Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 3rd June 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 3rd June, from 8.15pm to 9.45pm British Time or 3.15pm to 4.45pm US Eastern Time.

They 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. If there are a lot of questions, they may not be able to answer all in the time available, but will try to answer as many as they can.

Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor will not be able to give personal medical advice including those about medication. Their 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 27 May 2020 at 9:29 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 2

    Hello, I am just on Week One with Sleepio, tracking my sleep. As I've been struggling with sleep up until now, I've tried very hard not to open my eyes or check the clock or look at a bright screen after midnight. Now, knowing that I have to report to Sleepio each morning what time I fell asleep, how often I woke up and how long I was awake each time, I AM looking at the clock and it's really stressing me out (and keeping me awake) knowing exactly how poorly the sleep is going. What's my best move here? Should I be looking at the clock?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I’ve left a message with some suggestions for wind down and QHR for you :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
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    Graduate

    NRGEE again…....sorry Dr…..

    Last night I was so distressed I attempted suicide…..that's all I am prepared to say. I was hoping my psychiatrist would tell me to stop Sleepio as its making me worse from my depression. I have relayed messages to him via my cpn ; but he is now insistant no sleeping tablets and to persist with sleepio. I honestly don't see the point; but if I don't follow the treatment plan i will probably end up been sectioned again. I am literally knackered and both physically and more mentally unwell due to this program- during the day- but when night time comes I just can't sleep. I agree with the others…..the clock watching just makes things worse. I have been told to remove all but one radio alarm clock by my psychiatrist. I feel I am becoming obsessed by not sleeping and it is ruining an already dreadfully difficult episode of depression. in the time i am awake- I get out of bed and just sit in a chair staring into space and ruminating. Not interested in TV etc and can't concentrate to read. music gets on my nerves. I live alone in an upstairs flat and worry downstairs can here me restlessly wandering from room to room. I HATE going to bed now and this started with sleep deprivation in hospital. No matter how hard I try- I just cannot sleep. Am I a lost cause?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Good evening and welcome to the live Sleepio session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, clinical psychologist, and I'll be here for the next hour and a half to discuss various sleep-related topics. Please post any questions you may have and let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Afraid Dr Creanor I've already posted 3 x
    Am absolutely desperate but just can't sleep. my sleep hygiene is good but I am chronically severely depressed. I am reaching out for help. I don't feel sleepio is working but my psychiatrist insists i persit

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi njee,

    It sounds as if this is an incredibly distressing time for you. From your last posts, I can gather that there is – and has been – a lot going on for you.

    Given this is a remote, online, self-help service and I am unable to get in touch with those in the Sleepio community directly, I want to make sure you are as safe as possible based on what you have mentioned here this evening. I am pleased that you have a psychiatrist and CPN support and I do hope you can use these supports as much as you can, especially if you feel suicidal.

    These people know your personal medical and psychological history, too, so will be an important resource for you just now.

    I also believe that every person has the chance to improve their mental health, with the right support in place.

    Sometimes, people need help for other mental health problems (depression, anxiety, PTSD) before their sleep sees an improvement, so perhaps this is the case for you too. Again, your psychiatrist and CPN team will be able to guide you in the right direction for treatment and support.

