Sleep Health Foundation - an Essential Participant


The Sleep Health Foundation is one of 18 Essential Participants in the Alertness CRC.  

The CRC is promoting the prevention and control of sleep loss and sleep disorders and developing new tools and products to improve alertness, productivity and safety.

More information here.

Doing regular physical activities is a great way to exercise.

Distinguished Activity Award.

The Sleep Health Foundation and the Australasian Sleep Association have been selected for the 2nd year in a row by the World Association of Sleep Medicine to receive a Distinguished Activity Award in recognition of the "outstanding activities to raise awareness of sleep issues in Australia and New Zealand" conducted for World Sleep Day 2015. #WSD2015

A big thank you to the organising committee Jon Quach,
Sue Cranage, Ann Drury, Karen O'Keeffe and Lauren Nisbet led by Sarah Biggs!

NSW HEALTH Minister Jillian Skinner opens Clinic.

The six-bed Centre for Sleep Disorders & Respiratory Failure Annexe is an expansion of the former two-bed sleep disorders laboratory established in 1994.

It was the first centre to publish orthodontic treatments for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which changed clinical practice around the world.

More information

Information organised by topic

We have grouped articles together in a range of Topics - please select from the group on the left hand side to diplay a list of articles.

The Articles may be read on line, or downloaded in PDF form and printed or simply saved for later.

Flinders Uni Team announced as Grant Winners

The SHF is pleased to announce that the successful applicant for the grant to complete a literature review for VicHealth is the research team from Flinders University consisting of Associate Professor Michael Gradisar, Dr Kate Bartel and Ms Cele Richardson. The review is entitled Impact of sleep-wake patterns on the mental wellbeing of our community, in particular young people.

Thank you to the researchers who submitted an Expression of Interest for the above grant. We were pleased to receive five EOIs and the selection committee was impressed with all applications. The selection process was undertaken by a small panel of SHF Board or Committee members and care was taken to avoid individuals rating EOIs where there may have been a real or perceived conflict of interest.

This project will build new knowledge about Victorians/Australians’ sleep-wake patterns and their impacts on mental wellbeing, with a specific focus on young people. The consultant researcher(s) will provide:

• Evidence on population level sleep patterns and their impacts on mental wellbeing across age groups and stages (with a focus on 12-25 year olds)
• A summary of possible evidence-based behavioural insights and solutions to these issues.

The final report will be due on 22/12/17. We wish them well with their research and look forward to seeing the results.

VicHealth provided funds to the Sleep Health Foundation to manage the successful completion of a ‘rapid review’.

SAW Generic

Sleep Awareness Week 2018

WHEN: 1 October - 7 October 2018

Media contact:
Lucy Williams on 0403 753 028


Sleep App Treatment for Insomnia

Do you have trouble falling asleep or maintaining sleep? Do you want more refreshing sleep?

We invite you to join a research study to test a new smartphone application that aims to help people with their sleep. This study will involve completing a short questionnaire asking about your sleep to determine eligibility. Depending on your answers, you may be invited to attend the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research for a medical screening and consent to the study. If eligible, you will receive the smartphone application and a wearable device (FitBit) to monitor your sleep over a 3 week study.  A final visit to see a sleep clinician and research staff is required to complete the study.

This research is being run by the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity. This is an initiative funded by the Australian Federal Government and industry partners with the aim of improving sleep health as well as improving workplace safety and productivity of all Australians. For more information, please visit

The Sydney Local Health District Research Ethics Committee approval number is X17-0425.


You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • Are aged 18 years or older
  • Own a smartphone
  • Are diagnosed with Insomnia disorder

If you are interested in participating in this study, please go to the following website:

Sleep and mental wellbeing


Sleep and mental well-being: exploring the links

A new research report from health promotion foundation VicHealth and the Sleep Health Foundation has found Australian teenagers are missing out on crucial sleep, with screen time, caffeine and stress keeping them awake.The research found that the average teenager only got between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep a night, well under the recommended 8-10 hours, and it was seriously impacting their mental wellbeing, with increased rates of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem among sleep-deprived teens.

But the study also found a simple way for teens to reclaim some much needed shut-eye. Teens who put down their smart-phones an hour before bed gained an extra 21 minutes sleep a night and an hour and 45 minutes over the school week.

The Sleep and Mental Wellbeing study also found:

  • Two-thirds of teenagers (66%) reported at least one symptom of a sleep disorder, such as insomnia
  • Sleep problems during childhood and adolescence are predictive of depression later in life
  • Up to 66% of young Australians experience symptoms of insomnia
  • Teenagers slept up to 90 minutes more on weekends due to being able to wake up later.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said not getting enough sleep was a serious health issue for many Australian teenagers and young people.

“Not getting enough sleep can really mess with all of us but young people in particular are at risk of a range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and mood issues,” Ms Rechter said.

“Our report also found that sleep problems during childhood and as a teenager can lead to depression later in life. Sadly poor sleep is also associated with suicidal thoughts in teenagers so it’s really critical we support young people to get the sleep they need.

“We know that the increasing time teens spend on screen-based devices is making it really tough for many to get to sleep. There’s no denying that devices are a part of our life but our research found a simple step like putting away your phone an hour before bed can lead to more sleep and a better quality sleep.”

Sleep Health Foundation Chair Professor Dorothy Bruck said there were simple steps teenagers and their families could take to enjoy better sleep.

“The stereotype of a lazy teenager who sleeps all day is actually an anomaly – teens need more sleep than older people yet we know most of them aren’t getting enough,” Professor Bruck said.

“Using technology before bed, caffeine and stress all contribute to later bed times and sleep problems in teenagers and young people.

“There are things teens and their parents can do to get more sleep. During the day try to be physically active and socialise with friends and family. At night set a regular bedtime and read a book or magazine instead of scrolling through social media right before bed.”

Top tips for sleep

  • Set a regular bedtime and wake up time
  • Try to relax before bed – mindfulness activities like meditation or gentle yoga may help
  • Avoid stimulants in the evening like coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks
  • Set up a comfortable sleep environment
  • Try to switch off screens an hour before bed – instead read a book or listen to music
  • Get active during the day
  • Try to spend time together as a family in the evening

The Sleep and Mental Wellbeing report is available at

More information about sleep health is available at

Summary of report

Full report - Sleep and mental well-being:exploring the links


Sickness absenteeism is associated with sleep problems independent of sleep disorders

A quarter of working Australians may have one sick day a month as a consequence of poor

sleep, a new survey reveals.

Sleep specialists are urging bosses to help their employees get their 40 winks on the back of a study that confirms sleep problems and sick days go hand in hand, even among people who don’t suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia.

The study, commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation and published recently in the journal Sleep Health, investigates the relationship between sleep and days off work for 551 working adults in Australia. “Surprisingly, we discovered that you don’t need to be an insomniac or a severe snorer to have sleep problems that stop you going to work,” explains Professor Robert Adams, senior author of the study and Sleep Health Foundation spokesperson.

“One in four Australian workers may be missing at least one day a week of work as a consequence of sleep disturbance or disruption, even when we take into account the potential for clinical sleep disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Put simply, we found that if people think their sleep quality or quantity is reduced, they are more likely to have a day off work.”

Sick days are estimated to cost Australia $32.5 billion annually in lost productivity and associated costs.[1] With this in mind, Professor Adams and colleagues at CQ University Australia, University of Adelaide and Flinders University set out to find out what role sleep - one of the three pillars of good health along with diet and exercise - plays in the country’s sick day statistics.

