Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 4th December 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 4th December, 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 28 Nov 2019 at 3:35 AM
  • 10 comments
  • 4 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 4 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Vicki,
    I am having trouble falling asleep and recently I noticed that my thoughts before bedtime are critical to my sleep. When I realized I had troublesome thoughts, I replaced them with creative thoughts (thoughts on painting, colors, shapes) but although they were pleasant, they kept me from falling asleep. Now I'm trying to focus on pleasant and relaxing thoughts but I'd like to come in with a pre-prepared script so as not to do a long search of thoughts when I'm in bed. The problem is that disturbing thoughts still pop up the moment I start to fall asleep. And I want to ask:
    1) When I get into bed with a script sometimes the script changes to scary or unpleasant. Do you have any advice on what to do?
    2) Sometimes the script is fine and I start falling asleep but then I worry about my life and fail to fall asleep again
    I begin to believe that as soon as I learn to control my thoughts, I can solve my sleep difficulties. I'd love to get some advice. Thank you.
    (And sorry if my English is bad, English is not my native language)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 2 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Dr Creanor,

    I am a couple weeks into sleep restriction, I began with a window of 1am to 7am, I would always fall in asleep relatively quickly and most nights wake up to my alarm, this meant I had a sleep efficiency of greater than 90% so I increased the window to 1am to 7:15 am. However my sleep efficiency seems to have reduced, I haven't yet woken upto my alarm, and consistently wakeup before it, even before 7am, sometimes 6:30 am, and I usually doze till my alarm before getting up. After the first week of increasing my sleep window, despite having a sleep efficiency of around 90% I did not increase my sleep window and am still on a sleep window of 6hours and 15 minutes. I still however have day time drowsiness and feel tired, please can you provide me with some guidance on how to proceed as I am beginning to feel disheartened that sleep restriction is not working for me.

    Also some additional information: I have no problems falling asleep at night, I fall asleep relatively quickly around 5-10 minutes, but I always wake up too early and can't seem to fall back asleep.

    Thank you for your time and help!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hello…I'm was due to start restrictive sleep this week but made excuses to wait a few days….I thought my second visit to a counselor (low mood) might help but alas no. I too like most am fairly anxious about starting it. My window is 12.30-6 which is doable it's obv the 1/4 rule that scares me. Can I just ask…..if you are up and down throughout the night, is there a cut off point where you just don't bother going back to bed i.e. If I wake between let's say 4-5am and go downstairs until sleepy tired, should I go back to bed if I need to get up again at 6am?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 6 helped
    Graduate

    I have started sleep restriction for the second time. My first try at first was great 90%. Then the second week I woke after 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Night after night so that I began to feel sick. I stopped and went back to taking tylenol PM to go to sleep. I only do this for one night and then maybe sleep a few nights for 4 to 6 hours. I am starting again and concerned about getting back into that pattern of sleeping only 2 or 3 hours. Getting up when unable to fall asleep so far does not work. If I read I will read all night and not get sleepy. If I get up I am fully awake for the day and dragging through the day not able to sit much for falling asleep.

    I have taken sleeping pills for 50 years and got off of them last spring. I am determined to learn to sleep in the years i have left. I would appreciate advice on the sleep restriction.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hi and welcome to Sleepio's discussion session this evening. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor – a clinical psychologist who works with people with sleep problems. I'll be answering any questions for the next 90 mins as best I can. I look forward to hearing from you…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thank you for getting in touch for this session. It sounds as if your head is busy at bedtime, something many of us struggle with, especially if we are problem-solving things in the daytime or experiencing stress or anxiety.

    I like your idea of script-writing. This is often used to combat nightmares. You could try and think if there is a pattern to your scary/unpleasant images and come up with a script where you always overpower them. Most of the time, when scary things happen in dreams or in thoughts, the overwhelming emotion is fear and a feeling of being out of control. Taking time to write a script where you always come out on top is a good idea. And practice it during the daytime, rather than just trying to remember it when needed at night-time.

    You may also want to try a relaxation exercise before bed, to help relax the mind and body. A predictable wind down routine can also help.

    In terms of your second point, it sounds as if there is some problem-solving about life that is needing done. Try and do this in a methodical way during the day – even with a friend/partner if possible as sometimes perspective is gained much easier in this way and new options are generated. Doing this during the day can help free up the brain's need to do this thinking at night.

    You may also find the thought challenging technique helpful – this is found within the Sleepio programme.

    Hope this helps and good luck.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello and thanks for your question re sleep restriction. The first thing I would say is that sleep restriction is one of the most difficult – if not THE most difficult – part of the programme. Most people struggle with it. So bear this in mind that you are embarking on something that will be tricky.

    As you are only a couple weeks into it, it sounds as if this is just a case of your body adjusting to the new pattern. Give it time and, gradually, you will likely see that your sleep evens out a little and things settle down after a while. It takes a while for many people and this is why many feel like sleep restriction is simply not for them. However when it is persisted with, most people report good results that see their sleep become less fragmented.

    Not much practical advice here other than try to stick with it and know that it is a tricky thing to implement and most people will sympathise with your concerns.

    If you notice that you are consistently waking up early after 4-6 weeks of sleep restriction, you could try and shift bedtime a little earlier, so that you achieve your sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for your question. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, it is recommended that, when people wake, they implement the quarter hour rule as consistently as possible, even when there is only an hour or two left to sleep. If it is only about 20 mins left, however, then I'd say stay up as it may be more disruptive to go back to bed for this short time.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there. Thank for getting in touch. This is similar to my response to another Sleepio member tonight (see post above) in that sleep restriction takes time to work. And it will be tricky and likely unsettling at the beginning. This is your body adjusting to a new pattern.

    When you do have to get up in the middle of the night, try and have a cozy corner set up somewhere where you are more inclined to go. If reading is keeping you stimulated, then it's likely an unhelpful activity for the middle of the night. Sometimes this can be trial and error until you find something that works and helps you get sleepy. Some people find that simply sitting and doing nothing can be that thing. It may be an idea to get some options from the community in Sleepio?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for today's session. I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

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