Live discussion with Dr Vicki Creanor -13th January 2016

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 13th January 8:15pm-9.45pm GMT.

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 that, as per our guidelines, Dr Creanor won’t be able to give personal medical advice. Her 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 7 Jan 2016 at 9:12 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you. That does make sense. Isabel

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Juniper,
    Thanks for your post. Many people find that when they have experienced disrupted sleep for a long period of time, they benefit from sleeping in the same room for a while afterwards given the sameness and predictability and, therefore, feeling of safety it brings. People will likely be able to move into different rooms, just like good sleepers are able to on holidays etc. What often helps, however, is to keep as much of the other things constant, so the routine, the relaxation strategies, the timings etc. If negative thoughts creep in again, it's about challenging them using the techniques learned in Sleepio and also using things like the quarter hour rule consistently if needed again. It may just be that it will take a bit more time and practising all the techniques again.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Thanks for your questions.
    What we would recommend to people is that they do stick to their sleep window, but the time to get out of bed is after 15 mins has passed and you're still awake, to adhere to the quarter hour rule. Only then, after you've been up with the quarter hour rule, should you return to bed when you feel sleepy tired.
    In terms of your second question, it is OK to read before bed as part of the relaxation process – for most people, we would recommend doing this outside the bedroom in the first instance until the sleep is back on track. Also make sure it's not material that will keep you thinking or worry you, as this will stimulate your mind before bed which is never a good idea.
    Hope that helps…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr. Creanor

    I have Pure OCD which has caused me intermittent bouts of insomnia. My recent one led me to Sleepio which has helped because I have learned what not to do when you can't get to sleep. My only point of difficulty is the quarter hour rule. Once I get up out of bed and go to another room to do something relaxing I am so annoyed and frustrated at not getting sleep that I end up only getting 2 hours sleep. I have read an article in the guardian that states that people with insomnia forget to realise that the goal should be to relax not too sleep. I follow a similar cycle on weekdays. The day after I have had only 2 hours sleep I am wound up. I am determined to get a good nights rest; this determination ofen makes it very difficult to go to sleep. And so the cycle continues. Is there anything you can suggest that would help me.

    Regards

    Sag

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi dashwood,
    Thanks for your post. Often when people are at the very start of Sleepio, there is a lot of anxiety around as they have been living with a very tricky sleep problem, sometimes for a long time, yet they are as yet unaware of what Sleepio has lying ahead for them in terms of techniques. Rest assured that the techniques you will cover over the coming weeks will target just this – how to help your mind relax and get into a routine of sleep again. There are various techniques that you will do soon that will look at helping you fall asleep, as this is one of the most common difficulties people face. Much of what will be learned in the first few sessions is about keeping things consistent, such as the bedtime routine, so you will learn how to do this, too, no matter where you are. All the best with the rest of the course.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Sag,
    What you describe is very common in poor sleepers – they over-think the sleeping issue. Good sleepers don't tend to think much about sleep, it just seems to happen to them without effort. There are a couple of Sleepio techniques which would be helpful to look at for those experiencing this issue…challenging negative thoughts and thought blocking/stopping (the 'the the' technique). These specifically target our thoughts when they gravitate towards sleep, or lack of it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Jackie45,
    Thanks for your question. Anxiety plays a huge part in most people's sleep problems. They usually go hand in hand. I noticed that you are only starting out on Sleepio, so like I was saying to dashwood earlier, it can be daunting when you start out with something like Sleepio, feeling anxious and exhausted and yet not knowing what techniques will be available to help you – or if they will help. Please be reassured that Sleepio covers several techniques that target the anxiety that often underlies sleep problems, such as relaxation strategies for the body but also those to target our negative thinking, which drives our behaviours. I wish you all the best for the course and perhaps we will talk again…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank you I'll give it a go

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1323 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hello again – I realise I only partially answered your question. Hypnic jerks are quite common, however it is possibly the association that you are making with them psychologically that is causing more difficulty for your sleep. When good sleepers have these, they get back to sleep, seeing them as a natural phenomenon and nothing to worry about. If they are worried about or if the person starts getting irritated when they occur ans starts focussing on not sleeping, this is when sleep may get worse. So, the techniques in relaxation and challenging thoughts will likely help with this issue for those who become irritated by the hypnic jerks. Hope that helps…

  • Sleepio Member

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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Expert

    Hi Dottyc,
    I'm sorry but any medical or medication-related questions are best answered by your medical doctor who is trained in this area. We say this to keep you as safe as possible, as I'm sure you'll understand.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks again. That is reassuring

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi there,
    Yes there are downloads available – one of progressive relaxation and one on autogenic training. You can find out how to download these in the library article, “How To: Download the relaxation audio files”.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Jon,
    IN terms of waking up once a night, this is a common experience; most good sleepers wake up at least once a night, usually more, but it's about what happens when we do wake up. The best thing to do in this circumstance is to let the body relax again but if sleep doesn't occur within 15 mins, as per the quarter hour rule, then one would get out of bed, move to a different room and wait til they felt sleepy tired again, before returning to bed. It's unlikely that having a wake up time alone is causing lack of progress, so it's worth looking at what other factors may be at play. Sleep problems also take a while to be resolved as it involves unlearning certain behaviours and learning new ones, so it will usually take a little while for these to have an impact.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Ronald,
    The phenomenon you describe is a common one and not linked to circadian rhythm but rather the psychology of sleep. When we get used to a pattern of poor sleep, we start to form an association between our bed and sleep that is somewhat negative. As time goes on with poor sleep, the association between our bed/bedroom and not sleeping gets stronger and stronger. Subconsciously, we have learned that bed/our bedroom = no sleep. We start to worry about our sleep, too, given the impact poor sleep is having on us. Thus, even if we are tired and feel ready for bed, when we see our bed/go into our bedroom, our brain says, “oh this is where we get no sleep!”, which leads to anxiety and thus…no sleep or poor sleep at best. So, Sleepio contains techniques to conquer this, namely the quarter hour rule and sleep restriction but also targets the anxiety via relaxation and thought challenging methods. Hope this explains this experience…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 44 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Dr. Creaner,
    I'm extremely grateful for your comments, especially for ruling out circadian rhythms as the cause and ruling in associations with the bedroom. I appreciate your emphasizing the quarter hour rule, but what do you mean by sleep restriction?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi Ronald,
    This is another technique that you will come across soon…it's basically trying to squeeze out all the bits of time when you're not asleep to make sure the time spent in bed is used most effectively by sleeping.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    May I ask an exercise related question while you are still online?The preliminary information I have been sent says not to exercise in the evenings.At present(when I feel ok. )I do dance classes 4nights a week which finish at 11 pm These help anxiety levels.Do participants in the Sleepio course need to give up all evening exercise ?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there,
    With everything, it's about balance. We tend to recommend that vigorous exercise is not carried out too close to bedtime as it can get the body into a stimulated state rather than a relaxed one, which is the aim with better sleep. However, if it is lighter exercise and it does relax you, it shouldn't have too much of a negative effect. If you feel it relaxes you, too, this sounds OK. We just ask that people are careful not to engage in something that will cause the body to become too alert before sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1323 comments
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    Expert

    That's all for today – thanks for all the great questions. Talk to you next time….

  • Sleepio Member

    • 44 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Dr. Creanor,
    Thanks again. I'll look out for it (sleep restriction).

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