Sleep is the single most important neurobehavioural experience in our lives. The average person spends more than a third of their life asleep and while scientists do not fully understand all of the reasons why we sleep, many important things happen during sleep. Sleep is an active restorative state, and the body’s chance to repair and replace all of the molecules used up during the day. In addition, sleep plays vital roles in immune function, and in helping to consolidate memories and tasks that have been learned throughout the day.
Research in this program
Turning Point is actively involved in sleep research, and education. This is important given that many commonly used drugs such as alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, and prescription medications affect sleep. Some current research projects, which have a focus on sleep, include:
How different drugs affect sleep
We seek to understand how sleep changes during alcohol and drug use, detox and withdrawal. Poor sleep is a major concern in many of our clients, and by better understanding which components of sleep are disturbed; we hope to aid their recovery. Sleep measures are routinely included as part of our study protocols.
We also work with groups both nationally and internationally to examine how alcohol and drug use in adolescence affects sleep. We found that risky drinkers commonly reported using alcohol to help them sleep, but consequently their sleep issues were exacerbated. We have also found that earlier use of alcohol and cannabis by adolescents as young as 12 was associated with later sleep problems when they were 18 years of age.
Turning Point team
Dr Rowan Ogeil, Professor Dan Lubman, Dr Alison Cheetham, Dr Shalini Arunogiri, Dr Jasmin Grigg.
Associate Professor James G. Phillips (Auckland University of Technology); Dr James Gooden and Dr Vanessa Petersen (Eastern Health); Dr Tina Lam (MARC).
- Ogeil, R.P., Arunogiri, S., Petersen, V., Gooden, J.R. & Lubman, D.I. (2021). Sleep disturbance in clients attending a specialist addiction clinic. The American Journal on Addictions, 30(6), 539-542. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajad.13212.
- Ogeil, R.P., Arunogiri, S., & Grigg, J. (2021). Methamphetamine addiction: do biological rhythms matter, and could they play a role in treatment? Sleep, 44 (7). http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsab052
- Ogeil, R.P., Phillips, J.G., Savic, M., & Lubman, D.I. (2019). Sleep- and Wake-Promoting Drugs: Where Are They Being Sourced, and What Is Their Impact? Substance Use & Misuse, 54:12, 1916-1928. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2019.1609040
Medical settings and ambulance attendances
We work closely with clinicians at Box Hill Hospital and collaborators at Monash University understanding barriers to a good night’s sleep in GP and hospital settings, and how different drugs affect sleep. We have also investigated the role of sleep in acute emergencies attended by ambulance.
Turning Point team
Dr Rowan Ogeil, A/Prof Debbie Scott, and Professor Dan Lubman.
Associate Professor Alan Young and Associate Professor Denise O’Driscoll (Eastern Health and Monash University), Professor Karen Smith (Ambulance Victoria), Dr Samantha Chakraborty (Monash University).
- Foo, C.T., O’Driscoll, D.M., Ogeil, R.P., Lubman, D., & Young, A.C. (2022), Barriers to sleep in acute hospital settings. Sleep and Breathing, 26(2), 855-863.: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-021-02415-y
- Ogeil, R.P., Prasad, S., O’Driscoll, D.M., Li, W.Y.H., Lubman, D.I., & Young, A.C. (2020). Psychoactive drug and medication use among patients referred to a tertiary sleep laboratory population. Psychiatry Research, 294, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113545
- Ogeil, R.P., Witt, K., Scott, D., Smith, K., & Lubman, D.I. (2020). Self-reported sleep disturbance in ambulance attendances for suicidal ideation and attempted suicide between 2012 and 2017. Journal of Affective Disorders, 265, 364-371. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.158.
Shift work and alcohol and drug use
We live in a world that operates 24/7. More than 20 percent of our workforce are shift workers, who often struggle with not only sleep but also other healthy behaviours such as diet and exercise. We are actively engaged in understanding how shift workers cope with their schedules, including their use of drugs and how this affects their health and productivity at work. We have worked with shift workers here in Australia and in the United States with our partners in Boston.
Turning Point team
Dr Rowan Ogeil, Dr Michael Savic, and Professor Dan Lubman.
Professor Shantha Rajaratnam and Professor Steven Lockley (Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston MA, USA and Harvard Medical School, and Monash University); Prof Laura Barger and Professor Charles Czeisler (Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston MA, USA and Harvard Medical School); and Associate Professor James G. Phillips (Auckland University of Technology).
- Ogeil, R.P., Savic, M., Ferguson, N., & Lubman, D.I. (2021). Shift-Work-Play: Understanding the positive and negative experiences of male and female shift workers to inform opportunities for intervention to improve health and wellbeing. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 38 (2), 23-33. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/informit.963343265180989
- Ogeil, R.P., Nguyen, M-T., Savic, M., & Lubman, D.I. (2021). Assembling a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ night's sleep: A multifactorial proposition Lifestyle Medicine, e48. https://doi.org/10.1002/lim2.48.
- Savic, M., Ogeil, R. P., Sechtig, M. J., Lee-Tobin, P., Ferguson, N., & Lubman, D. I. (2019). How Do Nurses Cope with Shift Work? A Qualitative Analysis of Open-Ended Responses from a Survey of Nurses. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(20), 3821. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203821
Sleep is important. However, many of us don’t give it a second thought, or we prioritise other things over sleep. Turning Point researchers have developed an infographic that describes some of the ways in which you can maximise the amount of good quality sleep you get. You can tailor the infographic to your own needs by writing or drawing things that may be affecting your sleep, and by nominating ways to improve your sleep.
We are passionate about understanding and learning more about sleep, particularly in how different drugs affect sleep, and how people use alcohol and other drugs to aid their sleep, or to help them remain alert. You can get more information about some of these from the following ‘Sleep Talk’ podcast, and the following blog on Counselling Online: Alcohol and sleep: friend or foe? on the impact of alcohol and sleep. We run webinars and workshops on understanding sleep throughout the year, so keep an eye out on our upcoming events.