Sleep is increasingly recognised as the third pillar of good health, along side diet and exercise. Poor sleep quality and sleep deficiency are linked to a number of serious health problems, including depression and cardiovascular disease, as well as impaired alertness and neurocognitive functioning, reduced productivity and increased accident risk.
Our research program aims to investigate the role of the internal biological clock in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, and how disruption of the clock leads to sleep disorders and other physiological consequences (for example, in shift workers). We are developing novel treatment approaches for sleep disorders that are caused by biological clock disruption. These include light and melatonin treatments. We are also investigating the contribution of sleep disturbances and fatigue to mood disorders and impaired cognition in clinical populations.
Sleep loss and impaired alertness adversely affect occupational safety, health and productivity, and also road safety. About 20 percent of serious car crash injuries are associated with driver sleepiness. Our research is examining innovative technologies to monitor alertness in occupational and transportations settings, and is developing and testing intervention strategies aimed at reducing the burden associated with impaired alertness in these contexts.
2011-present President, Australasian Sleep Association
2011-present Director of Undergraduate Programs, School of Psychology and Psychiatry