Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 31st May 2017

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 31st May, 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. 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 26 May 2017 at 12:04 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Welcome to the programme! There is something called the quarter hour rule (QHR) which people come across in session 2 I believe…this explains exactly what to do in this very situation. The general theory is that we do ask people to get out of bed after approx 15 mins of not falling asleep. This ensures that people spend most of their time in bed asleep, which helps the brain learn that bed is for sleep, and in turn increases the liklihood of becoming sleepy when we enter the bedroom in the future. Good luck in implementing this technique in the next couple of weeks.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    I'm afraid I'm more knowledgeable about the psychological mechanisms involved in sleep and so can't answer this question for you, however it sounds as if it would be an interesting question to ask a medical doctor. We are hearing more and more about the benefits of Vitamin D and in the UK we are being encouraged to take Vit D supplements during the darker months of the year, which highlights how important it is for our general wellbeing.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    I'm afraid I am unable to answer questions about medications, herbal or otherwise – I'm sure there will be many opinions regarding what is best, but it would be worth asking a pharmacist/medical doctor with regards to this query. Sorry I can't help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    First of all – you are definitely not alone in this struggle! In a way, it is good that you feel so sleepy as the sleep time approaches. But it can be hard to stay awake. So, a few things people can try in this situation…open a window – you do not have to go outside, but opening a window/standing by the window can help feel more awake. Using a different chair my well help, or walking around for a while can help too Talking to someone is sometime useful as we tend not to fall asleep during chats (depending on who we are talking to!)...sometimes it is trial and error. But if nothing seems to be working after lots of trials, one can shift the sleep window a bit earlier as long as the sleep window is stuck to (ie get up for the day after the scheduled amount of sleep time). And then be consistent with this new window. It will undo lots of hard work if people start to move their windows about all the time. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    There are a few things that people can work on when this occurs regarding persistent negative thoughts:
    – schedule in a worry time, to note down any thoughts that keep you awake at night – schedule this worry time for during the day and not anywhere near evening/bedtime
    – use the thought challenging technique within Sleepio to target these thoughts
    – make a note of all the positive things happening with sleep – what successes have been made?
    – use a thought-blocking technique if any thoughts occur while in bed (ie repeat the word 'the' over and over again)

    Hope that helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello – thanks for your post. It's OK to do this if people notice they cannot sleep beyond a certain time. What is important is to then stick to this new sleep window and keep this consistent. It's only problematic when people change their sleep window regularly as then the body becomes confused and doesn't get into a pattern.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    It's very normal to feel tired during the day and have poor concentration and memory as a result of insomnia/sleep problems. The reason we ask people not to have naps during the day is because it affects how much sleep pressure they will feel at night. Of course, if people are physically unwell, it can sometimes be advised to have naps (with viruses/more serious illnesses) but this is something a medical doctor can advise about.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Many thanks for your response!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    First of all can I say I'm impressed with your dedication to getting your sleep back on track with a new baby! In terms of the breaks in sleep with someone in this situation, I don't feel there is a particular 'right' way to split the night other than to go on what you feel works for you. Getting a good chunk of sleep from 9pm til 3am sounds positive so if this is working well, it may be better to stick to what works for now rather than trying to change patterns as well as everything else you have going on. If this patterns starts to work less well, it can be trialled using a different split, perhaps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    You're very welcome…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,

    Sorry to hear things are tough just now. It sounds as if anxiety is taking its toll here – which is very common when sleep deprived. As I'm sure you'll understand, the techniques are there to be used as and when needed, but when it's the middle of the night, we can easily become overwhelmed with all the things we 'should' be doing to fix the problem.

    What I might suggest is to focus on one thing at a time, every couple of nights. So, for the first couple of nights, you might want to focus on getting a good bedtime routine sorted. Then, focus on a different tool. This way, you're practising everything anyway, but giving yourself space to not feel pressure to everything at once.

    I'm sure many people will feel this at some time or other – sometimes it's helpful to take a small step back to then progress again.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for your post. In relation to your first question -yes, absolutely – it sounds helpful to get all the non-relaxing things out the way first then focus on relaxing and then going to bed. With regards to the second question, different things relax different people – it's perfectly OK to watch TV/read during the wind down period. What I think may have been referred to is avoiding reading/watching TV in bed/the bedroom before bed – this is because we are trying to make the connection between bed and sleep as pure as possible – so bed should only be used for sleeping (with the exception of sexual activity). Hope that makes sense?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    Interestingly, there are a number of things that can influence our sleep patterns during the night – and often it's related to what we're doing during the day. So, for example alcohol and caffeine intake can affect this, as can levels of activity, or ongoing stress during wake time. Sometimes medication or illness can have an impact on sleep patterns throughout the night, too – so, in short, there's no one answer/cause – it's worth noting what happens on the days where this pattern occurs to help with identifying the possible causes.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there – good question. Usually naps are not recommended due to exactly this reason – however – when illness is in the mix, it's wise to get rest as recommended by one's medical doctor. The programme is easily paused if this is required – email hello@sleepio.com if this affects you and you need to postpone things until your health returns.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    It was during the quiz at the end of my session with The Prof that reading was shown as an 'active' rather than a 'passive' activity therefore not to be done.
    Also I have tried to change the times on my schefule to allow me to put the 'jobs' before the relaxation and it just won't allow me to.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    What you describe is very common and a difficulty when we are asking for people's measurements during sleep treatment. Self-recording is helpful in one regard as it is important to gather a person's subjective view on their sleep, given they are the only one who knows the true extent of the effects of sleep deprivation. However, across psychological treatments, self-report is known to be difficult to do and to ensure accuracy for the reasons you describe. Many struggle when it comes to this problem, especially during the night when one is exhausted. I have known people to take screenshots of their smartphones whenever they wake up, so in the morning they have a record in their photo stream of their wake times. But increasingly people are using the smart phone apps. I cannot comment on the accuracy of each one of these, but what people have said is helpful is to try a few and check the readings on these against their perception of how the night has been sleep-wise, to ascertain which is best for them. As long as sleep is going in the right direction (quantity and quality are improving) then complete accuracy in the diary is less significant.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for today – thanks for all the great questions. Speak to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    Sorry missed your post in there – there is a difference between passive and active relaxation – reading is perhaps seen as more active because of the mental effort required in this activity compared to being glazed in front of the TV. However, I do think reading is OK to do at night time as long as the subject matter is not anything too stimulating or emotional. Same goes for TV viewing actually.

    In terms of the switching around of activities at night, I wonder if these jobs should be recorded outwith the wind down time and done, say, an hour earlier?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    that's all we have time for tonight – speak to you again soon…

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    good advice- I appreciate it.

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