Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 4th March 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 4th March, 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 Feb 2020 at 10:43 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 5 helped
    Graduate

    Hello I have been on the programme since last July and am still in a SR plateau without much change to the amount of time I can be in bed, still essentially 11 to 6. However, I have noticed recently that quite a few nights I have not had to get up to the loo (whether it's waking up to go or being awake and thinking I will go, not sure which). Is that a sign of better sleep quality?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 3

    I feel I'm awake all night. I'm so awake I could get up but im totally exhausted.What do I do, I ve tried the 15 minute time limit but I would be sitting up all night

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 1 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Dr Creanor,
    I have recently started taking mirtazapine 7.5mg to sleep. This is only in the last two weeks but it really helps. My sleep restriction commences on Saturday. Should I continue to take the mirtazapine?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi
    I have just returned from a short break which has disrupted my sleep schedule. I'm getting back on track now. Can I ask your advice for managing further trips away when timings will be outside of my control ? Or do I just need to do my best with it and get back to routine afterwards ?
    Many thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    good evening and welcome to the live Sleepio discussion. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with a special interest in sleep. I'll be here to answer any sleep-related Qs over the next 90 mins – feel free to get in touch!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there – thanks for your question. It can sometimes be really tricky to know if we're awake or asleep – often it feels as if it's somewhere in the middle. As a rough guide, I often suggest to people that if they are awake enough to make a recording on a pad and pen by the side of the bed that they are awake, they should record it as awake. Sometimes it feels we're awake but actually in lighter sleep, so wouldn't be able to note this period down. Hope that helps? Also, remember that the diary is a guide and won't be 100% accurate at times.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello – thanks for your post. I can see your fellow Sleepio classmate has answered this very fully and helpfully. I agree that food can alter your sleep as described, so it may be that a bit of trial and error is required to find a good balance between keeping weight and sleep healthy. I agree about the fluids before bed too, also watch out for certain foods before bedtime that may be harder to digest.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there – good question. It can be rather unsettling to have lots of things attached to you in the typical sleep clinics, plus an unfamiliar setting which usually makes us more alert and less relaxed, however there was hopefully a period of settling in first of all so these effects could be reduced? I think the best chance of having sleep recorded accurately is in one of these clinics – they will have appropriate professionals and can record the data based on subjective and objective methods. And yes I agree that actiwatches or apps will not always be the most accurate – for instance some will record periods of still wakefulness as sleep if you are not moving. Perhaps it is worth looking into finding a sleep clinic that is not based in a hospital and has more comfortable surroundings, however there will likely be similar methods used there too as this is how sleep is best measured objectively. Visiting the setting first might also help to familiarise yourself with it and reduce any underlying anxiety.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Good question. So many people working on their sleep find it best to use the gradual time shift approach. This is when the hour time change is introduced very gradually to the sleep window over a number of nights preceding the change, thus it's not too disruptive. So in spring, if you were splitting it over 4 nights, you would go to bed at say 11.15 instead of 11pm then by the night the clock has changed, you're an hour ahead already. Add this 15 mins to the other side too, so set the alarm for 15 mins later each day over the 4 days. You can do this over any number of nights, so as gradual as you like. Hope that makes sense.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there – in short, yes – it is normal to see some inconsistencies in sleep as the new pattern adjusts and settles into itself. Sometimes it's an underlying anxiety about the sleep not being this good forever that sets us back; at other times, it's life factors that get in the way – stress at work, lifestyles, food and drink etc. The main thing is to look at the overall improvements and expect some bumps in the road – it's all normal and part of recovery.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello – yes, it could well be that you are getting more deep sleep, thus not waking at that point in the night. Sometimes when we reach a plateau it's because we have reached the point where we are achieving the amount of sleep the body needs – this may be the case with you?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    I'm sorry to hear it's so difficult just now. In your 3rd session, you will come across the sleep restriction technique. This is where you restrict the sleep window each night to help you feel tired when you actually go to bed. This is the technique that will probably most help at the moment, as well as good basic sleep hygiene such as cutting out caffeine and stimulants after lunch time, exercising during the day and having a good nightly bedtime routine.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    I'm sorry to hear it's so difficult just now. In your 3rd session, you will come across the sleep restriction technique. This is where you restrict the sleep window each night to help you feel tired when you actually go to bed. This is the technique that will probably most help at the moment, as well as good basic sleep hygiene such as cutting out caffeine and stimulants after lunch time, exercising during the day and having a good nightly bedtime routine.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for getting in touch. This is a very personal decision – you can continue taking it during SR, but if you choose not to, it is really important you discuss this first with your doctor, as all medication must be taken as advised by medical professionals.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    HI there. The best thing to do when you travel is to get into the new time zone as quickly as possible – do as the locals do (get up when they do, eat when they do, sleep when they do). Ensuring you get plenty fresh air and sunlight (and exercise helps too) during the day and make the environment calmer and quieter and darker at night to help. You can use caffeine in the morning to help wake up and more calming activities at night to feel sleepier.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 5 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I don't think I have reached the point of enough sleep as I am still tired and find it difficult staying up some nights plus occasionally sleep longer if I don't put an alarm on at weekend. I have just never achieved 90% SE for a week since the first time of increasing by 15 mins but have adjusted the SW a bit myself.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thank you. That's helpful.
    I was also asking about bedtime and waking time being influenced by social activities ie fitting in with travelling companions. Does it matter having an interruption in the sleepio programme if you then go back to it ? Sharing a hotel room and not wanting to disturb your partner etc

  • Sleepio Member

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

    OK – may be that the sleep quality is building just now and that, with time, the sleep period will become longer too. I'd try and wait until the efficiency increases to increase the window, otherwise it might undermine the work already done and reduce the efficiency.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Oh sorry I didn't see that part of the question on the feed. It's a tricky one and comes down to personal choice here. You can either be really strict about it, or you can even pause the programme until you're home of you think that the inconsistency will interrupt progress. If you wish to pause the programme, you can email the team to let them know at hello@sleepio.com

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this week – speak to you all again soon!

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