Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 6th November 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 6th November, 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 Oct 2019 at 5:14 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there – you raise an important point here. These techniques tend to be effective, yet it can be tricky to implement if one has a bed partner. Of course, it depends on many variables about the bed partner, including how well they sleep, how soundly they sleep and how understanding they are to potential disruption. Some people manage these techniques well with bed partners but for those who don't, sometimes an option (if available) is to use a separate bed (two singles beside each other) during the course of the sleep work. Of course, this also may rely on the bed partner being understanding!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch. It is a fairly common problem when someone has a sleep problem and then a bed partner is newly introduced. What tends to happen is that you will be so tuned into any movement or noise that was not there when you were alone. Once we notice these noises/movements, we start to anticipate them more and this leads to anxiety. Trying relaxation before bed may help, having background noise in the room playing through the night (or you could use earphones for this in case your partner does not wish this) and having separate single beds to minimise movement awareness might help. It's likely that the intermittent nature of sharing a bed heightens your anxiety – if it was every night, you may find it easier to become used to it. Hope these suggestions help in the first instance.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello there – I've not come across this term before or the rationale behind it – are you able to say a little more if you are with us tonight?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    Thank you for replying Dr. Creanor. This is helpful. Are there any effective strategies to ease anxieties when having problems with falling asleep? I tried meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, but nothing seems to help. I have a racing mind and also tried using CBT and positive thinking to address it but it didn't help. Anything else that could be of help?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi thanks for getting in touch. When we challenge our negative thinking, we want to wait until we are more removed from the problem, feeling more positive and so most people tend to wait a little while (sometimes even a few days) after the initial negative thoughts/emotions before trying to think of more rationale counter-thoughts. A common example might be an initial negative thought of “I will never get to sleep tonight” This tends to then lead to anxiety and hopelessness. Once we are removed a little from this emotion and thought, we may try to challenge it and think, “OK, so I do have trouble sleeping some nights, however most nights I manage to sleep because my body gets to the point it's so exhausted, so it is actually likely that I'll get some sleep tonight”. This more balanced thought is more realistic. The more we work on our negative thoughts, the more we train our brains to think more positively or realistically and so we start to challenge our negative thoughts on the spot, when they occur, which, of course, halts the negative emotions, too.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi, glad it was helpful. I see you're just starting the Sleepio journey, so there will be several techniques you will learn over the next few weeks that will help target this problem. It's such a common difficulty with people who find it hard to sleep well, so I hope you find them helpful.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    HI there. Although we can't comment on medication per se, it may be relevant to raise the point that this is a drug prescribed to treat depression and anxiety disorders. We also know that both depression and anxiety often lead to early morning wakening. Often what can help is doing planning some relaxation throughout the day as well as before bedtime as well as scheduling in some “worry time” in the earlier part of the day to challenge any negative thoughts that come up when you wake at night. For many, it's anxious or worrying thoughts that can wake us up and prevent us falling back to sleep again. What I would also say to anyone experiencing low mood or anxiety is that getting support for these problems will often help sleep problems, too. In addition, if you are worried about early wakening being a side effect of medication, it's best to speak to the healthcare professional who prescribed it to you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello and thanks for your post. The colder nights definitely make the QHR/sleep restriction harder to implement, don't they?? Using another bed should be OK, however I wonder if it'd be possible to set up a comfy chair in this bedroom rather than use the bed? The temptation in a bed may be to lie down in it, thus making sleep more likely (which we don't want to happen there).

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
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    Graduate

    Good evening Dr Creanor.
    I have been finding the sleepio course really useful but have now reached a sticking point that may be common to others. I'm a breast feeding mum, getting up 3 or so times a night, after which I often can't get back to sleep. The advice of not napping in the day time and sleep restriction seems very ambitious when I know even if my insomnia doesn't keep me up breast feeding will. I'm not sure how to adapt the course to fit my situation… Or whether I should give up on it until my baby is sleeping through the night so I can follow the sleepio advice properly.
    Many thanks for your help

  • Sleepio Member

    • 21 comments
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    Graduate

    Hello Dr Creanor. Is it correct that someone suffering from anxiety should not go below 6 hours in terms of a sleep window? I though another of the Wednesday sleep experts advised as such recently but I am not absolutely sure and so would like to check it with you. In my case I might sometimes struggle to fill a 6 hour window with sleep at the moment but psychologically it is more appealing that a shorter window that is more reflective of my ‘true average’, if that makes sense.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thank you for your question. It can be tricky to manage both insomnia and breastfeeding and/or a new baby who cannot yet sleep through the night. Breastfed babies will be up more often for feeds, so this is to be expected. Although it is not usually recommended to nap during the day, when you are a new parent this advice is more flexible. You need to be alert to look after your baby and also may be recovering from childbirth (depending how old your baby is) so naps may be required.

    There is actually a special guide in Sleepio for new parents – you can find it at this link:
    https://www.sleepio.com/articles/parent-sleep/

  • Sleepio Member

    • 21 comments
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    Graduate

    I should add that as a graduate who had success with the course, my sleep window is actually longer than 6 hours. It’s just that I’m struggling at the moment so wanted to scale back my sleep window to something more realistic, without going over the top. Hope that makes sense.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for your question. Experts often differ in their approach to this 6 hour rule! It's also a personal decision at times. May I ask what your average is and what your sleep window would be?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    My average currently is 5.5 hours. For the past 4 years since graduating, I’ve been able maintain 7 hours. I want to have a sleep window of 6 hours while I’m in this extended blip. Just not sure if that will help or hinder me though. Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thank you. So some say we should limit a sleep window to 6 hours, however some would say to stick to what the average is to prevent more time in bed when not expecting to sleep. The shorter the window, the more likely one is to fall asleep due to increased sleep pressure. If you wish, you could try the 6 hours initially as you have stated this as your preference, then if it negatively affects your sleep efficiency you can revert back to the 5.5 hours.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 21 comments
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    Graduate

    Will do. Thanks so much.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    You're welcome!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
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    Session 3

    Hi, what is the current thinking about laryngospasm and sleep apnoea?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi I'm sorry I don't know too much about this as it's more a physiological problem. I imagine it would have an impact on sleep, however, depending on when it occurs, but I'm not familiar with the research around it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's our session over for this week – thank you for the questions and I will speak to you again soon.

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