    I hope it is of some reassurance that sleep work is tough – most people find it tough. And with other difficulties going on, it can be extremely tough. I hope you can find some time to be compassionate to yourself at this difficult time and use the support network around you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for getting in touch. Good question – I'm sure many people will also have the same query. The truth is, it varies from person to person what is helpful during this time of the QHR. For some, reading will help them feel sleepy but it may depend on the book (nothing to exciting or scary or thought-provoking!). For others, gentle music or doing some relaxation/mindfulness can be helpful. It's not prescriptive what you do here, rather it's about trial and error as to what you find relaxing, non-stimulating and sleep-inducing. Try to avoid TV or screens at this isn't helpful for sleep (too stimulating and most screens now emit blue light which is unhelpful for sleep) and think about things in the daytime that make you relaxed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – hopefully you saw my post OK. With depression in the background, everything is that bit harder, isn't it? And as I say, sleep work is really tough. Depression can make that feel tougher. I understand your psychiatrist is insisting that you persist with it – I wonder if they know how hard this is for you just now? Perhaps you need more support in place – in other areas in life – to allow you to be able to do this work. CPNs can be a great support for this. I hope you can find a way to let them know this njee?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there and thanks for getting in touch. Sleep restriction is a really tricky technique, however, when followed correctly, can be so effective. One of the ways effectiveness is made more likely is by sticking to the plan as consistently as possible – this includes sticking to those sleep windows as much as possible. If you go to bed earlier, you may wake earlier too. It's all part of trying to teach the brain a new, predictable and stable pattern, which, in the longer term, helps to encourage better sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,
    How long should it take before SR works?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Good evening and thanks for your question. It's one I've been asked many times before as it's a daunting thing to embark on a new treatment and people are usually keen to know how quickly things can change for them. The short answer is, it depends on many factors. It varies from person to person because there are lifestyle factors at play, psychological factors, medical factors, relationship factors etc etc. However, having said this, consistency is very key in sleep work. If a person can follow the advice consistently, there is much more chance of their sleep improving more rapidly (depending on the factors mentioned). Sorry I can't give a more definitive answer…

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    thanks for getting in touch. Similarly to the above answer, it's really hard to put a timescale on when things will be effective for someone; what is more important to note is that if someone is consistent with the techniques, it tends to create a better context for improvement. Many factors in a person's life can cause and maintain poor sleep, so it's also important to be aware of these and limit their potential impact on sleep as much as possible.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Karen,
    Good question! So TV is fine for wind-down time, as long as the TV isn't blue light-emitting (this suppresses the release of the sleep hormone, Melatonin). Also have a think about the content – if it's thought-provoking/violent/emotional/stimulating then it's probably best not to watch this before bed. Other activities might include: reading, having a shower/bath, listening to music, doing some relaxation exercises. It is quite a personal thing, however, as what relaxes one person may not be another's cup of tea. Sometimes it's a little bit of trial and error to see what you find relaxing at that time of night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello and thanks for your question. It is a bit of a tricky one isn't it? I think you're quite right trying not to look at the clock here. Don't worry too much about exact times of how long you were awake – an estimate is OK, especially if it's adding to the stress. Some tips that others have tried before include these: 1) when you wake, take a screenshot (this can be done with the phone light dimmed and eye shut) of the lock screen of your phone if it's beside you – in the morning, this will show the timings for you and 2) have a few coins by the bedside. Knock one onto the floor every time you wake and in the morning you'll know how many times you woke. Timings though, as I say, can be estimated.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks. I did not know that some TVs were blue light emitting and some were not. And I thought these activities were prescriptive rather than just “trial and error”.

    My sleep doctor said something about wearing special blue light blocking glasses and that would solve the problem of blue light. Do you think that wearing these glasses would allow one to be on a blue light emitting device (like a computer) and not interfere with sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – I suppose it depends on the quality of the glasses but some are pretty good and it sounds as if they come recommended. There is also a blue light filter on some devices that may help too. It makes the screen more yellowy in tone and reduces blue light.

    As for the relaxing activities, when it comes to choosing the right ones, I believe they are trial and error – it sometimes takes a while to work out which ones are right for you – not all suggestions will work for everyone, so it's worth trying some out to make sure they're a good fit and do make you feel relaxed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I also think it's worth adding that it's not just the blue light of a computer that interferes with sleep – it's also about the activity in itself. Often using a computer can stimulate many of the senses enough that it's harder to 'switch off' after use, making sleep harder too. Hope that helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for this evening. Thanks for the posts/questions and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you!!!!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
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    Graduate

    Thank you.

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