Sleep

Overview

Sleep is the single most important neurobehavioural experience in our lives. The average person spends more than a third of their life asleep. 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 research, treatment, and education around sleep issues. 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:

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.

Project partners

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).

Our funder

Publications

  • 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

  • Ogeil, R.P., Barger, L.K., Lockley, S.W., O’Brien, C.S., Sullivan, J.P., Qadri, S., Lubman, D.I., Czeisler, C.A., & Rajaratnam, S.M.W. (2018). Cross-sectional analysis of sleep-promoting and wake-promoting drug use on health, fatigue-related error, and near-crashes in police officers. BMJ Open, 8:e022041. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022041

  • 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

Adolescent and drug and alcohol use

We 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, and Dr Alison Cheetham.

Project partners

Dr Tina Lam (MARC), Professor Steve Allsop, Professor Simon Lenton and Professor Tanya Chikritzhs (NDRI, Curtin University); Dr Jane Fischer (Flinders University), Professor Richard Midford (CDU and Menzies School of Health Research), Alexandra Aiken, Associate Professor Lucy Burns, and Professor Richard Mattick (NDARC, University of New South Wales); Professor Nicholas B Allen and Dr Michelle Byrne (University of Oregon); Dr Julian Simmons, Dr Orli Schwartz and Associate Professor Sarah Whittle (University of Melbourne).

Our funders

Publications

  • Lam, T., Ogeil, R.P., Allsop, S., Chikritzhs, T., Fischer, J., Midford, R., Gilmore, W., Lenton, S., Liang, W., Lloyd, B., Aiken, A., Mattick, R., Burns, L., Lubman, D.I. (2018). Insomnia and Regulation of Sleep-Wake Cycle With Drugs Among Adolescent Risky Drinkers. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 15;14(9):1529-1537. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.7330; PMID: 30176972; PMCID: PMC6134245

  • Ogeil, R.P., Cheetham, A., Mooney, A., Allen, N.B., Schwatz, O., Byrne, M.L., Simmons, J.G., Whittle, S., & Lubman, D.I. (2019). Early adolescent drinking and cannabis use predicts later sleep-quality problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(3):266-273. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000453

Ambulance attendances

Poor sleep is linked to both poor physical and mental health and can play a role in contributing to acute crisis events. Turning Point researchers have demonstrated that sleep problems are an important factor in ambulance presentations for mental health issues including suicide ideation and suicide attempts. We are interested in investigating further how sleep is involved in acute crises.

Turning Point team

Dr Rowan Ogeil, Dr Debbie Scott, and Professor Dan Lubman.

Project partners

Prof Karen Smith (Ambulance Victoria and Monash University), Dr Katrina Witt (Orygen)

Our funders

Publications

  • 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.

Medical settings

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. We know how important sleep is when one is recovering, though many things interrupt sleep in these settings. By understanding these, we hope to promote faster recovery for those in hospital and reduce future re-admissions. 

Turning Point team

Dr Rowan Ogeil, and Professor Dan Lubman.

Project partners

Dr Samantha Chakraborty (Monash University), Associate Professor Alan Young and Associate Professor Denise O’Driscoll (Eastern Health and Monash University).

Our funders

Publications

  • Ogeil, R.P., Chakraborty, S.P., Young, A.C., & Lubman, D.I. (2020). Clinician and patient barriers to the recognition of insomnia in family practice: a narrative summary of reported literature analysed using the theoretical domains framework. BMC Family Practice, 21, 1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-019-1070-0

  • Foo, C.T., O’Driscoll, D., Ogeil, R., Lubman, D., & Young, A. (2018), Barriers to good sleep in non‐ICU hospitalised patients. Journal of Sleep Research, 27: e50_12765. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.50_12765

Drug Use, detox and withdrawal

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. 

Turning Point team

Dr Rowan Ogeil, and Professor Dan Lubman.

Project partners

Associate Professor James G. Phillips (Auckland University of Technology)

Our funders

Publications

  • Hodges, C.J., Ogeil, R.P., Lubman, D.I. (2018). The effects of acute alcohol withdrawal on sleep. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 33:e2657. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.2657

  • Ogeil, R.P., & Phillips, J.G. (2015). Commonly used stimulants: Sleep problems, dependence and psychological distress. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 153,-145-151. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.05.036

More information

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.

Next Steps

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, given by Dr Rowan Ogeil, 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.