Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 6th May 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 6th May, 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 Apr 2020 at 8:37 PM
  • 23 comments
  • 13 helped

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  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 181 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi CSirett, not sure if this might help but the Library has an article from the prof: Can you think you're awake when actually you're asleep?

    It might be worth a read whilst you are waiting for help from the Live Doctor…
    Kurly :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 181 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Jumping in here sikluke so you could try this tonight before you get a proper response form Dr. Creanor, move your sleep window by bringing it forward to when you start falling asleep. So if your SR starts at 12.30 go to be at 12.15 instead. Try it by just 15 minutes to start with and in the meantime if you feel yourself nodding off, get up and walk around, get a cool drink of water and have sips, go to the toilet, do anything but nod off for half an hour on the settee… bed = sleep!
    Kurly :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 1 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi, I have the same problem as CSirett, and I did read the article “Can you think you're awake when actually you're asleep?” a couple of weeks ago, which was helpful. Since this is an ongoing issue for me too, I would like to learn more. Thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    I’m at the sleep schedule stage of the program and as with all of these it doesn’t take into account shift work even though it asked about that in the initial assessment. What should I be doing? I can’t go to bed at the same time every day, sometimes I work 6-18 somethings 10-22 and sometimes 12-00.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 181 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    No worries, sk,
    I was just trying to help CSirett until the Doctor comes with the proper answers!!
    Kurly :))

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 181 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Loobyroberts,
    I’ve taken the liberty of adding what one of the doctors posted for us a few weeks ago, regarding shift workers completing their sleep diaries, hope this helps:

    Sleepio Shift Workers: how a member can fill out their diary when working shift work – at the end of their sleep window (their morning) they'd fill out the diary card for that day with the sleep from their 'last night', and it is meant to be filled out with our actual sleep. 

For example, say last night I worked third shift and this morning I got into bed at 7am, tried to get to go to sleep at 7:30am, and fell to sleep at 8:15am. I wake up twice in the night for 15 minutes each, I slept until 4:30pm and got out of bed at 5pm. I'd record these in today's diary card (April 21st) as 'Last night's' sleep:

Last night…
Going to bed
What time did you get into bed? 7:00am
What time did you try to go to sleep? 7:30am
How long did it take you to fall asleep? 45 minutes

During the night
How many times did you wake up during the night? 2
In total, how long did these awakenings last? 30 minutes

Getting up
What time was your final awakening? 4:30pm
What time did you get out of bed? 5:00pm.

    Best wishes,
    Kurly :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi. I am wondering if you have any guidance on hydrating? I always keep water by my bed and try to hydrate before going to bed (but not too much). I tend to be thirsty when I wake up in the middle of the night and need water, and I suspect being thirsty may be waking me up or preventing me from going right back to sleep without really waking up. Thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
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    Graduate

    Hello, I have a question about my sleep routine. When I was in the early stages of SR I would typically drop off before the end of the progressive relaxation exercise. Now I have a more reasonable bedtime (11.45), I'm usually still awake at the end of it and then take a little while to properly drop off. Is there anything I can do to improve the this?
    Also, I've tried to go to sleep without it once or twice and it has taken a long time. I don't really want to be dependent on the exercise for ever. Is it possible to wean myself off it, or are me & the Prof in it together for the long haul?!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Good evening and welcome to this week's live expert session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor and I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any sleep-related Qs as best I can. I am a clinical psychologist and deal mainly in sleep behaviour, so please reserve any medical Qs for your family doctor/GP. Let's begin…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there and thanks for getting in touch. I will say a little more later in response to one of your fellow Sleepio-ers about this semi-conscious state as there seem to be a few Qs about this tonight, however I want to suggest something else here that may help the unrefreshing element of this sleep pattern.

