Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 5th August 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 5th August, 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 31 Jul 2020 at 4:14 PM
  • 14 comments
  • 0 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 28 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Doctor
    This is my 7th week on SR, sleep is very much up and down, ranging from No sleep to 5 hours, though it's more downs than ups. I am beginning to lose hope of this working for me.
    My SW is 12-6am and I am happy with that, but my problem still remains as taking a long time to fall asleep and sleeping for about an hour. The nightly average is mostly broken sleep for about 3 hours, hence I am getting out of bed 3-5 times a night.
    From 1st week I have felt sleepy during afternoons and evenings, however very rarely sleepy enough at night. In fact over the last 2 weeks it was completely messed up, like not feeling sleepy in bed, but QHR get up and become very sleepy quickly, then get back in bed not sleepy, so it goes on all night, and I am so confused.
    I have gone through sessions 3-5 again, and am mostly on track with the requirements. Wind down routine, SW, QHR, no devices, only dim light, meditation etc, not much worries. What else can I do to improve sleep quality and quantity?
    Desperately need advice please. Thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Good evening and welcome to the Sleepio discussion today. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with an interest in working with people with sleep problems. Please feel free to get in touch over the next 90 mins if you have any questions relating to sleep or the Sleepio programme…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there and thanks for getting in touch.

    First of all, let me say that it sounds as if you're doing lots of the right things.

    Sleep restriction is one of the toughest parts of the programme. It is more a longer-term technique so shifts will take a while to be observed.

    It can be very confusing when you feel tired outside the bedroom, then you go to bed and feel wide awake! What is happening here, is that your brain has learned that the bedroom/your bed is a rather threatening place. It's been associated with poor sleep for some time, so this negative association lasts and is triggered by just the sight of the bed or going into the bedroom. When we feel threatened, we become more alert so our bodies can keep us safe from the threat, so our bodies and minds wake up. Then, when you leave the bedroom and that association no longer is present, you realise you're actually tired.

    The QHR is helping with this. It is changing this negative association between bed and sleep.

    Other things to look at though might be the following:
    – reducing caffeine during the day – especially after lunchtime
    – getting plenty of fresh air and sunlight during the day
    – engaging in exercise during the day
    – getting up as soon as you wake up in the morning (also strengthens a positive association between bed and sleep)
    – having regular rise and bed times to help the body learn the pattern
    – having a hot bath/shower 20 mins before bed may also help you feel sleepy before bed and encourages the release of melatonin
    – ensuring the bed is only used for sleep (and sex)

    Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 28 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Doctor
    I can't say that I feel that my bed is a threatening place associated with poor sleep. My sleep problem had started on and off about 10 years ago, and the last 3-5 years was getting more serious, sometimes with several consecutive nights without sleep and I always wondered why I didn't feel tired during the day.
    The things that you listed above, I could tick “yes” to all of them.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    Good evening. I'm just getting started with the program. I have read advice that if you're not falling asleep after a few minutes in bed, you should go into another room and do a quiet activity like reading until you feel sleepy. I've been trying that, but I find that as long as I'm on the couch reading, I don't get sleepy at all. I can stay there and read a (paper) book for a few hours, into late morning, and I continue feeling quite alert. This happens even if I got no sleep the previous night or only for an hour or two. I keep the lights as dim as possible there. If I go back to bed, I don't feel sleepy there either for the first couple hours but sometimes I eventually fall asleep. Am I doing anything wrong?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there,
    It's often more a subconscious event with the feeling of threat – often we experience it consciously as different emotions or just that we feel more awake when we are in our room/bed. It sounds as if you are doing all the right things here. It may simply be that it needs a little more time to have the impact on your sleep. Something else you might want to look at is shifting the sleep window to earlier or later and seeing if this helps you sleep longer. Sometimes it can have a positive impact.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and welcome to the Sleepio programme. You will come to this technique soon in the course – it is called the quarter hour rule. Rather than it being a few minutes though, it is recommended that you only get out of bed if sleep hasn't come before approx 15 mins. if you get up after a few mins this will be very disruptive (even good sleepers don't fall asleep usually within just a few minutes). The other thing to make sure is that whatever activity you do when you move to the other room, it's not one that draws you in and keeps you awake. It sounds as if the material you're reading is perhaps too engaging. It's possibly better to read something you've read before or listen to some calming music. Then as soon as you feel sleep tired (eyes closing-type tired!) you return to bed. You repeat this process whenever you cannot fall asleep (at start of night or during the night after waking).

  • Sleepio Member

    • 28 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    How long should I try testing shifting the SW? Say, half an hour earlier, starting from now, for how long? And if let's say I tried that for say, 4 weeks, and that doesn't make any difference, do I shift it again? I guess there wouldn't be much point in shifting it earlier and then later, and for too many times.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    OK, thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    You're right – too much shifting around of the sleep window is likely to be confusing for your body. I would recommend shifting it by an hour and try this new pattern for 2-3 weeks. Half an hour may not feel much like a change.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 28 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Ok, thanks for your recommendation. Will give it a try.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Good luck with it and feel free to get back in touch to discuss it again if you need to…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this session – take care and speak to you all again soon!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    I am told that I cry out in my sleep. Any insights about such sleep behavior?
    Thanks,
    J.

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