Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 8th July

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 8th July 8.15pm-9.45pm BST.

She will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half and, as always, you’re welcome to ask any questions at all about sleep or the Sleepio program. Please do note however that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor won’t be able to give highly specific medical advice. She will however try to help as best as she can!

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Posted 2 Jul 2015 at 4:43 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,

    I am only in the first week of Sleepio but aware that one of the things that prevents me from sleeping is my hyper-vigilence over even the slightest sound. This is caused by being woken intermittently by my partner's snoring – he sleeps in another room now but I can still hear him. Even the faintest flicker of it and I wake. I read that it is possible to desensitise yourself and sleep through noise. Is this the case and, if so, how successful are the techniques?

    Thanks,
    Nib

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi stuckers,

    Thanks for your post. I have come across people in my clinical work who have experienced emotional pain as physical pain, yes, so there is always this possibility. What I would say as well, however, is that if you haven't had the pain checked out by your medical doctor yet, it's worth doing that in case there is a physiological basis of the pain.

    If you have a look at the library, there is an article about a particular relaxation technique called Autogenic Training. This is often useful for people experiencing pain. You can also download an mp3 file for the training in your case file.

    Hope this helps….

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Nib,

    Thanks for your post. It sounds frustrating and I'm sure many people can empathise with you on this topic. In my sleep work, I have come across the technique of desensitisation to noises such as this. They have taken recordings of the noise to which they wish to desensitise to (the snoring) and have gradually exposed themselves to more and more of this noise while conducting relaxation exercises, so that the noise eventually becomes associated with relaxation and not tension. It is something that you may need guided through but that is the basic idea. If you are used to the noise as well – as in it becomes white noise – it is less likely to wake you up than intermittent noises (as our brains accept that it can't be dangerous and worth paying much attention to if you haven't acted already).

    Thanks for the interesting question!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor. I am on my last week of Sleepio. I am getting 5 to 6 hours sleep a night which is more than I was previously getting but I feel so exhausted that I can barely keep awake during the day. I don't understand why I am more tired than I was before when I was getting less sleep! I am also getting severe headaches and am struggling at work because of this. Can you help?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Lucy,
    I'm sorry to hear this, especially given your improvements in length of sleep. I'm wondering, has anything else in the environment/lifestyle changes or have there been any periods of stress for you recently?
    Vicki

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor
    Many thanks for your advice. Trouble is, I am a pretty old hand at exploring so many techniques and remedies for sleep problems over so many years. At this stage of my life, although life continues to present its challenges, I am fairly relaxed in dealing with them. However, a good night sleep would make such a difference to energy levels/fatigue. I have no difficulty in following the Sleepio programme, Schedule, SR, SW etc and very much appreciate the excellent way the Sleepio programme is put together. So what else can one do! There must a reason why my sleep is improving. Thanks again B

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Sorry, teipo! There must be a reason why my sleep ISN'T improving!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    It sounds like you are implementing all the right techniques, Blodwen. Are you aware of anything else going on that may be influencing stress/sleep? For example, are you on medication, do you have any physical difficulties? Don't feel you have to go into detail as I know this is a public forum.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I guessed that one :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks Dr.

    I wouldn't really call it pain.

    It's a state of mind / consciousness in which I am physically calm, doing things like deep breathing; mentally calm, with no panicky thoughts; yet nowhere near sleep as the hours tick by. The later it gets the more exhausted I feel, but not sleepy-tired. The only physical sensation is a vague ache or tension in the pelvic floor region, which is why I mentioned it.

    I guess what I'm asking is have you come across people who get into this state of mind where they are physically and mentally calm but just can't get to sleep until dawn, night after night? So it's a state of calm exhaustion, but without the sleepy-tired feelings that lead to sleep.

    If so, any suggestions to get out of this strange state of self-awareness and into a sleepy-tired one?

    I'll check out the autogenic training tonight.

