Live Discussion with Dr Vicky Creanor - 09th October 2019

Dr Creanor will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 9th 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 2019 at 9:17 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello and welcome to the live Sleepio discussion session. I'm Dr Vicki Creanor and I'm a clinical Psychologist with a special interest in sleep. I'll be here for the next 90 mins to answer any questions about sleep or the Sleepio course. I'll start answering the posts already here but feel free to post a question if you're joining us live….let's get started…

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi and thanks for getting in touch. My take on this is that cleaning and tidying your bedroom is necessary and perfectly OK to do. As is doing your make up routine. However longer activities that could be done elsewhere such as reading are probably best done in another room. As for work, I would definitely keep this away from the bedroom as much as possible; work often comes with stress and/or a lot of thinking so these are things you want to keep away from the bedroom so your mind doesn't wander towards work-related thoughts or stressful feelings at bedtime. Hope that helps.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – thanks for raising this, it's a question that comes up a lot actually. Of course, people will have a social life and this will often mean bedtime is later. Sleepio simply provides guidelines, and sometimes these are hard to follow when also wanting to continue social activities. Having a regular bedtime and rise time is preferable to allow the body to get into a pattern that is predictable and will help sleep come more naturally over time, so irregular bedtimes may simply mean that sleep will take a little longer to get back into a routine than if the guidelines were strictly followed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – thanks for raising this, it's a question that comes up a lot actually. Of course, people will have a social life and this will often mean bedtime is later. Sleepio simply provides guidelines, and sometimes these are hard to follow when also wanting to continue social activities. Having a regular bedtime and rise time is preferable to allow the body to get into a pattern that is predictable and will help sleep come more naturally over time, so irregular bedtimes may simply mean that sleep will take a little longer to get back into a routine than if the guidelines were strictly followed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello there. Many people ask about this too. It is personal preference as to whether sleep medication is continued during the Sleepio course or not – some do it alongside using meds and others stop meds before starting the programme. What is most important is consulting a medical doctor to discuss any changes you wish to make to your medication before the change is made to ensure it is done safely.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Of course – please email hello@sleepio.com with this query and they can point you in the right direction to extend the programme.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there, thank you for your question. Without knowing more of the medical details here, it's impossible to say what is causing the wakening, however it is possible that this is a natural time to enter lighter sleep given the times you mentioned (ie. it would be nearing the end of a sleep cycle). Most of us will stir around these times and this is normal. Some of us will wake (also normal) – what is really good is that you're able to get back to sleep quickly and so I wouldn't worry too much about this wakening. Although many people say they sleep through the night, they will tend to stir to some degree. Hope this offers some reassurance.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I hope my response above helped you as well.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Thanks for getting in touch. Feelings of drowsiness upon wakening are very natural when people are juts starting to work on their sleep. Cutting down the time in bed through sleep restriction will add to this to start off with. As for struggling to stay awake in the evening, this is difficult however it's a sign that the sleep pressure is building up to bedtime, which is what you want. You want to be tired going to bed. Some things that might help are doing some household chores, talking to someone, keeping on your feet and getting fresh air. As for the early wakening, this is common in people with anxiety, so targeting the anxiety itself by getting support for this is often key. Sleep restriction will help to extend sleep into one big chunk if sleep is fractured. It can be a difficult technique to implement but it often very effective.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi and thanks for your post. Sleep restriction is exhausting – many people who have been through it will testify to this! However, it will help problems such as broken, fragmented sleep and early wakening when put into practice as recommended. Early wakening can, however, also be caused by anxiety, stress and depression/low mood, so if these problems are underlying, it's also helpful to seek support for these difficulties in order to then help with this sleep problem.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there. There are many different pieces of advice out these, however I tend to stick to the idea that you should schedule your sleep window to suit when you wish to get up in the morning and work back from there. It is likely this comes from the fact that sleep cycles will last for 90 mins – light sleep, into deeper sleep and REM sleep then back into lighter sleep; this repeats every 90 mins. However sleep is homeostatic – it finds a way to catch up on itself and balance out when needed, so I do not believe there would be a need to work in with 90 min time slots – sleep is pretty good at doing this itself from whatever time we fall asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    I'm so sorry to hear you're having such a tough time of it just now. It sounds really difficult. It does, however, sound as if you are motivated to get back on track as quickly as possible and have had good success in the past in doing so. So this is definitely in your favour.

    Although Sleepio offers advice only and it is up to people what advice they follow, what we would recommend to help sleep get back on track would be the sleep restriction but also avoidance of sleeping anywhere else but bed. We tend to start associating bed with poor sleep and anxiety when we have sleep problems, but all that happens when we sleep elsewhere instead of bed is that this phobia grows worse. So bed seems even more unsettling. The best way to improve the bed-sleep connection is to start using the bed again but perhaps thinking about a really good bedtime routine, about an hour before bed, that is consistent and very calming. Then making bed as appealing and calming as possible. Perhaps using relaxation just before bed would also help and using the breathing/relaxation exercises as you climb into bed. Following the QHR will be essential here, so making the couch a comfy place will be helpful, but not making it look like bed,

    It will take time but this is a long-term approach and one that is often very effective. Knowing you have done it before is important to hold onto and perhaps write out and keep near the bed for those moments of doubt.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi there I would categorise this as sleep as it is not full wakefulness.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hello, thanks for your question. Sorry to hear that you have a lot going on just now. I imagine this is contributing significantly to the broken sleep. Having a good bedtime routine, scheduling in time during the day to note down your worries and doing some relaxation during the day and before bed may help with this stress. In terms of listening to podcasts, if you find that you fall asleep within a couple minutes this seems to be a helpful activity for you. It doesn't sound as if it wakes you up a couple hours later if they only last 30 mins. And in terms of implementing the quarter hour rule, it doesn't sound as if this applies if you are only awake for a few minutes – this is only suggested if you are lying awake for more than 15 mins at a time. Hope that helps?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you for answering my earlier post, Dr Creanor. Could I ask a follow-up question, which is whether you think it is helpful to carry on working when going through Sleepio? I ask as I am signed off at the moment but am due to return next week unless I ask the doctor to sign me off again. I really want to be back at work because I think it will help restore some normality, and will also require me to get up on time whether I have slept well or not. The last time I used Sleepio, I did not take any time off work and I think this helped overall, although it was hard. I know you can't comment on individual circumstances but I guess I am asking for a bit of reassurance that people do generally manage to work OK even though they are following sleep restriction and other Sleepio guidelines. Do you have a view (or is there a general Sleepio consensus) on whether it is best to stay working or take some time off to devote to the course? Thank you for answering my questions. Sorry they are a bit long.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    Hi – long questions are helpful! More info given. It's not the answer you'll probably want to hear but it really is down to personal preferences. If you feel that it helped being at work last time and having that structure, then perhaps this is helpful evidence. But for reassurance, people can often be at work during Sleepio, others may feel that it would be too dangerous for them to do this work while in a job that requires full attention at all times (ie when risk is high).

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks Dr Creanor. That makes complete sense.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Expert

    That's all for tonight's live session – thanks for all these great questions. Speak to you all again soon.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks Dr Creanor

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    If I get up earlier than my time to get up and fall back to sleep pass my time to get out of bed. is this a bad thing. I feel that I must need that extra sleep or I would be getting up with my alarm.

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