“There is ample evidence showing poor sleep is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and inflammation so it’s plausible that poor sleep may also contribute to higher rates work absenteeism,” Professor Adams explains. “We wanted to see if this was the case in Australian workers.”

Those surveyed were asked to detail frequency of sick days, the quantity and quality of their sleep, and daytime sleepiness symptoms they might experience. Diagnosed sleep disorders were also recorded, along with indicators of possible sleep disorders. Of the nationally-representative sample, 27 per cent reported missing one or more day of work in the past month due to a sleep problem. Those taking sickies tended to be younger, tertiary educated, or under financial stress. Men and women were equally affected. Diagnosed depression was the most common condition reported by those taking sick days. 

The study showed a very strong relationship between insomnia and OSA and sick days. However, even when excluding people with sleep disorders, results showed simply feeling that you weren’t getting enough sleep may be enough to keep workers at home.

Sleep Health Foundation Chair and Sleep Psychologist Professor Dorothy Bruck says the results suggest sleep needs to move to the forefront of discussions in both the workplace and the household. “It’s clear that poor sleep is keeping workers at home,” Professor Bruck says. “But here’s the thing. You can learn to sleep well if you’ve got the right tools and the support. Bosses need to start having that conversation with their staff if they’re serious about boosting productivity and wellbeing.”

The issue of poor sleep also needs to be tackled at a broader level, she says. “As a society, we don’t value our nightly slumber as much as we should. Prioritising sleep will lift wellbeing at work and at home. If the importance of sleep is reflected in government policy then the whole country is winning.”

The researchers warn that employers expecting extra work in the evening may actually be negatively impacting workforce productivity and their bottom line. Employees should also take care to avoid late night computer, tablet and smartphone use, with a growing body of research confirming the blue-light emanating from these devices disrupts the body clock. 

[1] Direct Health Solutions. 2015 Absence Management and Wellbeing Report. 2015

The report was also published in July 2017 in the Sleep Health Journal.
Sickness absenteeism is associated with sleep problems independent of sleep disorders: results of the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation national survey.

One in Three Aussies ‘Socially Jet Lagged’: Study

A third of Australians suffer from jet lag, and not the type that can be blamed on a long-haul flight.

Social jetlag – when a person’s natural body clock and daily routine don’t align – is robbing many adult Australians of refreshing quality sleep a night, new research from the Sleep Health Foundation survey has found.

A study published today in the prestigious international journal Sleep Medicine has found that in 31 per cent of those surveyed, the time they sleep is more than an hour out of sync with their body clock on weekends compared with work nights.

“That’s a large chunk of our population whose body clocks are out of alignment, a problem known to negatively impact health and wellbeing,” says Professor Robert Adams, the study’s lead researcher and sleep specialist with the University of Adelaide and the Sleep Health Foundation. "These findings serve to further illustrate the widespread problem of insufficient sleep in our country and indicate an urgent need for a national inquiry to relieve our sleep loss epidemic. We need to realise that it’s not just about how much sleep we get – it’s when we get it.”

3 August 2018

Private Health Insurance Reform Amendments

The Sleep Health Foundation recently became aware that the Department of Health is seeking public feedback on their planned reforms of private health insurance, due to come into effect from 1 April 2019. The reforms include mandating 4 tiers of hospital products – Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic. We were not invited to have any input into the process and have only just become aware of the outcomes. Along with the ASA we are concerned that with these reforms, cover for sleep studies will be limited to Gold level cover policies.

The Foundation Board has submitted a formal response to this consultation (see below). However, we advise members and other interested parties to make their own individual responses. The documentation is available at: .


Dear sir/madam

Private Health Insurance Reform Amendments

I am writing to you on behalf of the Sleep Health Foundation (‘The Foundation’), of which I am Chair, to express our serious concerns with the proposal to restrict access to private insurance rebates for sleep studies to the proposed Gold tier of health insurance.

The Foundation (, as the major national advocate for sleep health, is very disturbed about restricting access to investigation of sleep disorders, which are common and associated with serious impacts on health, safety, productivity, well-being and mood.

Sleep disorders are one of the major health concerns in Australia. Until recently, their health and economic effects have been seriously underestimated and it is particularly disturbing that just as these impacts are becoming widely appreciated there is this move to restrict access to an important aspect of their diagnosis.

It is estimated that 22.4% of the Australian population have a sleep disorder, including 8.3% having obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition where study of overnight sleep is an essential component of diagnosis. OSA is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, depression, motor vehicle accidents and increased mortality1. The amount spent on investigating and treating this problem, and other sleep disorders, is little relative to the huge costs of leaving them untreated in terms of the cost of managing medical co-morbidities (heart d, stroke, diabetes, depression, workplace and vehicle accidents), non-medical accident costs, costs of informal care, productivity losses and loss of well-being. In a 2010 analysis of the economic cost of sleep disorders undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics on commission from the Foundation, it was estimated (using conservative prevalence estimates) that the total cost of OSA (financial and non-financial) to the community was $21.2 billion per annum yet only $250 million per annum was spent identifying and treating it.1 This huge imbalance between expenditure on the condition and the costs of it if left untreated emphasises the economic danger of investing even less in pursuing this enormously costly condition.

The gold standard diagnostic test for sleep disorders is an overnight sleep study, performed within a hospital sleep laboratory. This usually involves a 1 night admission to a private or public hospital. Although home diagnostic tests are available, they have limitations and they are not suitable for all patients.

While we support the concept of simplifying private health insurance we are seriously concerned about the classification of sleep studies in the draft hospital treatment product tiers of the Private Health insurance reform amendments. We note that sleep studies are proposed to be limited to those who hold policies classified as Gold tier. Limiting sleep studies to the Gold tier is likely to severely limit or prevent access of part of the population to an appropriate diagnosis of their sleep disorder, and put additional stress on the public hospital system, which already has demand for sleep services exceeding supply. This will create inequity of access to sleep diagnostic testing among the population.

At the Sleep Health Foundation, we work with a number of self-help groups including:
• Sleep Disorders Australia
• Narcolepsy Australia
• Hypersomnolence Australia
whose personal perspectives underline the importance of supporting the need to identify and treat sleep disorders in the wider community.

We have found that often people with sleep disorders have limited finances due to an inability to maintain full time work. Limiting sleep studies to the Gold tier is likely to severely limit or prevent access of these and other community members to an appropriate diagnosis for their sleep disorder, and put additional stress on the public hospital system, which already has demand for sleep services exceeding supply. This will create inequity of access to sleep diagnostic testing across different sectors of the population.

The Sleep Health Foundation strongly recommends re-classifying sleep studies to allow them to be covered by all tiers of private health insurance, in order to provide equity of access to diagnosis and treatment for these extremely common medical sleep disorders.

Yours sincerely

 Dot Bruck signature

Emeritus Prof Dorothy Bruck
Chair, Sleep Health Foundation


1 Re-awakening Australia. The economic cost of sleep disorders in Australia. Deloitte Access Economics, 2010. Available at:



AIR LIQUIDE Healthcare is a division of the AIR LIQUIDE Group which serves both hospitals and the community and takes care of more than 700,000 homecare patients around the world.

Information organised by topic

Below is a summary of our information about sleep and sleep disorders, organised into topics. Access each information sheet by clicking the link.