    Many thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
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    Graduate

    Thank you for your reply Dr – that sounds a very interesting and intriguing option.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi dr. No more than usual. I've experienced headaches through deep sleep before and wondered if it might be that. I also suffer from quite bad anxiety but that's been going on for quite a while so this isn't anything unusual. I wondered if my body might be getting used to the change and actually making me more tired to start with?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Stuckers,

    I guess many people who have got into the habit of poor sleep patterns get a bit stuck in those – and their behaviour tends to maintain this problem. So yes, you may well fell calm, but the habit of staying up later than you wish – and the weak bed-sleep connection – do play a part. It's then about routine and getting into a new, pro-sleep routine as quickly as you can – and sticking to it. Ensure this is regular, so that it becomes your new habit. It's possible that even although you feel calm, your brain is staying awake because it's been 'trained' to do so and is resisting sleep. It may be that your sleep window will start quite late initially as a result, but you may be able to gradually bring that forward as things improve.

    The other thing I'm thinking about is that you may have something called Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. This means that you are not naturally sleepy until way beyond when you would hope to be sleepy – and then find it hard to get up early in the morning. Have a look at the article in the library about this….

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That can definitely happen, as it can take a while to settle into new sleep patterns. It may be worth speaking to someone about the anxiety too, if you're not already doing so, just to see if you can get support for this. The relaxation techniques in Sleepio may help with the headaches if they are anxiety-based. You may also want to try the autogenic training I mentioned earlier?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi Dr Creanor,
    I'm out of kilter after some steady progress. I've been awake until 4am two nights in a row now. The biggest problem I have is anxiety if I start to think I won't sleep. The adrenaline and thumping heart overpower any built up sleep pressure. Is there anything I can do in addition to the relaxation downloads, thought checker and full wind down? Or do I just need to reinstate all Sleepio measures and have faith that I'll get back on track? I let things slip ever so slightly when I seemed to be making such good progress so this may be at the root of my problems now. I just hate that horrible anxiety that seems to hit without warning when I try to sleep. I do not have full-blown anxiety in other areas of life but am a worrier by nature. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Jenny B,

    Thanks for getting in touch. First of all, I would aim to see this as a mere blip, rather than anything more major. Everyone is bound to have them at some point, even after steady progress.

    Secondly, when I've spoken to people in the past who have hit a blip and everything seems overwhelming again, I've advised them to set aside some time to simply go over the whole course again – at your own steady pace – to make sure all the techniques are being done properly – not just how you think they should be done (when we're anxious, memory fails us!)

    As for specific techniques that may help the anxiety, setting aside some worry time in the morning/afternoon can be helpful so that you get it all out there and then and it's less likely to haunt you at night. The thought challenging technique is the one to use here.

    I would suggest going back to basics, reading through the course again and taking your time with it. This will be more effective than going through it quickly, looking for what might help right now. And rest assured that it's very common to have blips, but that people do get back on track again.

    Hope this helps, Jenny B.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
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    Graduate

    Thank you so much. This is very helpful, and reassuring too!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I would add something…

    Write on a piece of paper something like, “I've made progress before, so I can do it again” and keep it close to you for times when you feel overwhelmed. If you have made improvements before, there is no reason why it can't be done again.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1389 comments
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    Expert

    That's all for tonight – thanks for the great posts – take care and speak to you soon.

    Vicki

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    Graduate

    I have two questions
    1) I've begun what may be called a perfect sleep. I sleep between 8-9 hours every night without waking up. It's quite a deep sleep. I wake up before my alarm. The thing is that I'm still drowsy during the day – more to the afternoon. I begin snoozing on myself while at work. How can I prevent this from happening?

    2) I've begun practicing Restrictive Sleep. In a few weeks time, I'll be undergoing major surgery . Restrictive Sleep has significantly aided my sleep experience. After surgery I will be in some pain and confined to a bed. Note that I the only activity I perform in my bed is sleep. I also, do not lie awake in bed. How do I ensure that I don't go back on what I've learnt and benefited from during this time of recuperation?

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