Ask the Expert: Getting your best night’s sleep, with Dr. Colleen Carney

Has your sleep been different these past few months? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to change our morning routines and daily schedules, which in turn has shifted our sleep patterns. To help ensure we’re getting adequate rest each night, we invited Dr. Colleen Carney to answer user questions during our Ask the Expert webchat. Dr. Carney is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University and the Director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory. She is one of leading experts in the treatment of insomnia, particularly in the context of co-occurring illness. She has over 100 publications on the topic of insomnia, and is a passionate advocate for improving access to effective treatment. Her books include Treatment Plans and Interventions for  Insomnia: A Case Formulation Approach, Goodnight Mind, and Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep: Solutions to Insomnia for Those with Depression, Anxiety or Chronic Pain.

Here are the highlights from our webchat with Dr. Colleen Carney. Please keep in mind all user participation is anonymous.

Optimizing your sleeping position

QUESTION — “What is the best sleep position?”

Dr. Colleen Carney — “There isn’t really a ‘best’ position, as your body will do whatever it wants during the night. For those with sleep apnea, we may use devices to keep them off their back as you are more prone to stopping breathing in this position.”

Hitting the snooze button

QUESTION — “Is snoozing the alarm a good idea?”

Dr. Colleen Carney — “Not really. There are large benefits to a regular rise time and this can create variability.  If you don’t have insomnia, it’s probably not a big deal.”

Sleep and menopause

QUESTION — “How does menopause affect sleep and mental health?”

Dr. Colleen Carney — “Menopause increases sleep stage changes, which can negatively impact sleep quality. It can be associated with hot flashes, which can create awakenings at night and it increases the risk for apnea.  Additionally, there can be mood disturbances, which can in turn negatively impact sleep. We must also remember that menopause is not a heralded event with discrete onset/offset and it is occurring while aging, thus some of the sleep disturbance we see in menopause is actually age-related.”

Don’t miss our next Ask the Expert session!

If you weren’t able to catch our webchat with Dr. Colleen Carney, you can always sign in to your LifeSpeak account to read the transcript. And be sure to log on August 19, 2020 at 12PM EST to chat with Registered Psychotherapist and Relationship Expert, Allison Villa, who will be answering your questions about overcoming back-to-school anxiety. If you don’t have a LifeSpeak account, please have your HR team reach out to us about your company subscribing.

What is Ask the Expert?

Our Ask the Expert sessions allow our users to have regular access to our experts in real-time, which allows them to have their pressing questions answered. This opportunity provides our users with practical and easily implemented tips to help them make real changes in their lives. To learn more, don’t hesitate to book a walk-through.