General Sleep Information

Sleep Difficulties at Night

Snoring and Breathing in Sleep

Movements and Dreams in Sleep


Treatment of Sleep Problems

Sleepy During the Day

Children and Sleep

Adult and Ageing Issues and Sleep

Sleep Within Other Problems



Make sure your business is recognised for its high standards.

The Sleep Health Foundation's Code of Practice for Suppliers of CPAP Sleep Therapies helps ensure suppliers of sleep disorder therapies adopt consistent standards.  Annual Certification and registration as a Sleep Health Foundation Code of Practice adherent will give sleep physicians and their patients confidence when making decisions about where to go for equipment to treat sleep disorders.

Quality practitioners agree that a comprehensive and considered approach to patients and their treatment is required.

The code is endorsed by the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA), the national peak professional body of sleep clinicians and sleep scientists.

The code enshrines 13 Principles:

  • Patient first
  • Opportunity for trial before sale
  • Provision of after sales support
  • Range of masks/devices
  • Capacity for face-to-face consultation
  • Accurate, confidential record keeping
  • Scheduled follow up including provision for data download
  • Encourage active patient participation in decision making
  • Manage conflicts of interest: separate diagnostic from treatment services. Patient to be independently assessed by an appropriately trained medical practitioner before supply
  • Maintain in service development and training
  • Act in a professional manner with objectivity and integrity
  • Ensure changes to therapy are made in consultation with medical practitioner
  • Work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals

Annual Renewal process

To ensure that standards are maintained over time, businesses must renew their registration on an annual basis.

Self regulation of compliance is as follows: 

  • The code will be displayed in your showroom
  • Any complaints will be directed to your organisation in first instance
  • Failure to resolve or address consumer concern will result in the matter being to the Foundation
  • Corrective actions may be recommended by the Foundation
  • Failure to implement such actions may result in withdrawal of status


  • SHF Code of Practice Logo can be used on your website
  • Your website may be linked to your listing in the SHF directory of approved providers
  • A selection of 50 SHF printed brochures on sleep problems will be made available to each accredited provider. Further supplies are available at low cost
  • The ASA will provide a link from their website to the SHF Directory of sleep services that comply with the Code of Practice for the use by their members
  • ASA endorsement guarantees a level of commitment by Physicians/Clinicians to refer patients to those resellers who have signed up to the Code of Practice

What does it cost per annum?

  • Tier 1: $350 pa (+GST)              ≤2 sites+
  • Tier 2: $1,000 pa (+GST)            ≥3 –9 sites+
  • Tier 3: $2,500 pa (+GST)            ≥10 sites+
  • 15 sites and above  to be negotiated

Payment is made with your application and is non-refundable.

NB The definition of a site is a ‘physical location with address, office and onsite staff with patient facilities’.

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Carers' Experiences of Dementia


Patti 62, Part Time Store Manager and cares for her mother, Margaret, 86

Mum used to take naps during the day and then she’d have trouble sleeping through the night. Every night she’d wake me up and I would stay up with her because I was worried about what would happen if she was left alone. I was exhausted! I just didn’t know what to do.

My sister-in-law who is a nurse said that I should try and keep mum busy during the day to try to stop her napping. So I started taking mum shopping with me and going down to the park in the afternoon. Mum really likes going to the park now. It’s our regular time together where we just both relax and wander. It has got her interested in gardening again too which is great. These changes have really helped with mum’s sleep. She only occasionally wakes up in the night so that means I get to sleep too.


Sleep and Dementia

Getting a good night's sleep maybe a big problem both for the person with dementia and their carers. Here we present a range of information to better understand sleep and dementia. This may help you improve sleep patterns and hence quality of life.

The Sleep Environment for People with Dementia

Creating a Relaxing Environment for Sleep 

Making some changes to your home can help a person living with dementia. Consider what tips may work for your household as each person experiences dementia differently.
These suggestions are especially important if your loved one is anxious, fearful, in pain or having hallucinations.

  • As much as possible keep the bedroom environment familiar to the person with dementia. For example, furnish the bedroomwith personal belongings and arrange furniture the way they like it. 
  • Encourage a quiet bedroom; if possible remove noise that may wake the person with dementia during the night.

Make the bedroom and bed comfortable:

  • A warm bed in a cooler room is best.
  • Make sure the bed is the correct height and size for their body.
  • Is the bed soft enough to be comfortable, but firm enough to support the body during sleep?
  • Rearrange pillows to help relieve pain and physical conditions.
  • Close curtains or blinds at night. Cover or remove mirrors; people with dementia don’t immediately recognise their reflection and this can be more fearful at night.
  • Open the blinds or curtains at wake up time. Natural light will make it easier for the person with dementia to get up.
  • If the person is refusing to go to bed, try offering alternatives, such as sleeping on the couch.
  • Add relaxing touches that make you (and your loved one) feel good, like aroma oils, potpourri or soft music.

Consider a home safety evaluation; suggestions can be provided to you about where to place lights, bed positioning, avoiding dangerous hazards and limiting stress, fear and agitation for the person living with dementia. For more information, contact your local hospital’s Aged Care Assessment Team.  


People with dementia can wander at night for lots of different reasons. One reason may be that they have extra energy that wasn’t used up during the day. Having a daily routine that includes physical activity may reduce night wandering.

Make sure the activities are suitable for the person with dementia so they don’t become frustrated or confused. 


Sleep. Who needs it!

Newborn babies find it easy. Toddlers sometimes find it daunting. Teenagers are convinced they don't need it. Adults want it but frequently don't have the time for it. Seniors have time for it but often can't achieve it. Yet it's a simple fact that whatever your age, getting a good night's sleep is one of the best ways of staying happy and healthy. It's just as important as a good diet and regular exercise. That's why Philips and the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep (ACES) have developed a Sleep Module for its SimplyHealthy@Schools program. The module's message couldn't be simpler: children who sleep well grow healthy.

Time for sleep

As the pace of life increases and we pack more into each day, our sleep patterns have suffered. In fact, poor sleep quality is now considered to be pandemic throughout the world. That makes teaching children about the importance of a good night's sleep particularly important, because sleep patterns acquired in childhood often feed through into adulthood. For example, recent research suggests that poor sleep patterns during childhood can delay children's physical and mental growth,


If you're the parent of a tired & grumpy teenager, then you'll know about the challenges of your child getting adequate amounts of school night sleep.

Recent research shows Australian teens are the 3rd most sleep deprived in the world. Tired adolescents are at risk of academic failure, demonstrate a higher incidence of depression, anxiety, behavioural issues & mood swings, have more car accidents, and have multiple compromised health measures.

Many teenagers are wrongly labeled as having mood disorders, when the underlying problem relates to a lack of sleep, a late body clock, or one of the other adolescent insomnias. Because of this, most sleep deprived teenagers never get the right help.

Dr Chris Seton, Adolescent Sleep Physician, & Dr Amanda Gamble, Adolescent Sleep Psychologist, from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, have developed the world's first online diagnostic & treatment program for teens & pre-teens. SleepShack shows parents, teachers & health professionals how to recognize a sleepy teen. The SleepShack program conveniently transfers face to face assessment & treatment into the more appealing online environment.

If you have a teenager who has big weekend sleep-ins and/or is very difficult to wake up on school day mornings, have a look at SleepShack. You can read our blogs, join us on Facebook & look at interesting media & research information. If you have any further questions, please email our team.

New recommendations for healthy sleep.

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) has released a policy statement with recommendations for clinicians and the general public on achieving good-quality sleep and getting enough sleep.