    It sounds as if you're spending a lot of time worrying/thinking/dreaming about work just now. Given that many of us are now working from home during the current pandemic, there may be a blurring of boundaries in terms of home/work which can lead to us struggling to switch off at night time. It's an important point to raise and there are a few strategies that might be worth mentioning here that may help a few people in the same boat…

    1) try, if possible, to use an area in the house for work that is outwith the bedroom (this can be difficult especially with children in the house and needing to find space – if this is the case, try and make the bedroom very bright when working so it feels like a different space to night time when you need it for sleep)
    2) build in some time in the afternoon/evening (not too close to bedtime) where you 'put the day to rest' – note down any loose ends on a piece of paper that can be dealt with the next day, or do brief problem solving exercises on things that are hanging over you from the day's work. This can reduce the time spent thinking about it later when trying to sleep
    3) have a good wind down routine that is the same every night before bed
    4) build in relaxation into the daily routine and before bed
    5) avoid alcohol/caffeine in later afternoon/evening if wakenings in the night are still occurring

    I hope these things are helpful to you and others in a similar situation…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there – so a few people seem to be curious about thus strange phenomenon. Research is still being carried out to understand this more fully, however recent research suggests that we may need to look at sleep in a slightly different way from how we used to. It has traditionally been believed that the whole brain acts in a certain way when going through various sleep phases, however it may be the case that some of the brain, when sleep deprived, can act out-of-sync with the rest; some neurons are in sleep-mode, while others are in wake mode. This may lead to this strange phenomenon of feeling confused about wake/sleep… It will be interesting to see where this research extends in the future…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Thanks for your question. When people have experienced periods of poor sleep, they start to associate their bed/bedroom with negative emotions (i.e. anxiety). So, when they go to bed, their brain wakes up a little more as it enters some form of threat-mode based on previous experience. This is why many people find it easier to fall asleep in places that are not their bed – places where there are no negative associations built up. This may be what is happening here? In order to get around this problem, I would:
    1) try and engage in certain tasks that will keep you awake at the times you tend to sleep on the sofa
    2) stick to a consistent bedtime each night that starts in bed
    3) maintain the rule whereby bed is used only for sleep (and sexual activity)
    4) engage in the quarter hour rule when required during the night

    These will help to strengthen the bed-sleep connection and will, in the long-term, help to improve sleep onset at the start of the night and after wakenings.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    HI there – you're right, there need to be a few adaptations for shift workers. There is actually a full Sleepio guide on this which I think will help you with a few questions you may have and how to adapt things… you can find it here…

    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/shiftwork/

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    My problem is waking up after several hours sound sleep. I visit the toilet and then I'm wide awake and it's 4.30 – 5 o'clock in the morning. Then it's a very long time until midnight bedtime.
    I will work on Prof's story of going to the beach, which is lovely, but I'm not there with it yet.
    It's such a relief if I do drop off to sleep again.
    :) asdfgfd

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and thanks for your question. Being thirsty – or needing the loo! – can keep us from a long slumber through the night – it's our body's way of telling us we need to attend to another need other than sleep. It can be a tricky balancing act taking in enough water so that you don't feel thirsty in the night, but not too much that you wake up to go to the loo! But it may simply take a little experimentation as to the right amount for you – everyone will be a little different. Also be aware of the temperature in the bedroom as this can affect thirst too – the bedroom should ideally be cool to help maintain sleep through the night and help us nod off initially; a bedroom that is too warm will also lead us to be thirsty and uncomfortable.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch. It's good to hear you're doing some of the relaxation exercises to help. These things do take practice so hopefully with time, this will help more. Are you engaging in the quarter hour rule when waking up early? I also wonder about whether you've considered blackout blinds, as at this time of year, depending on where you are in the world, the earlier sunrise can have an effect of the bedroom is getting lighter earlier in the morning.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi there, I see you're a graduate so you'll have been through all the techniques. I wonder if you have heard of the paradoxical intention technique? This may be something else to consider as you try to fall asleep? Many people also find that focussing on their breathing is helpful as it takes the mind away from the effort of falling asleep and onto something else.

    As to whether you will always require the relaxation, this is hard to answer – in the same way good sleepers often read before they fall asleep in order to feel more relaxed. If you are keen not to use it in the future and are falling asleep well with it, I imagine it could be weaned in terms of cutting it by a few mins/a section at a time over a period of time.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
    • 9 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Paradoxical intention = telling yourself to stay awake?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    So…paradoxical intention is when you say to yourself “don't fall asleep” – the key thing is to get the wording right here. By saying this particular phrase, you are taking the pressure off your conscious brain by no longer trying to fall asleep, while your subconscious brain only hears the last part (not the negative 'don't') and falls asleep more quickly…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's all for this evening's session. Thanks for the questions and speak to you again soon.

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