Live Discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor - 9th December 2020

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 9th December, 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 3 Dec 2020 at 6:38 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Not in use yet David but it may be needed if they only want me to sleep a set number of hours. I'm not supposed to go to bed until 12.30am and then rise at 6am but on the first night I didn't get off to sleep until around 2am then slept through to 7am (which is unusual for me) so I'm just checking to see if that's OK or have I broken the rules?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks Doctor. That's all I wanted to know.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi David,
    This sounds very frustrating. A few things can help with early wakenings. Some basics – watching alcohol and caffeine intake during the day/evening, getting a good amount of exercise and fresh air during the day and targeting any ongoing stress/anxiety/low mood that can often cause early wakening. Once these are addressed, something that can help is to shift bedtime to an earlier/later time. It would be up to you as to what you would like to try but often this can help to knock out an early wakening pattern. Hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    You're welcome – good luck :)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch about this. It's often a common problem when those with sleep problems sit down at night to relax. It can be hard not to nod off, however if you do, it can be detrimental to sleep in the long run. So, when it gets to night time, try and think of some other things that will entertain you and not stimulate you too much before bedtime. Getting some fresh air by sitting next to a window can help, chatting to someone if this is possible, doing some mind puzzles, reading might all be options. Try to limit what you eat/drink at this time as we don't want the body to wake up too much but still be awake until bedtime. Sometimes it's trial and error about what will help but often the Sleepio community members have some great tips that they have tried!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello – thanks for your Qs. Being ill can be an irritating setback with sleep, but viewing it as just a setback can be helpful. Focussing on progress made so far is often a helpful way to look at sleep as it reduces the anxiety around the issue.

    Things that can help us fall asleep quicker at the start of the night or during the night include:
    – having a hot bath/shower 20 mins before bed (at start of night)
    – using relaxation/breathing/mindfulness exercises
    – scheduling in some 'worry time' into the daytime (never too close to bedtime) to address any problems that we ruminate on when we're awake/trying to fall asleep
    – paradoxical intention technique (repeating 'don't fall asleep' to ourselves)
    – thought-blocking (repeating the word 'the' to ourselves)
    – getting plenty fresh air and exercise during the day
    – being careful about caffeine and alcohol intake during the day

    I hope some of these things might be helpful to you…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    HI Dr,

    Upon waking too early in the am how vital is it to try and fall back to sleep before getting up and leaving the bedroom to read a book say, and then go back to sleep when feeling tired? Should you always try to fall back to sleep first before getting up or can you just leave the room if you feel you will not get back to sleep without making any attempt to fall back to sleep at that time? Many thanks.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Sasha,
    Sorry to hear you've been struggling. If you have had a physical check up, it may be that the sudden heating up is anxiety-related. It's good to hear you're working with a psychologist. Often it's difficult to get to what triggers these symptoms, but it tends to start with what goes through our minds – our anxious thoughts. Sometimes it's sleep-related, such as “oh no – what if I can't sleep again tonight”. This creates a potential threat and our bodies do what they think is the right thing and become alert and ready for action (fight or fight or freeze) and this, in turn, means we are no longer sleepy. Your psychologist, I'm sure, will be able to help you to work through techniques to help manage the anxiety which sounds like they will be helpful at this time. Getting used to thinking about your thinking will also be helpful in identifying the triggers.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there,
    Good question. I would always encourage people to give themselves a bit of time to see if they fall asleep first. If we get up straight away, we can end up getting into this pattern where the body expects to get up and be active every time we wake. This isn't helpful because most of us do wake a couple times a night naturally, and getting up every time this happened would become disruptive to our sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Dr,

    Can you confirm that paradoxical consists of telling yourself ''dont fall asleep'' and keeping your eyes open as long as you can? Is there anything else to add to this technique?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    HI,
    I have been having broken sleep for about 1 month. It started one day when I woke up feeling hot, from there it just got worse, both the times I would wake up, how long it took me to fall back asleep and the feeling on being hot, I now have light sweeting despite having taken off blankets. I had hormonal and thyroid test and everything seems normal. My phycologist thinks is anxiety, but I cannot find a trigger. The feeling of being hot is very real. I feel it on the parts of the body that are underneath the blankets (my mates and blamkets have been the same for 1 year, but the problem only started 1 month ago). When I wake up I take off 1 blanket or the pyjamas to cold down, after 1 hour or so I start feeling cold.
    I'm desperate

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Yes that's right, so the theory behind it is that we often get into a battle with sleep because we TRY to sleep, when actually we sleep best when it's a passive event – something we need to put any effort into at all. It should be natural. So any effort we put into this, it actually means sleep is less likely. When we tell our brains 'don't fall asleep', 1) the effort goes into the opposite of trying to fall asleep while 2) our brains actually only hear the 'fall asleep' part…a double win :)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Sasha – hopefully you saw my reply to your post?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks Dr, that makes sense. Is trying to keep the eyes opened another paradoxical thinking technique or am I imagining this?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    One final question. When I get up during the night should I experiment with going back to bed 15 -30 minutes later or should I really feel tired even if it takes an hour or more? Thanks again.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    You can do this during the same technique as part of not falling asleep, yes.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Yes it's recommended to wait until you feel sleepy tired (eyes closing, hard to keep them open) – this increases the chance of you falling asleep quicker :)

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Great. Thanks again

  • Sleepio Member

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    • 555 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Very welcome!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for today folks – thanks for all the great Qs – speak to you again soon.

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