"Sleep plays a vital role in human health, yet there is a lack of sufficient guidance on promoting good sleep health," said Sutapa Mukherjee, MBBS, PhD, chair of the ATS committee that produced the document.

More information

When we move the clocks back on Sunday, 1 April 2018

At the end of daylight saving in Autumn for those of us living in NSW, VIC, SA and the ACT the clocks will be put back one hour at 3am on Sunday, 1 April, meaning we will enjoy an extra hour in our night, so an extra hour of sleep. The term 'fall back' is used in many countries so we remember to turn our clocks back one hour.

Thanks to that extra hour, "falling back" isn't nearly as disruptive to our bodies as putting the clocks forward at the beginning of daylight saving. The body's circadian rhythm, our built in time clock, operates on a slightly longer than 24-hour cycle, so being able to extend our day is much easier than it is to shorten our day. The body clock is used to a little bit of extra time.

While it can take up to a week to feel back to normal after the beginning of daylight saving time in October, in March it usually takes only one night.

Falling back may even help us to sleep better. After the time change, it will get dark earlier, which could prompt us to go to bed earlier, especially after the long, well-lit summer evenings that encourage us to stay up much later. It will be lighter in the mornings, so make it easier to get up to do some exercise to start the day well.


Main infographic


Download the World Sleep Day Poster and share with work colleagues, family and friends


Media contact and further details
Lucy Williams on 0403 753 028

"Join the Sleep World, Preserve your rhythms to enjoy life”. This is the slogan of this week’s World Sleep Day, but what exactly are our rhythms, why should we preserve them, and how do we do it?

Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour rhythms that control many aspects of our behaviour, physiology and metabolism. These rhythms are generated automatically by a clock in the brain and are synchronised to the 24-hour day by the daily light-dark cycle. Examples of circadian rhythms include the sleep-wake cycle, daily patterns of alertness, mood and performance, hormones such as melatonin and cortisol, and many other processes including digestion, heart rate, body temperature and lung function.

Changes to sleep-wake cycles or exposure to light can interfere with these rhythms, the consequences of which can be life-changing, or even fatal. The understanding and management of circadian rhythms is of growing importance in today’s society, made more apparent by the award of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young, which recognised their discoveries of the genes that create and control circadian rhythms. Maintaining stable circadian rhythms is key to good health: If we continually disrupt our rhythms, for example through shift work or burning the midnight oil, then we increase the risk of sleep disorders, mental health disorders and chronic health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and even some cancers, which can leave us struggling to enjoy life.

So how exactly can we preserve our rhythms?

The best way to manage your body clock is by keeping a regular schedule. Professor Steven Lockley, Program Leader at the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC), is a circadian rhythms expert. He recommends that we try to sleep and wake at the same time each day, and in particular think about how we expose ourselves to light.

“Light is the most powerful time cue for resetting and synchronising our 24-hour rhythms,” Professor Lockley said. “Exposure to a regular light-dark cycle – bright days and dark nights – is vital in helping to maintain a regular cycle. Try and get as much daylight exposure in the daytime but then sleep in as dark a room as possible, or use an eye mask, to create a large day-night contrast. After dusk, for as long as possible before bed, dim the lights or use ‘warm’-looking, low CCT, blue-depleted lights to help signal the brain to sleep. Stability is key”.

Of course, this isn’t always easily achieved, particularly for those who need to sleep during the day.

“The ASA, the Alertness CRC, and the Sleep Heath Foundation are all looking to help inform occupational health and safety strategies to reduce circadian rhythm disruption from shift work, and fatigue from excessive work hours,” Associate Professor Siobhan Banks, Board Member, Sleep Health Foundation said. “For example, there are currently 394 deaths a year caused by people falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle, or from industrial accidents, due to lack of sleep. We are all working towards the introduction of restrictions on driving when fatigued, so that, together, we can reduce this figure and help keep Australian people safe.”

Research suggests that sound sleep is one of the three pillars of good health along with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Sleep health and preserving rhythms is indeed fundamental to our life experiences, as Dr Amy Reynolds, co-Chair of the Chronobiology Council and Chair of the Behavioural Management of Sleep Disorders Committee at the Australasian Sleep Association confirms.

“We all know that feeling when we haven’t had enough sleep – we are fatigued, unproductive, far from alert, and open to mental and physical illness. This year’s World Sleep Day is taking us back to the biological basics, which we can all address to ensure that we remain alert, productive, safe, healthy and, importantly, happy in life.”

As Dr Reynolds highlights, preserving circadian rhythms is the responsibility of each individual, but employers also have the additional responsibility of ensuring the wellbeing of their staff through circadian-friendly work schedules, enhanced workplace lighting and even starting occupational screening programs for sleep disorders.

“There are many actions that can be taken to ensure that we remain alert, productive, healthy, and enjoying life to the full,” Professor Lockley said. “The WorkAlert website offers plenty of science-driven tips and knowledge, including how to manage your light-dark cycles, to help you conquer the challenges of staying alert in a busy world, providing advice on how you – as an employer or employee – can keep yourself and your workplace safe.”

About World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving. It is organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society (founded by WASM and WSF) and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. World Sleep Day is held the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox of each year.

About Sleep Health Foundation
The Sleep Health Foundation is Australia’s leading advocate for sleep health. The Foundation aims to improve people’s sleep and their lives by promoting healthy sleep, raising awareness of sleep disorders and building partnerships with organisations. Free, independent, expert-reviewed fact sheets on every aspect of sleep are available at

About the CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC)
The Alertness CRC is an industry focused research program committed to maximising alertness in the workplace. The mission of the Alertness CRC is to 1) Promote the prevention and control of sleep loss and sleep disorders, and 2) Develop new tools and products for individuals and organisations to improve alertness, productivity and safety.

About the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA)
The ASA is the peak scientific body in Australia and New Zealand representing clinicians, scientists and researchers in the broad area of Sleep. Our vision is the provision of world standard research, education and training, and establishment of clinical standards to ensure clinical best practice in sleep medicine resulting in an informed community with healthy sleep practices. ASA is registered as a Health Promotion Charity, enabling donors to claim tax deductions for any donations to the Association.

Media contact and further details:

Lucy Williams on 0403 753 028

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Nine expert tips to beat jetlag

Sleepless night and hazy days on holiday – be gone!
Already dreading your next long-haul flight? Then keep reading as Professor Dorothy Bruck from the Sleep Health Foundation shares her expert tips on how to combat jetlag so you can get the most of your next holiday!

Get adjusted to the time difference
A few days before your leave for your trip start thinking about what time it is at your destination and start to reset your body-clock closer to the new time. If you are traveling from east to west, for instance from Australia to the Middle East or Europe, your body clock needs to be delayed so you should try to wake up a couple of hours later and go to bed later. If you are going west to east, say from Australia to the US, you need to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier.
Get app-happy
A really helpful tool to help your body-clock combat jetlag is the app Entrain, which has been developed by researchers at the University of Michigan. By typing in your sleeping habits and your new destination, it will recommend how you can best adapt to the new environment with the help of daylight exposure. Research shows every one-hour time distance takes one day for your body clock to readjust to, so a nine-hour time difference can take nine days! However, by following the tips in the app, you can scale the readjustment period down to four days.

d bruck 2013

Emeritus Prof Dorothy Bruck, PhD
Chair, Sleep Health Foundation

Professor Dorothy Bruck is a Professor of Psychology at Victoria University (Melbourne) and has been researching sleep and its disorders for over three decades. She has been involved in research on different aspects of sleep with colleagues in Germany, Britain and Canada and has over 100 referred publications covering issues such as narcolepsy, insomnia, sleep inertia, sleep in older adults and arousal thresholds to emergency signals.

