Live Discussion with Dr Vicky Creanor - 07th August 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 07 August, 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 Aug 2019 at 4:47 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – this issue comes up a lot on our sessions and it's always good to discuss because many people agree with you! Again, sometimes we need to be flexible with Sleepio – after all, the techniques are suggestions that people can choose to use if they wish. The idea behind keeping the bed for sleep alone is to help with the sleep-bed connection, but if reading in bed is something that has always helped a person fall asleep quickly, then perhaps it is a good practise to keep in place.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Well I do not use my bedroom during the day so it always associated with bedtime. However are you saying it needs to dark from the time we go to bed? I do listen to the relax part when I turn the lights out. Is this not a good idea either?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello and thanks for getting in touch. It's an issue we discuss quite often here on Sleepio in terms of trackers' accuracy. The 90% sleep efficiency goal is based on good sleepers' sleep; how long they spend in bed compared to how much sleep the get. Many of the studies will have used both measures – objective methods in a sleep lab but also subjective reports of how they feel they slept. Trackers are a fairly new type of home-based device so historically, outwith sleep labs, people wouldn't have had access to these as readily. In terms of how common it is for the night time wakenings to be shown on a tracker but not recalled, I don't have data to hand however I do hear a lot about this when discussing sleep with clients and via these live sessions. Some trackers are very sensitive and so will pick up periods of restlessness and record it as wakefulness, while you may still have been asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    This is up to you with regards to listening to the relaxation in bed or outwith. Going by the book, many would advise to do this strictly outwith the bedroom, however some do listen to it in bed and still manage to fall asleep within 15 mins. Ideally the bedroom should be dark when we retire, to get the body used to feeling sleepy, but if one is reading in bed before sleeping this may need to be delayed. Again, these are suggestions to follow based on the evidence of what we know to be effective, but we need to be flexible at times.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there – good question as I'm sure many will be wondering this at some point. In order to help us achieve a longer chunk of sleep per night, it is suggested that we work out our current amount of sleep per night (on average) and then use this as our sleep window. Onto this, we anchor a set rise and bed time as you mentioned. It is advised that we stick to these rise times despite how much sleep we have gained over the course of the night. Even if we miss out on 2 hours sleep that night, we wait until the next night to sleep rather than adding extra time onto the morning. This allows the body to get into a good pattern in terms of waking at similar times, but also helps the required sleep pressure build up during that day with the aim of sleeping better the next night. If our wake times move around too much, it confuses the body and finding a regular sleep pattern will take much longer. Hope that makes sense?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for your question. It can be tricky to stick to the routine when travelling due to the fact that sleeping in different beds often has a negative effect on our sleep. There is an option to pause the programme while travelling – I wonder if you've considered doing this? For anyone needing to do so, please email hello@sleepio.com and advise them of this request and someone will get back to you.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there – thanks for your post. Hopefully you're on live tonight as I'm keen to know – is this the final wakening of the night or do you manage to get back to sleep again after this wakening? And if you do sleep after this, how long does the wakening last?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I too look forward to reading in bed and have not done so since starting session 3 and it has taken me 4 hours to get to sleep. Reading definitely induces sleep in me so I will be reinstating it tonight. Of course I feel so tired I probably will only read one page as my eyes are falling over while I type this. How I will stay awake till 11pm is beyond me

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello – thanks for getting in touch. This is a very interesting topic and I'll be honest – not one I know too much about as it deals more with the physiological side of things. What I would say is that, if you personally find drinking more helps then stick with this as it seems to work for you. I suppose the other question to ask is how long these wakenings last for (and how many there are across the night) – if only brief and just a few, then it's also important not to worry too much about this as this is actually a normal pattern and common in good sleepers.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for your post. Many people over the years have been in touch to say they have started to worry about the accuracy of the sleep diary data, so it's a common occurrence. What we tend to say, though, is that an estimate is perfectly OK. Being fully accurate is not essential – a rough guess will be fine. It's more about how the patterns change over time and when based on a person's estimate this is likely to be steady enough for what we need from the diary.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there. I'm sorry to hear you've been finding this part tricky. You're not alone. Many people have reported that their anxiety increases when they get out of bed at the start of the night. I wonder if you've tried setting up a cosy, relaxing space for when you need to get up? Sometimes the anxiety comes from not knowing where to go, so this can help with the predictability of it. You're doing the right thing using the relaxation. Perhaps think about using the thought blocking and a breathing exercise too and having a good wind down routine ahead of going to bed that is free of screens.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Dear Dr Vicki Creanor,
    It perfectly makes sense, thank you.

    My last two days experience:
    Reading Prof Espie book, I noticed there are many types of sleeping disorder; My problem is mainly falling to sleep. Being retired means much less physically activity; which means I do not get tired; Since two days ago I started to push myself physically and had sort of good result I hope this improvement stays with me. Since I was sort of hyper active, this could be one of the reasons for my sleep issue.

    thank you again

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI there. We've talked a little about this tonight already, however I wonder if this situation is a little different. It sounds as if the problem of lying awake and not falling asleep for hours is still present despite reading in bed. In this situation, when reading doesn't seem to help one drop off to sleep, it is probably best advised to strip everything back from the bedroom activity-wise and only use the bed for sleeping (with the exception of sexual activity). You're right, it will affect the sleep-bed connection but can be used in the wind down routine, as long as the material being read isn't overly stimulating – as this will likely keep us awake thinking about it. Paperback books are better than blue-lit screens as there is no risk of reduction of melatonin with paper, however, again, do have a think about the stimulation aspect of the content of books before bed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I'm glad to hear there has been some improvement, Physical activity is often a great way to get a better night's sleep, as long as it's not done right before bedtime. It also has huge benefits for keeping our mood bright, so all in all, a good plan going forward!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    HI Ali – thank you for getting in touch. I'm sorry it's taken so long for you to be diagnosed with sleep apnoea. Glad you know what's going on now. I wonder if you are getting treatment for this as often it's important to have this post-diagnosis?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    Graduate

    Hi,
    I couldn't find Ali08's question but I'm also concerned that I might have sleep apnoea but I'm anxious to go to the GP about it for fear of losing my driving licence and also because I cannot imagine being able to tolerate the sleeping mask treatment if I am diagnosed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello – thanks for getting in touch with us, Eddie. Sorry to hear things are really difficult just now. In terms of the physical side of poor sleep, it's often a really tricky set of side effects. Something that can help, though, with fatigue and mood is getting outside and getting fresh air, daylight and exercise. A daily walk, even although feeling exhausted can help to liven up the body while the fresh air and daylight gives us more energy too. Often we get so tired that we become less active, which in turn makes us feel even less motivated to be active. We can start to reverse this cycle with gentle exercise each day.

    With regards to your second point, often psychological problems will have an effect on our sense of self and our self-esteem. It is beyond the scope of Sleepio to help people with this, however seeking help from a local therapist may be helpful to support them to improve their self-esteem. Sometimes engaging – even in a small way – in activities that one used to enjoy can help provide a feeling of getting back to one's 'old' self again. Scheduling in an activity that provides a sense of mastery or achievement each day – again even in a small way – can help with this, too. I hope this helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I can understand this. It can be a daunting thing going to the GP for fear of a diagnosis, however it may also provide some support in other options other than the CPAP mask. There is also usually support provided in finding a mask that is comfortable as one size won't fit all.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for this session folks – thanks for another lively discussion and for all your posts. Speak to you again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I found all the comments tonight very interesting and helpful. Thank you Dr Creanor and all the other contributors.

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