Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 5th February 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 5th February, 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 30 Jan 2020 at 2:49 AM
  • 14 comments
  • 5 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 370 comments
    • 224 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor, are you familiar with hypnopompic sleep paralysis/hallucinations? After a jet lag episode 4 months ago, I wake in the middle of the night, thinking that my ceiling fan (which is not even moving) is a huge spider or dancing person, or seeing my tall thin brown chest of drawers as a person. Without my contact lenses, I’m legally blind, so these things look blurry anyway, and worse in the dark. The hallucinations are frightening and seem very real. My research seems to say that this is not uncommon, and harmless. This has been going on several nights a week for 4 months. Is this my new normal? Thank you for any help you may offer. I should add that I “don’t fit the profile” of those who suffer from this, ie, no anxiety, no alcohol or drug abuse, no medications that would cause this, no Parkinson’s, no seizures, no migraines, no narcolepsy.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Greetings Dr. Creanor. I sometimes experience a panic when getting into bed, the fear of not being able to fall asleep. I have been able to somewhat effectively handle the thought by knowing that if this happens, I can listen to the relaxation tool and sleep will come. My question: Is this panic something that people that have experienced insomnia for years will always feel? Or will that panic finally fall away into nothingness? I know that you are not a fortune teller, but in general does this panic eventually go away? Thank you.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hello,
    Can you please advise me how I can fit the SR program around irregularities in my regular schedule, for example having to get up very early to catch a flight, or spending a few days in a slightly different time zone? Do I just try to fit it in as best as I can, or abandon it until I am back in my routine?
    Many Thanks
    Katharina

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
    • 1 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Dr Creanor

    I am a few days into SR. I know this is the hardest time, but I am sleeping less and not because of my sleep window. My window is actually 7 hours, because I did sleep for this long on average prior to starting SR (albeit poor SE spending around 10 hours in bed and using sleeping pills every few nights). However I am now only getting around 5 hours, waking around 3.30/4am (my window is 10-5). Is this likely to increase over time, given that I don't need my extra 15 minutes?! my main issue was getting to sleep initially, but once asleep I would get around 7 hours. Now I can drop off much quicker but I can't sleep for as long, or drop back off. Thank you

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor

    I have just graduated but unfortunatly whilst my slep efficiency has incresed a little my time asleep has decreased. I dont understand how this is progress, especially as I fight sleep especially during the evening.

    Whilst I am not in this position, I also dont understand why you would use an alarm to wake up if you can sleep past the alloted window. This seems counter productive if you are trying to get more sleep.

    I am interested in the theory, but perhaps I am over analysing.

    Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
    • 9 helped
    Graduate

    Hello, can you offer any advice on how to clear a woolly head during the day? Sleep restriction makes it hard to focus at work. I'm drinking lots of caffeine!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hello and welcome to this live session. I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any questions relating to sleep/Sleepio. Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch. You are correct – it's not uncommon, but it is frightening. It often follows a period of sleep deprivation so it sounds as if jetlag may have triggered it. Making sure the sleep strategies are followed consistently, as well as getting plenty of exercise, reducing caffeine/nicotine and keeping as regular a bed and rise time can help. Incorporating some relaxation into the day – and also at the bedtime routine stage – may also be beneficial in reducing these as even if there is not underlying anxiety, it sounds as if there may now be anxiety about this itself. Hope that helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there – caffeine can help but be careful not to overdose on it or drink it past midday as this can lead to poorer sleep at night and fuels the problem. I always recommend that people get some exercise, fresh air and sunlight (even dull daylight in winter can help) during the day as much as possible – this helps to send a signal to the brain to tell it to waken up. Drinking a lot of water can help keep you hydrated too, which is helpful.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thanks for your question. The panic of approaching bedtime is something that can definitely be reduced by sticking to certain strategies. There was probably a time you were not anxious before bed – therefore it can be reversed over time. It's a learned response. So, over time when sleep improves, so will this panic as you gain experience of better sleep. Practising relaxation throughout the day and before bed can help, having a good consistent bedtime routine in place can too, as can working on any irrational, negative thoughts about bedtime (best to do this during the day rather than in the evening) using the thought challenging tool.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    This can be frustrating. But you can actually do either – try as best you can to make it consistent, or pause the programme until you can get a better run at being more consistent. If you choose the latter, please send an email explaining this to hello@sleepio.com to let the team know so it won't affect your sleep data.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there – this is quite a common pattern with people doing SR so don't worry – it usually follows that as the body gets used to this new routine, sleep time starts to increase. When you are struggling to get back to sleep, make sure the QHR is being used and you can even try relaxation, thought blocking (I'm sure you'll have come across the 'the the' technique – repeating the word 'the' over and over – or another neutral word – to help block out thoughts) or paradoxical intention – when you repeat the phrase “don't fall asleep” over and over and try NOT to fall asleep. This works by putting energy into not falling asleep, rather than trying to sleep, which, paradoxically, increases the chances of us falling asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    These are good questions and I'm sure others are thinking the same!

    Firstly, when we engage in SR, it does take a while for our bodies to adjust to the new pattern and often people will experience less time asleep – only initially. The body is a bit confused so wakes up earlier, but as it becomes the norm, it settles into the new pattern.

    As for the alarm, research shows that, if we have a consistent sleep window, we sleep better as the body learns this and falls into the pattern each night. Sleeping beyond the alarm, although always tempting after a period of poor sleep, confuses the system and can lead to less restorative sleep. We often tend to does after our alarm, so sleeping in past it can lead to weakening of the bed-sleep association in our minds.

    Hope that helps explain it?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

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

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