Professor Bruck is also a clinician, practicing part-time as a sleep psychologist with a special interest in insomnia and disorders of excessive daytime sleepiness. She founded the Australasian narcolepsy self-help group, NODSS, in the mid 1980s and is current Chair and a founding Board member of the Sleep Health Foundation.

Winner of the RACP ResMed Foundation/Sleep Health Foundation Research Entry Scholarship for 2017 announced

Jasneek Chawla

Congratulations to Dr Jasneek Chawla

Dr Jasneek Chawla as been awarded the RACP ResMed Foundation/Sleep Health Foundation Research Entry Scholarship for 2017.

Dr Chawla is a Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Physician at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane and an MPhil candidate with the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland. This scholarship will be used to undertake a longitudinal study evaluating the impact of clinical interventions for common sleep disorders in children with Down syndrome. This research aims to understand whether functional, behavioural and developmental outcomes are improved following treatment of sleep conditions in children with Down syndrome, providing evidence to direct clinical management in this population.

The Scholarship is made available by a grant from the ResMed Foundation Ltd. It is administered by the RACP and The Australasian Sleep Association. 

This is the final scholarship that can be offered. Thank you to the ResMed Foundation Ltd for their support of this scholarship.


AsleepOnTheJob WEB SLIDE 1200x440

Key points from the Sleep Health Foundation report by Deloitte Access Economics 2017 - Asleep on the Job: Counting the cost of poor sleep

What is the report about?

The report investigated the economic consequences of inadequate sleep.

Inadequate sleep and daytime excessive sleepiness can arise from poor personal sleep habits, shift work or when people experience common sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). 

What is the cost to the Australian economy of inadequate sleep?

  • The total cost of inadequate sleep in Australia was estimated to be $66.3 billion in 2016 – 17
  • This total is made up of $26.2 billion in financial costs and $40.1 billion in the loss of wellbeing.
  • The $26.2 billion in financial costs due to inadequate sleep are estimated to be as follows:
    • health system costs of $1.8 billion, or $246 per person with inadequate sleep;
    • productivity losses of $17.9 billion, or $2,418 per person with inadequate sleep;
    • informal care costs of $0.6 billion, or $82 per person with inadequate sleep; and
    • other costs (inc. welfare payments, tax losses) of $5.9 billion or $802 per person with inadequate sleep
  • The $40.1 billion in loss of wellbeing is estimated using World Health Organisation and Australian Government metrics which assess the non-financial costs of healthy life lost through disability and premature death from inadequate sleep and associated conditions.

How prevalent is inadequate sleep and what are its consequences?

  • The report found that inadequate sleep is highly prevalent in Australia with an estimated 39.8% of Australian adults experiencing some form of inadequate sleep.
  • It affects Australians of all ages, with inadequate sleep affecting learning and decision-making as well as increasing the risk of mental and physical illness.
  • Inadequate sleep can lead directly to fatality or work-related accidents. Two examples include falling asleep while driving, and medical staff making medication errors when on shifts.
  • Chronic inadequate sleep can cause heart disease, obesity, depression and a range of other serious health conditions which impacts the health budget.

What can be done?

  • A strong case exists for implementing public preventive health measures to promote healthy sleep, as has been done in other areas involving lifestyle choice, such as smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, diet and exercise. 
  • Work Health and Safety authorities should tighten regulation in work sectors where sleep is irregular but responsibility is high, such as defence, transport and health.
  • Changes to shift work scheduling that use evidence-based principles minimising disruption to the circadian and sleep wake systems need to be promoted.
  • As lack of sleep causes a large proportion of motor vehicle accidents – estimated to be 23% of the total – police services should devote as much attention to tired and fatigued drivers as they do to speeding and inebriated ones. 
  • Just as there are rules forbidding driving after consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, implementing driving restrictions where the driver has had less than a set minimum hours of sleep in the past 24 hours may be warranted.
  • Normal computer screens emit light at wavelengths that affect the major sleep-promoting hormone and thus late evening computer use reduces next day alertness. Government agencies should set an example by providing software (often free) to their employees that reduces exposure to the computer screen light at harmful wave-lengths.
  • Ultimately, the responsibility for reducing fatigue must be shared amongst government, industry, the workforce, the public and the scientific community. 
    • Behavioural economics has shown that carefully worded education campaigns can be of minimal cost and highly effective.  Reducing poor sleep behaviour will result in gains in productivity and thus taxation revenue, and savings in health system costs could offset any expenditure outlays.
    • Supporting further research and monitoring in the area of sleep will help establish evidence bases for potential regulation, practice and policy regarding fatigue, sleep and accident risk.

Who commissioned this report?

This is the third report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation about the costs and consequences of sleep disorders and/or poor sleep. Previous reports were published in 2003 and 2010.

We are Australia’s leading advocate for healthy sleep, governed by a volunteer board of sleep experts.  We aim to deliver a successful program of health promotion through broadcast and social media, and community education.

View to the report - Asleep on the Job: Costs of Inadequate Sleep in Australia

View Key finding Summary


Lower back pain Study seeking participants (SleepBack)

Do you have back pain? Many people with sleep symptoms unfortunately do, and having both seems to make things worse.

We at the University of Sydney are looking for participants in our study. We offer free online treatment for sleep, and we propose it can improve your back pain as well!

What we need: People with back pain, aged 18-65 years, and living anywhere in Australia.

What we offer: A six-week online study with free online sleep treatment.

If you can't participate, please at least like and share this page so that we can reach others all across Australia!

Participant testimonial post from the Twins Research Australia.

If you are interested, please contact:  


Wakeup Australia

Wake Up Australia: The Value of Healthy Sleep 2004

This report was prepared by Access Economics in 2004 for the steering committee of Sleep Health Australia, a nascent national sleep health organisation.

The report was funded by an unrestricted grant from the ResMed Foundation Limited who had no part in the direction or findings contained in this report.

Wake Up Australia: The Value of Healthy Sleep Report available here 








Aussie Sleep Warning Goes Global

An Australian report warning of a sleep crisis Down Under has caught the attention of global health experts working to establish sleep as a top priority worldwide.

The leading medical journal SLEEP has published results of a startling report from Australia that reveals the $66 billion annual cost of sleeplessness on our economy.

The paper warns the Australian data, the most detailed collected worldwide to date, provides the clearest view of the economic impact of sleeplessness in advanced economies across the globe.

“Our results can serve as a warning to authorities in all western nations that the large and growing problem of sleeplessness is a considerable drain on economies,” says Dr David Hillman, deputy chair of Australia’s Sleep Heath Foundation, which funded the report by Deloitte Access Economics. “It underlines that we’re in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of inadequate sleep that needs immediate attention through education, regulation and brand new initiatives.”

The report, published last August, estimated 7.4 million Australians regularly missed out on adequate shut eye in the 2016-2017 financial year. The problem costs $26.2b a year in health bills,  lost productivity and accident expenses, and a further $40.1b in loss of wellbeing.

The new paper, published this week by Oxford University Press, warns much of the Americas, Europe and Asia will be contending with similarly huge sleep-related costs.

