Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 5th April 2017

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 5th April, 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 30 Mar 2017 at 4:02 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    What counts as a relaxing passive activity, that is okay to do before bedtime? I know the few examples that the course mentioned, but how can I decide for other tasks whether they are appropriate or not? For instance, is playing piano a good idea to do within that hour before bed?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    This is a tricky question to answer as the fitbit I believe can be set to different settings? Even in good sleepers, there will be times when we are more restless/active and if ona sensitive mode, the fitbit may pick this up and make our sleep seem less restful than we perceived. But in terms of how to increase restfulness, I would aim to incorporate relaxation techniques into the wind down routine and also make sure that the wind down routine is consistent. It would also be important to avoid alcohol, avoid exercise before bed and to get help for any underlying difficulties such as anxiety that may also be making the body more restless at night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I'm on week four of the Sleepio programme and have done one week of compressed sleep now, but this weeks session with The Prof hasn't mentioned whether I should keep at this or extend my sleep now. Can you advise?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    This is a good question and one that many struggle with now and again. The answer is that it is quite subjective, actually. If playing the piano is perceived as peaceful and relaxing and is something that requires little thought (usually if it feels automatic) then yes, this would be a nice relaxing thing to do before bed, however it would be active as opposed to passive, given the playing element. Listening to the piano would be passive. Other passive activities might be watching TV, listening to music, having a bath. Active activities would be light housework, crosswords etc. But the main thing is to determine how these activities make one feel – if they are too stimulating or require too much thought, they may overstimulate the brain before bed. One should aim for a quiet, calming activity that feels relaxing.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    What advice would you give someone who is waking up before their alarm, even with a restricted sleep window? I'm wondering if I should shift my schedule earlier, so that I go to bed and get up earlier, but for some one who doesn't usually use an alarm, I find that I often wake up before my alarm (earlier than usual) when I set one.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    The Prof allows people to increase their sleep window by 15 mins each time they reach 90% or more efficiency. This is calculated using the data entered into the sleep diary. I believe when this is reached, the Prof will advise that the sleep window is increased.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    The general advice is that the quarter hour rule is followed, even if this is upon wakening an hour before the alarm (or even 30 mins before the alarm). This helps to strengthen the bed-sleep connection in the brain and over time helps one sleep longer.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    I will send this note to the technical team who deal with the diary side of things and ill ask someone to get back to you on this as I don't have access to the diary questions as you might see them. Hope that's OK?

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi and thank you so much for this lovely feedback! It's always fantastic to hear about the success stories through this programme and is, I imagine, very encouraging for those at the start of their Sleepio journey. All the best for continued success…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    When we input our “sleep quality” in our diary, how are we supposed to gauge that? What is sleep quality really mean? Is it how refreshed I feel upon awakening? Often I may feel refreshed, but later in the day feel very fatigued. Should I input this value only after seeing how I felt during the day?

    Or is sleep quality based on whether I slept continuously through the night? It seems like that is already captured from another question in the diary though.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    I am going to get in touch with the technical team about this as we had a similar question posted above about this issue, too. I'll ask them to get back to you as well if that's OK…

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – sometimes there are little blue question marks beside the questions in the diary that, when clicked on, tell us how to enter this info – might be worth checking if there is one beside that question. Failing this, I would regard sleep quality as how good a sleep you think you had that night in terms of wakenings and general restful sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    When we are trying to get our sleep back on track, we do need to set an alarm to help us stick to the same rise time each day, so we will need an alarm initially. As for waking naturally, many of us do not have this luxury given work commitments etc, but there is something in the feeling of being woken during deep sleep that leaves us groggy. The other benefit of an alarm, though, is that it avoids us oversleeping, too, which can also be detrimental even in good sleepers.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 52 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Ok thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 52 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi – one thing I think it's good to point out to people is that it's a bit of a myth that you have to get up to 90% SE before you are allowed an extra 15 minutes. Everyone I've spoken to has been allocated the extra time after 80% SE, and that's been my experience as well. Just thought that was worth mentioning, though maybe there's a reason to keep it 'secret' so that people aspire to 90% even if they don't get there?

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi there,
    This is similar to my previous reply to another post actually, but sometimes unrefreshed sleep is the result of lifestyle factors such as consumption of alcohol which alters the sleep phases during the night or underlying stress/anxiety/low mood, which can have an effect on sleep quality. It would help to take a note of the nights that are particularly bad and have a look at the factors at play on those days…

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Oh thanks for pointing this out!! I wasn't aware of this, as we don't have access to the site as community users would see it, so this is very helpful! I will alter my advice accordingly…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 52 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    For some reason, everyone says it's 90% but when you question them they're actually getting it from 80%. I don't know where the myth of 90% started, or why it has been perpetuated! Or maybe there's a mysterious reason to keep saying 90%...or it could be that some people don't in fact get it til they reach 90%, for reasons I don't know.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    I think the 90% may have come from us just from some knowledge of the literature around it. Either way, the Prof will keep people right! Thanks again.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

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

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