staying asleep during the night are things such as:
    – looking at lifestyle factors (reducing alcohol intake, caffeine intake etc) – looking at challengin any anxiety-provoking thoughts in case these are waking them up through the night
    – ensuring the environment is conducive to sleep and minimising sudden noises, the temperature rising or falling too much etc
    – having a good wind down routine
    – avoiding naps
    – following sleep restriction when neccessary

    In terms of what helps people get back to sleep quicker, there is some overlap with the above factors, but people often need to make sure the activities they are doing while up (while using the quarter hour rule) through the night are not too stimulating or engaging, that the environment into which they go does not wake them up too much etc.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi nosleepingpills,
    People can add 15 minutes onto their sleep window when they achieve around 90% sleep efficiency. As progress for everyone varies, the timing of this will vary, too, from person to person. I believe people are prompted by the programme when they can add their 15 mins.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Peter123,
    Some people with insomnia may go through nights when there is no sleep. However the body needs sleep just as it needs water and food so it cannot simply go without sleep forever more.

    Worrying thoughts are common in people with insomnia. Sometimes it produces suicidal thoughts as it is so hard to cope with. Is this is the case with anyone, you should contact your healthcare provider to seek support and to discuss your thoughts and feelings with them in person.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello,
    Often when people are unwell, they stop thinking about sleep so much and end up sleeping better. Much of insomnia is maintained by worrying too much about sleep so when this reduces, sleep often improves. It is possible to pause the programme for a week until one recovers and feels more able to continue with elements such as sleep restriction. For anyone doing so, just be aware of when your subscription is due up in case it ends before you've completed the course.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you. How long does it take the average person to finally get to sleeping 7 1/2 a night without waking up during the night?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi botski,
    Many people at the start of the Sleepio programme are curious to know if the techniques covered will help with their specific problem. Insomnia can be triggered by many things – it varies so much across the population. Anxiety is a very common trigger for insomnia and one of the most common ways that insomnia is maintained, so many aspects of Sleepio are designed around reducing what might be maintaining the problem, including anxiety-related issues.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi nosleepingpills,
    Although most people wish a concrete, definitive answer on how long it will take to get back on track, it varies too much to give an average. So many factors are involved in a person's recovery – their lifestyle, their stress levels, their personal circumstances including health and age – that it is not possible to provide an answer on length of time to improve. It is worth remembering as well that people need different amounts of sleep, so this is another important variable.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Dawnie,
    Acupuncture is not an area with which I am familiar regarding the benefits of helping insomnia. As mentioned in reply to Scotty, Sleepio uses the CBT approach because of the huge evidence base of effectiveness of this type of treatment for people with insomnia.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi lx,
    Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced during the dark hours of the dark-light cycle and so it helps us to regulate our sleep-wake cycles. I have not ever heard of it being addictive but it is usually only used as a short-term treatment – I believe there is little evidence of its effectiveness in the longer-term.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    Expert

    Any more questions out there?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1339 comments
    • 214 helped
    Expert

    That's all for now, folks – thanks for the posts and speak to you soon.

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