Re-Awakening Australia

Research reveals sleep disorders cost Australia more than $5 billion per year. An economic report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation reveals sleep disorders cost the Australian economy more than $5.1 billion a year in health care and indirect costs. In addition, the reduction in life quality caused by sleep disorders has a further cost equivalent of $31.4 billion a year. The report, 'Re-awakening Australia – The Economic Cost of Sleep Disorders in Australia' highlights more than 1.5 million Australian adults, 9% of the adult population, now suffer from sleep disorders.

The report looks at the economic impact of major sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome. While around 9% of the adult population is affected by these disorders, the problem of sleep disorders is in fact greater as only individuals diagnosed with these three conditions have been considered. The report notes better diagnosis and detection, which together with increasing obesity, ageing and stress levels, are increasing the prominence of these conditions. The Sleep Health Foundation is concerned by the scale of problems associated with sleep disorders in Australia.

Poor sleep is increasingly common amongst Australians, with one in three people regularly struggling with their sleep. It is vital that sleep disorders receive increased focus as a health priority. Now that we know the economic costs we hope that we can work with the Australian Government, GPs and employers to re-awaken Australia.

The report found that $270 million per year is being spent caring for sleep disorders. However they cost $540 million per year in health care costs for associated conditions and a further $4.3 billion per year through indirect costs. This includes $3.1 billion in lost productivity and $650 million in informal care and other indirect costs resulting from motor vehicle and workplace accidents.

Sleep disorders contribute to other diseases and injuries. The proportion of each condition attributable to a sleep disorder is as follows:

  • 10.1% of depression
  • 5.3% of stroke
  • 4.5% of workplace injuries
  • 4.3% of motor accidents.

The 'Re-Awakening Australia' report, conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, also found that non-financial costs which place a dollar cost on loss of life quality resulting from sleep disorders contributed a further $31.4 billion per year to the total economic cost.

The report 'Re-Awakening Australia' was commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and funded by untied grants from Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, Resmed Asia Pacific Ltd and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare

For further details:

Elena 16, full time student and helps care for her Grandmother Jianli, 79.

If Grandma wakes up in the middle of the night she gets really confused about who we are and where she is. We talk to her in Chinese and reintroduce ourselves to her and this helps calm her down. Mum put lots of family pictures in Grandma’s room and also her favorite reading chair and her special table that she’s had forever.

If she wakes up, we turn on a little light near her reading chair so she can see all of her things and she knows where she is. She usually goes back to sleep again really quickly.


Overview of Dementia

Dementia affects everyone differently and varies in progression. Different brain functions affected may include:

  • change to memory e.g. forgets familiar places
  • language e.g. refers back to first language
  • communication e.g. unable to communicate specific needs
  • recognition e.g. difficulty recognising familiar faces
  • social skills e.g. cannot maintain conversations, isolates from people
  • cognitive skills e.g. unable to remember particular words

Treating Pain

You might not be aware that your loved one is in pain. Dealing with pain symptoms is essential for a good night's sleep. If you think the person you are caring for is experiencing pain:

  • Arrange a doctor’s appointment to identify and treat physical symptoms.
  • Ensure pain medication is taken appropriately.
  • You may wish to discuss with your doctor the possible use of sleep medication.


Daylight Saving banner Spring

When do we move the clocks forward?

At the beginning of daylight saving on Sunday, 2 October 2016 for those of us living in NSW, VIC, SA and the ACT the clocks will be put back one hour at 2am, meaning we will lose an hour in our night, so effectively we lose an hour of sleep. The term 'spring forward' is used in many countries so we remember to turn our clocks forward one hour. Daylight saving is not observed in Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia. Losing an hour of sleep can be disruptive to our bodies body's circadian rhythm, our built in time clock, operates on a slightly longer than 24-hour cycle, so being able to extend our day is much easier than it is to shorten our day. The body clock is used to a little bit of extra time. It can take up to a week to feel back to normal after the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in October. After the time change we will enjoy an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day prompting us to stay up longer in the evening to enjoy the long, well-lit summer evenings. It will be darker in the mornings initially making it a little harder to get up to do some exercise to start the day well.

Adjusting to the time change

  • Go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier for a few days before putting clocks forward
  • Set your alarm to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would on the weekend, especially Sunday morning
  • Make the bedroom as bright as possible when you first wake up in the morning
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Go outside in the sunlight in the early mornings
  • Exercise outside in the mornings
  • Try to get between seven and nine hours sleep each night
  • Don't exercise just before going to bed
  • Don't drink coffee, tea or other caffeine drinks in the evening, avoid smoking just before bed or during the night
  • Be aware that alcohol in the evening is likely to affect your sleep, especially in the second half of the night, when it may become more fragmented
  • Don't go to bed hungry or too soon after eating a large meal

For more information on getting a better night's sleep check our fact sheets.


FREE - Available for iPad, Kindle Fire and Android devices

These free children's apps were developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to educate kids about the importance of sleep. Both apps have optional settings for children to read the stories at their own pace or have the stories read to them with audio. Adapted from the AASM's beautifully illustrated children's picture books, the apps also include a coloring book, puzzle and quiz games to make learning fun.

For more information


Complete the SLEEP SURVEY and encourage your friends and work colleagues to complete it.

Sleep Awareness Week kicks off Monday, 6 July 2015 and finishes on Sunday, 12 July 2015. It is an annual community education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep as a fundamental pillar of good health and helping you to make sure you're getting enough of it!

More information

Stick to a routine
Try to go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at the same time every morning. 

Take care with food and drinks 
Avoid all stimulants like caffeine and alcohol for at least an hour before bed and finish eating at least two hours before bed.

Wind down and relax before bedtime
Have a buffer zone before bedtime to, review the day's activities and work out a plan of action for the next day.

Lower the lights
Your body clock is affected by light, so turn off bright overhead lights and lamps and put aside your smart phone, computer or iPad at least an hour before bed. 

Make sure your bedroom is comfortable 
Keep your bedroom quiet and dark with comfortable bedding suitable for the season.  No TV in the bedroom!

Don't lie awake watching the clock 
Staring at the clock when you can't sleep actually increases the stress hormone known as cortisol in your body, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Try turning your clock away from you.

More information  

A Good Night's Sleep and a Good Memory Go Hand in Hand

by Melissa Gibbs, guest blogger

As exam time looms ahead at most modern day Universities, it is common for students to stay up all night cramming, convinced that a few more crucial hours of study can seal the deal in so far as remembering important information is concerned. A recent study by scientists at the Griffith Lab, however, has shown that the mechanism that promotes sleep also consolidates memory; in other words, it is our memory neurons that make us feel sleepy, since we need to sleep in order for our short-term memory to be converted into long-term memory. Previous to the study, scientists already knew that sleep deprivation resulted in problems remembering facts and events; however, they did not know whether the same mechanism that promoted sleep also consolidated memory, or whether two independent processes worked side-by-side.

Researchers, Paula Haynes, Leslie Griffith and Bethany Christmann focussed their research on dorsal paired medial neurons (DPM), which are known as memory consolidators in small fruit flies (Drosophila). They noted that when DPM neurons were activated, the flies slept for longer periods; when they were deactivated, the flies stayed awake.

darren mansfield

A/Prof Darren Mansfield

Darren Mansfield is a sleep disorders and respiratory physician who practices in all aspects of sleep disorders. He is the Director of the Sleep Service in the Monash Lung and Sleep Department of Monash Health, the Director of the Epworth Sleep Centre in East Melbourne and an adjunct A/Professor in the School of Psychological sciences Monash University. He has 20 years of experience in sleep medicine, completing a PhD in the field and continues to research in a range of areas within sleep medicine. He is an exponent of the view that multidisciplinary care has the capacity to achieve superior outcomes to that of the lone clinician, hence the creation of this novel service in insomnia.

