Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 7th March 2018

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 7th March, from 8:15 to 9:45pm British Time or 3:15 to 5:45pm US Eastern Standard 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 1 Mar 2018 at 7:13 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – thanks for getting in touch again this week. I'm wondering if you are referring to sleep restriction? Within the programme, we offer the best guidance for people to choose what they wish to use in order to help their sleep. So nothing is necessary as it is always personal choice. Sleep restriction is considered one of the most effective parts of a sleep treatment when people have problems maintaining sleep throughout the night. Although it does, without doubt, cause high anxiety and daytime tiredness in the short term, it has been shown to be a very effective technique in helping people sleep through the night in the longer term. I hope this helps answer the question?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there – welcome! Glad you can see them now. Feel free to ask any questions if you have any. I'm here til 9.45pm British Time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – I'll repost the answer from last week in case it helps others too. Certainly anxiety can play a part in the struggle to fall asleep, but there are other possible factors too…

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch. Problems falling asleep can be due to various factors – not being sleepy enough, having had a nap in the daytime, having underlying stress/mood problems or having developed unhelpful sleeping patterns that mean as soon as one enters the bedroom/bed, the brain becomes alert in response to fear of another bad night's sleep. Sometimes it's a mixture of all of these factors. Over the next few weeks, the course will help you look at ways to help improve your sleep and will tap into these various factors. Hope that explains things a little.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am taking gabapentin, an antihistamine (which I think is wearing off) and now, because of that, Nighty Night tea from Traditional Medicinals to get to sleep. I am in week 3 and SR. So far I am doing pretty well on SR (though tired during the day), but am wondering if I will eventually be able to come off of the “sleep meds” and tea.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    It's a tricky one as yes, they can indeed overlap, especially as the menopause can contribute to (or augment) low mood/anxiety. As with any comorbid problems, the challenge for health professionals is to tease apart contributing factors and identify what is causing what. Without knowing you, I can't comment on this fully however it does sound as if you have great support from a few health professionals who are looking into finding answers for you, which is encouraging.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Thanks for your question. Although I can't comment on medication, there are many people who have completed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based programmes (which Sleepio falls under) and have decided they no longer need medication, while others prefer to stay on them. It is very much a personal choice.

    It is important to mention here that any time a person reduces/increases/changes their medication, it is crucial that they do so under the supervision of a medical professional who knows them well. Altering medication without this support can be very risky and is not recommended.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    My question relates to finding ways to circumvent the reasons I wake in the night. Usually I need to go to the toilet at some point and the earlier I can go after going to sleep the better. If I wake around 4.30am I usually can't go back to sleep as I have had 5-6 hours sleep by that time.
    Also I frequently wake in the morning with back pain – is the pain related to lack of sleep or do I need to find a physiotherapy solution to that to help me sleep better

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI thanks for raising this – it's always something that people are unsure about. As sexual activity is common place in the bed, we do say that this is OK. It is the only activity other than sleep that we suggest should take place in bed. Some studies have shown that sexual activity before sleep can help promote sleepiness as well. So this is perfectly OK.

    Sharing a bed can cause issues when people embark on sleep therapy work and we often discuss that here. Again, it is a very personal thing – some people decide to sleep in different rooms in the short term until the sleep is back on track, others prefer to keep to the same bed. Sometimes it is trial and error in using aids such as earplugs or listening to music in bed if any noise from the bed partner disturbs them. But again, every person and every partnership is different.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for your question. I'm sure you will have tried these solutions already but restricting fluids (as long as this is OK medically) in the evening can help reduce the need to get up to got to the toilet in the night as well as emptying the bladder before bed.

    In terms of the pain, it would be important to explore this with a GP or physiotherapist in full to determine what links there are to be made, as they will have your full personal history.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    thanks for the comments. With the restriction of fluids I find if I don't have a small glass of water at bed time I wake with an extremely dry mouth in the night and have to have some water to relieve that – so wake up anyway. should I seek medical advice about that?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Ah I see – if it is something you're concerned about I'd always recommend the usual route of seeking medical advice, even for reassurance that something is normal.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
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    Graduate

    Good evening Dr Creanor
    A few weeks ago you advised me when using a Fitbit to be more relaxed with its reading as my SE had dropped since first using one, this has had a positive effect and my SE is now constantly high 80's. My SW is currently 8.3/4 hrs from 10.30pm to 7.15am but most days I wake up may be 30/45mins before the end of my SW so rather than try and sleep for a further 30 mins (which I think may make me feel worse) I get up, but most days do not feel at all refreshed and I'm missing out on sleep. I have thought about moving my SW later so that I don't have to get up as early but two days a week I have to be up at 6.30.
    Obviously one of the guidelines with Sleepio is to try and have a regular sleep routine what are your thoughts on me trying to go to bed later with a later getting up time but bearing in mind I have to be up early on two days. Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi – I'm glad to hear that there was progress in the sleep efficiency. I wonder if you have thought about the opposite…shifting the sleep window to an earlier time so that it allows you to get up early each day and possibly allows a fuller night's sleep? If someone is wakening up earlier a few mornings a week, this is something they can do to achieve a fuller sleep and accept their body may juts be ready to wake a bit earlier? Does that make sense?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
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    Graduate

    Thanks for the reply, yes it does make sense and I often struggle to stay awake till my SW anyway so maybe that would help, am I right in thinking that if I had a late night for whatever reason I would still be looking at getting up at the same time in the morning so shorter SW on that day

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Yes I think so – sticking to the same rise time is often a helpful habit to get into so the body learns the new pattern more quickly.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks Dr Creanor, will give it a go, you never know next time we speak my SE may be in the low 90's!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Let's aim for that!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Just 10 minutes remaining of this session if anyone has any further questions?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2709 comments
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    Expert

    That's all for this session – thanks for the posts and speak to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I have not altered any medications.

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