Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 6th February 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 6h Feb, from 8:15 to 9:45pm British Time or 3:15 to 5:45pm US Eastern 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, including that concerning medication. 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 31 Jan 2019 at 4:43 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch. Sleep restriction is one of the topics we often get people asking questions about as it seems really counter-intuitive for those who can't sleep! Why would we want to reduce our sleep even further??

    The scientific evidence behind this technique, however, is compelling. For people who have broken sleep, this technique helps to squeeze all the bits of broken sleep into one chunk, which improves sleep efficiency (time spent in bed actually sleeping). Once this solid chunk is achieved, people find it much easier to start extending it to what they used to sleep. Broken sleep just keeps the problem going, so it's a case of short term pain for longer-term gains. A tricky technique to do, but many people do see the benefits of it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for your question. Many people report a strange phenomenon where they think they're awake but are asleep – or vice versa. There is an article on this in the library if you're interested:

    https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/can-you-think-youre-awake-when-actually-youre-asle/

    What can help is to find a time that works for you to be asleep and keep this as a regular sleep window.

    In terms of noting it in your diary, some people have found in the past that, if they feel awake enough to make a mark on a piece of paper beside their bed whenever they wake, this can help track whether you were awake or not.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – you could try the tip above with a piece of paper beside the bed to help track whether you were awake or not. Other people have kept track of wakenings by taking a (very brief) screenshot on their smartphones (blue light filters on and brightness at its lowest setting overnight) which gives them a timeline of actual wakenings during the night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I should have said about sleep quality as well – people do tend to judge their sleep quality more accurately than quantity as this is a more subjective assessment, so your guess will likely be more accurate than you think.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi i been dreaming but feel that I'm awake and not a sleep what does that mean

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your question. It can be really frustrating in the middle of the night when we can't get sleepy again after the quarter hour rule. I wonder if you have tried not doing anything during this time – simply sitting and staring at a spot on the wall? Sometimes even passive activity that seems relaxing can stimulate us enough to keep up awake. You could perhaps listen to some gentle music/zen music tones as well to see if this would help you feel more sleepy.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – it may be that it is this strange phenomenon that I mentioned earlier that people find themselves in where they're not sure if they're awake or asleep. Again, finding the best sleep window might help to allow for a deeper sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks – I'd wondered about that. So, if I'm awake, taking some small action at intervals (paper mark, screenshot, etc) is a good idea? I'd worried that anything that required too much activity would interfere with (eventually, hopefully) getting some more sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi sorry hadn't realised you posted twice! Sorry I think you had the wrong date for the session – I hope you get to see the responses. Perhaps try the mark on the paper trick or the screenshot idea for a more accurate indication of actual wakenings?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Ah good you're on live! Was worried you'd missed the session tonight. It would just be a very brief marking of a wakening, not really enough to wake you up fully. Another idea that a Sleepio member once suggested was to have some coins on the bedside table and to knock one off each time they wakened, so in the morning they could count the number of wakenings.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Provided the floor was carpeted!!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello – thanks for your post. This is something that many people struggle with and actually may be a good question for the community as often there are some great ideas out there that people have tried. Doing light housework can help, or standing beside an open window also might refresh you enough to stay awake a little longer. Talking to someone can also help, rather than sitting in silence. It can take a little bit of trial and error, but try to avoid sitting watching TV and getting comfy – this is a sure way to fall asleep too early!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – thank you for highlighting this. I will have a word with our technical team and alert them to this. Sorry you've been seeing unhelpful messages and well done for managing to get to sleep so quickly!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Good ideas. I think I'll need to get duration of wakenings as well as number, somehow, in order to calculate total sleep.

    Actually, anything else you can say about this pattern or references you can point me to would be useful since it seems to be a little unusual even among insomniacs: I reliably drop off quickly and get ~5 hours (consistently; if I go to bed later, the good sleep finishes later), but after that I don't seem to stay down.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    What I'll probably do is build a quick app that keeps the screen black, but records the time every time you tap on it. Might be useful to others, too?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I'm sorry to hear this week's been tough. Often what we find is that sleep is a little erratic when we are trying to get it back on track, so this is actually pretty normal (although very frustrating to experience). I wonder if there were different thoughts going through your head on the Sunday night? Sundays are notoriously difficult for people as they often are forced into thinking through the week ahead, which can keep them awake longer. What can also happen is that, after a good spell of sleep, we start to worry that it won't last, that it will change and then these anxious thoughts actually bring on anxiety, which in turns has a negative effect on sleep. Is this something that sounds familiar? If so, working on our thoughts can help – either having a 'worry time' set aside well before bedtime to note down worries and reduce the risk of them popping into our heads at bedtime, or keeping a notepad beside the bed for any anxious thoughts to be written down at the time can help.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    It could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps the body has just gotten into this pattern and can be extended gradually over time. Some people also need less sleep, so it may be that this is the case here (if you feel refreshed after this period of sleep) or it could be related to factors such as age, diet and underlying physical/psychological health. No clear reason, but a few things to consider!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Sounds very technical, but worth a shot!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for all the posts and questions tonight, everyone. Speak to you again soon!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you

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