CRC for Alertness Safety & Productivitycrc small 

The Alertness CRC is an industry focused research program committed to maximising alertness in the workplace. The mission of the Alertness CRC is to:

  • Promote the prevention and control of sleep loss and sleep disorders
  • Develop new tools and products for individuals and organisations to improve alertness, productivity and safety

Sleep Health Foundation Grant Winner 2016

Thank you to the teams who submitted an Expression of Interest for the Inaugural SHF survey on Adult Sleep Health in Australia. We received five very strong applications, but unfortunately only one team can win.

The selection was conducted by four Directors from the Board of the Foundation (none of whom had a real or perceived conflict of interest with any of the applications). The committee felt that all the applicants would have been highly suitable to undertake the project but in the end the strongest team had a very large amount of experience directly relevant to the survey task.

The winning team was the team from the Health Sciences Research Branch, The University of Adelaide led by Prof Robert Adams.  You can view their full report here.

The report was also published in July 2017 in the Sleep Health Journal.
Sickness absenteeism is associated with sleep problems independent of sleep disorders: results of the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation national survey.

Sleeping Sound with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Does your child have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and have difficulties sleeping?

If you answered yes you may be eligible to participate in the Sleeping Sound study!

Brief Overview:
• Up to 85% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can experience sleep problems.
• Sleeping Sound is a brief treatment program for sleep problems. Early findings in children with developmental challenges have suggested that this program can improve their sleeping difficulties.
• This study aims to see whether the program improves sleep problems, as well as wellbeing and daily functioning in primary school aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Who can take part?
We are seeking families with children:
• Aged between 5 and 12 years
• With sleeping difficulties
• With a confirmed diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder without Intellectual Disability
• Living in Victoria, Australia

Aussie teens forgo sleep for screens

A new research report from health promotion foundation VicHealth and the Sleep Health Foundation has found Australian teenagers are missing out on crucial sleep, with screen time, caffeine and stress keeping them awake.

The research found that the average teenager only got between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep a night, well under the recommended 8-10 hours, and it was seriously impacting their mental wellbeing, with increased rates of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem among sleep-deprived teens.

But the study also found a simple way for teens to reclaim some much needed shut-eye. Teens who put down their smart-phones an hour before bed gained an extra 21 minutes sleep a night and an hour and 45 minutes over the school week.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare is a leading New Zealand based designer, manufacturer and marketer of a range of innovative healthcare devices. We have been a trusted name in the respiratory care market since 1971 with the development of a unique respiratory humidifier system for use in critical care.

Mission, Vision, Aims and Objectives

The Sleep Health Foundation is Australia’s leading advocate for healthy sleep. It aims to improve people’s lives by promoting sleep, advocacy and raising awareness of sleep disorders. 


Improving people’s lives through better sleep.


The leading national advocate for sleep health.

Aims and Objectives

In just five years, the Sleep Health Foundation has established a dynamic presence. We are spreading the sleep health message through a strong media and internet presence, engagement with community leaders, interaction with other health bodies, and an ongoing program of development and distribution of educational information designed for the public by sleep experts. 

  • We are advocates for healthy sleep – The Foundation delivers a strong consistent sleep health message to the community and its leaders through its media, social media and website resources and direct dialogue.
  • We are raising awareness of sleep problems – Our work has attracted widespread attention in print and broadcast media. Our web-site is a popular resource. Our social media presence is growing. Our work with political leaders has resulted in a successful senate motion to pursue sleep problems further at national level.
  • We are educating the community about sleep health – Our popular information sheets about sleep and its problems are freely available through our acclaimed website and social media outlets. Co-branding and website links can help your organisation build an association with good sleep health.
  • We are building partnerships with organisations to promote sleep health – We are fostering the common ground between community, professional and business interests that relates to identifying and dealing with sleep problems. A cohesive approach is the result.  Current partners include patient groups (such as Sleep Disorders Australia), professional organisations (such as the Australasian Sleep Association), businesses (through our corporate partner program) and research bodies (such as the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity).
  • We encourage and endorse best practice standards – Foundation recognition helps ensure partners are recognized and rewarded for the quality of their products.  The Code of Practice for Suppliers of Sleep Therapies is endorsed by sleep professionals as a reference point for their patients.
  • We support research and development – through our research funding programs.

Welcome to the The Sleep Health Foundation's media centre

The Sleep Health Foundation works in partnership with leaders in the fields of sleep science and medicine to raise awareness of the importance of sleep, treatment for sleep problems and the consequences of sleep loss.

To access spokespeople for media interviews

Journalists Please contact:
Lucy Williams on 0403 753 028



The Newsletter will be send quarterly.  Articles of interest are always welcome.

Article submissions should be in MS Word format. You can email to .

Angelo 72, retired and cares for his wife Maria 67

Maria always gets up and wanders around the house while I sleep. One night I woke up and found her sitting outside on the wet grass. That made me worry. I felt like I couldn’t keep her safe anymore. I started thinking about nursing homes for her.

I’ve come up with some great ideas how to keep Maria safe and help her sleep. Every night I turn on nightlights in the hallway leading to the toilet. Just really dim ones so they don’t keep us up at night. We used to use them for the grandkids when they slept over so they could find their own way to the bathroom and back by themselves. It helps Maria in the same way.

I also put bells on the doors leading outside so I will wake up if she opens them. Maria still wanders every now and then but now, she often comes back to bed again. I feel better because I know I can keep her safe at home with me.


Consider how living with a person with dementia has affected your sleep. 

What other forms of relaxation could you use?

Conditions that can Affect Sleep

 Some conditions affect sleep quality in people with dementia including:

  • sleep apnea
  • arthritis
  • restless leg syndrome 
  • depression

For more information refer to the dementia and sleep factsheet.

Wandering at Night

When you find your loved one wandering at night:

  • Gently remind the person that it is night-time and it's time to go to sleep.
  • Check if they need to use the toilet, consider if they are hungry, frustrated or bored?
  • Think about what changes you could make in the environment to calm them down.  
  • Have ways to guide the person back to bed.
  • Perhaps 15 minutes of soothing music, or a small amount of food or drink or maybe a short massage will help them relax.
  • If locks are used, be sure that they are not a fire hazard.
  • If you do not want the person you are caring for to use a particular door, paint it the same colour as surrounding walls so it does not stand out. You can also make a sign saying ‘do not go through this door’ or use an image that might stop them opening it.
  • Another idea is to put bells on any doors you do not want them to go through and have a baby monitor nearby so you can hear the door opening.
  • Consider providing the person with dementia with a location device, ID bracelet or sewing their name into clothing. 


Dr Sarah Blunden

Associate Professor Sarah Blunden, Founder and Director of the Paediatric Sleep Clinic (Adelaide, South Australia) and the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep™ (ACES) and Head of Paediatric Sleep Research at Central Queensland University.

According to leading sleep researcher Dr Sarah Blunden, who partnered with Philips put together the new Sleep Module for its SimplyHealthy@Schools program, the effect on young children of not getting enough sleep is not what you might think it would be.

"Rather than falling asleep during the day, young children who don't get enough sleep typically become hyperactive, with a tendency to get angry faster, be more aggressive and have poor attention spans," she says. "As a result, they are often mislabeled as 'difficult children'."

