Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 7th October 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 7th October, 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 2 Oct 2020 at 10:53 PM
  • 15 comments
  • 7 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,
    I have just graduated but one question I still have is when do you know you are having the correct amount of sleep? Prof said that if your sleep efficiency is at 90% or above you can increase your sleep window by 15 minutes each week. Is it a case of your sleep efficiency drops if you are allowing too many extra 15 minutes? Does that make sense?
    Thank you.
    Kathryn

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,

    My question is partly about dreaming – I don't know if that's within the remit of this session, but it does relate to my quality of sleep.

    I am definitely falling asleep more easily but still struggle with waking early around 4-5am (my getting up time is set to 6.30am). In the past I would then have remained awake for an hour or two or until it was time to get up.

    Since using Sleepio I find that quite often instead of remaining awake after waking at 4 or 5am instead I seem to drift in and out of sleep for a couple of hours and it can be quite hard to know how much of the time I've been asleep. It's definitely broken intermittent sleep however so presumably not good quality.

    I have two questions relating to this – one is how to increase my chances of getting fully back to sleep after waking early. The other is something that puzzles me – during these episodes of light broken sleep I have very vivid dreams. I have previously read that complex dreams only occur during REM sleep (after going through earlier sleep stages), and that dreams in early stages of sleep tend to be quite different e.g. just a feeling. However I can definitely experience a complex narrative dream within say a 10 minute window of dropping off and waking up again. Is this normal?

    Many thanks,

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 1 helped
    Session 5

    How can I manage my sleep anxiety and not let it take over my life? When I do fall asleep I wake up an hour and a half later all panicky. What can I do?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr Creanor,
    I have two questions. My sleep pattern is similar to Ccat's ie falling asleep quite quickly ( which isn't something that used to happen and is great ) but I am still mostly waking up after between two and four hours. If I'm wide awake I'm getting up after 15mins however I sometimes only feel half awake and half asleep and inclined to doze. Should I still get up ?
    My other question is whether it's ok to have a cup of tea/coffee in bed in the morning before getting up at 6.30am ?! Many thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr Creanor,

    I went on the course and completed it up to graduation. However, for the last 4/5 weeks something has triggered the old lack of “sleep maintenance”. I am waking up in the early hours. Not sure if Covid anxiety is playing a part, although I am free from it. I moved house in Dec 2019 and still settling in. I use Samsung fitness tracker to monitor sleep, not brilliant but good enough. Any suggestions to recover from this?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    Hello and welcome to this evening's live Sleepio discussion session. For those of you who haven't met me before, I'm Dr Vicki Creanor, a clinical psychologist with an interest in sleep behaviour. I'll be online for the next hour and a half to answer any Qs about sleep/the programme. Feel free to send me a message! Let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi Kathryn – thanks for your post. This is a great question! No one that often comes up here so it's good to talk about this. So, I would always say tune into how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel refreshed? You tend to know when you've had 'enough' sleep. In terms of the efficiency, it would only start dropping again if you stayed in your bed for a while after you've woken up. As long as you're only in your bed when you're asleep, and stick closely to the quarter hour rule, the efficiency should remain high.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Have posted my question, awaiting response.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch with these interesting Qs!

    So first of all, in terms of getting back to sleep once awake in the middle of the night, there are a few things to consider.
    1) make sure you're following the quarter hour rule so that you don't stay in bed too long and reduce sleep efficiency and weaken the bed-sleep connection.
    2) thought blocking/relaxation/breathing exercises/paradoxical intention techniques (see the Sleepio library for these) at this point can come in handy to help get back to sleep
    3) sometimes if people consistently wake too early, a shift in the sleep window helps. You could try shifting the sleep window earlier or later to see if this helps create a more solid block of sleep.

    On the 2nd point about dreams, there is a phenomenon known as rebound in sleep. When we don't get enough of a certain type of sleep during the night and we wake in the middle of it, we might go back to sleep and go straight back into that phase. So, if you're waking in the middle of REM sleep, you might go back into it very quickly. The other thing to note is that we tend to have more REM sleep towards the end of the night – the other phases of sleep are shorter at this point.

    Hope that helps to explain what's happening to you with your dreams?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi – thanks for your post. I think many people are finding that sleep has been affected by the ongoing pandemic. There are so many changes in the way people are living and anxiety is high. First of all, I would look at what's changed over the past 4-5 weeks, see if any trigger can be identified. It may well be Covid-related or may also be something else.

    For those feeling anxious, I would recommend working in some anxiety management techniques to the daily routine. Also setting aside some 'worry time' during the earlier part of the day to note down any particular worries and to think about possible solutions. This technique can lessen the likelihood of those resurfacing at night.

    Next, I'd go over all the techniques learned in Sleepio firs time around. Good sleep hygiene, a good bedtime routine, the quarter hour rule and sleep restriction will all be useful in targeting poor sleep maintenance.

    Hope this helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hello – thanks for getting in touch.

    So first of all, great news on falling asleep more quickly these days :)

    It's good to hear you're implementing the quarter hour rule when you can. I would always say to people, if you feel awake enough to realise you're not sleeping after about 15 mins, get up and out of bed. If you feel on the verge of falling asleep again at this point, let yourself fall asleep. It can be confusing sometimes though. But the question “am I awake enough to be thinking about this?” often lets us know we should get up and move to another room.

    In terms of your other question, it's so hard – especially when it's getting colder in some places at this time of year – to be stricter with these little comforts, however I would say to get out of bed and have your tea elsewhere. We're aiming here to pair up the bed with sleep only, so it's a strong connection and helps us get to sleep as a result. If we start associating bed with having tea and relaxation while awake, it makes this bed-sleep connection more fuzzy, so it's best to avoid when you can. Set up somewhere nice and cozy in another room to have your tea so it's equally as appealing!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks. I do listen to mindfulness recordings, certainly at bedtime and sometimes during the day. Will certainly follow your advice.

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Hi and welcome to the session this evening. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with the anxiety around sleep. I see you're on session 2, so there will be lots of things you'll be learning over the next few weeks that will help with this feeling. Most people with poor sleep have anxiety about it, and this keeps the problem going. This is why many aspects of Sleepio are designed to help target this. There will be relaxation techniques and methods to help your negative thinking available to you – I hope you find them helpful.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3131 comments
    • 555 helped
    Expert

    That's the end of this evening's session. Speak to you all again soon :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 8 comments
    • 3 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks very much for the helpful reply, that all makes sense!

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