Her research also shows that it's not just a child's behavior that is affected.

"Poor sleep can result in memory and attention lapses, difficulty learning and with school work, you can get sick more often and have more accidents and even be more likely to be overweight".

However, one of the problems associated with today's busy lifestyles is that sleep takes second place.

Children and Sleep


Build a sleep clock with your children

The Sleep Clock contributed by Prof Kurt Lushington

Prof Kurt Lushington

University of South Australia

Instructions here

Introduce primary school children to the importance of sleep through a new and free online sleep education program created by Australian sleep expert Associate Professor Sarah Blunden.

About the free sleep education resources:

  • Designed to engage primary school children aged 8-12 years
  • Based on years of research about children and sleep
  • Created by a sleep education expert and psychologist
  • Endorsed by the Sleep Health Foundation
  • Adaptable to primary school curriculum frameworks
  • Includes downloadable resources - click here

Sleep your way to health

Your body doesn't switch off when you shut your eyes – it's working for your mood, weight loss and overall wellbeing. Here's how:

  • Sleep is as essential as keeping fit and eating well.
  • Sleep is the third part of a healthy lifestyle along with healthy eating and regular exercise.
  • Sleep plays a role in weight management.

Research shows that people who slept eight and a half hours a night lost almost twice as much weight as people who got five and a half hours sleep each night. And women with poor sleep habits gain more weight than women who sleep well too. So if your weight has hit a plateau or the scales are creeping up, you might want to reassess your sleeping hapits. Without enough sleep your hormones are out of whack and you body craves sugar, fat and high-GI foods.

What is the real impact of Shiftwork?

With more and more of us working nocturnal hours, A Current Affair investigates what it's really doing to us.  

Alertness CRC Program Leader and Sleep Health Foundation member, Prof Shantha Rajaratnam talking about the impacts arising from shift work.

Watch the video


This is a test page sorting out a sign up issue

Are you getting a good Night’s sleep?

Regular good sleep is important to look, feel and perform at your best, but around 50% of the population has trouble getting regular good sleep.

Project aim

This project is testing a new on-line sleep questionnaire to examine how well it identifies common sleep problems when compared with a sleep specialist doctor. By completing this questionnaire you will be asked to rate your experience with the survey focusing on the usability, flow and content. Your participation in this survey will help us gain a better understanding of how well the survey identifies sleep issues and underlying causes. If you participate, you may be randomly selected for a follow-up study involving a phone consultation with a sleep specialist. Completing our Sleep Survey is the first step to achieving a better night’s sleep. All participants who complete the survey enter a draw to win a $500 Westfield voucher.

Who can participate?

Any adult over the age of 18 who resides in Australia can participate.

Visit this link to participate:

Approved HREC number: 002.17

Stop Tired Drivers Getting Behind Wheel: Report

Sleep starved Australians should be treated like drunks and barred from getting behind the wheel of a car to stop them harming other drivers, a hard-hitting new report recommends.

The Sleep Health Foundation Report by Deloitte Access Economics, released today, calculates that four in ten Australians routinely fail to get the sleep they need.

Inadequate sleep is a major health and safety hazard that costs the country $66 billion annually and contributes to the death of about 3,000 people a year. The report estimates more than one Australian will die every day – 394 a year - from falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle or from industrial accidents due to lack of sleep.

Sleep Medicine

Editor in Chief, Darren R Mansfield

Associate Editors Nick Antic, Shantha MW Rajaratnam, Matthew T Naughton

Published in 2017, this textbook describes the basic physiology of sleep and the range of sleep disorders and their consequences including disorders in children and older people, sleep apnoea, insomnia, disorders of circadian alignment and excessive daytime sleepiness.Those seeking a broad understanding of sleep medicine such as  emerging sleep clinicians and tertiary students in health science and psychology, will find the book invaluable.

Paperback ISBN: 978 0 9953887 0 3 $A95.00 rrp.

Available in bookshops or order direct from the publisher IP Communications - - or call 61 0423 269 353

Recommended Sleep Stories for Children, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers

Let's Go to Sleep
Written by Margaret Wild
Illustrated by Michelle Dawson
Published by Working Title Press (2013) ISBN 9781921504440
Review by Susan Stephenson,


Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream!
Written by Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.
Illustrated by Jo Gershman
Available to purchase at:
Book Review by Sue Cranage (PDF)

Kiss Goodnight
Amy Hest & Anita Jeram
ISBN 978-0-7636-2094-3 2001

Good Night Baby
ISBN 978-1-5645-8532-5 2006

Bedtime Peekaboo
ISBN 978-1-4053-1276-9 2006

Bedtime Teddy
ISBN 978-1-8469 -6311-7 2007

Time for Bed Tiger!
Hanna Wilson & Paula Bowles
ISBN 978-1-9213-1893-1 2009

Good Night Me
Andrew Daddo & Emma Quay
ISBN 0-7336-2112-0 2006

Can't You Sleep Little Bear
Barbara Firth
ISBN 9-7814-0630-4350 2006

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
ISBN 10:0-00-713728-1 2003

Time For Bed
Mem Fox & Jane Dyer
ISBN 1-86291-1940 1993

Tell Me A Story Mummy
Mei Matsuoka
ISBN 13:978-1-4050-2189-0 2007

Sleepy Places
Judy Hindley
ISBN 978-1-4063-0516-6 2008

Michael Rosen & Jonathan Langley
ISBN -13:978-0-00-780979-0 1998

No More Yawning
Paeony Lewis
ISBN 978-1-905294-68-8 2008

Useful links

Founding Members of the Sleep Health Foundation

Below is a list of the Founding members whose contributions have helped to establish the Sleep Health Foundation as an leading authority in the field of sleep disorder information and management.

David Hillman

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

Perth  WA
Lynette Reid Western Hospital Footscray VIC
Sutapa Mukherjee   Claremont WA


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Shiftwork CVR

Panna 54, full time dental hygienist and cares for her husband Suran 68.

When Suran started having problems falling asleep it really upset our lives. He would get frustrated and irritable early in the early evening and stay that way till past our bedtime. The doctor said he could be “sundowning” and that having a calming routine before bed could help. We started a routine of turning off the TV earlier, having a warm bath and a herbal tea.

This has really helped with Suran’s irritability. I’ve also started singing old Hindi songs that I know Suran likes. He’s very traditional. I also sing Hindi lullabies close to bedtime and this works really well. We aren’t 100% perfect, but we are always finding new ways to make our life together work and to stay loving.


Types of Dementia

The most common types of dementia are:

  • Alzheimers Disease
  • Vascular
  • Lewy Body
  • Frontotemporal

Taking Care of Yourself is Essential

Be aware of your stress associated with the demand of care-giving.

  • Take some time for yourself at the end of the day. Listen to music, eat a chocolate biscuit or read a favourite book; your wellbeing is just as crucial to support the wellbeing of your loved one.
  • Consider asking for help from a family member or care support service so that you could have a proper night's sleep.

The Sleep Journey

We think about it constantly. It's as important as eating, breathing and walking the dog, but for many people sleep often plays hard-to-get.
Here are some easy tips to help maximise those eight+ hours a night.

1. Set your alarm clock for the same time each day
Getting up in the morning is never pleasant but going to bed and getting up at similar times each day is the best way to train your body. This lets our internal body clock build a strong sleep wake cycle. Yes, even weekends, although sleeping in makes sense if you have had a series of late nights and have to catch up on lost sleep.

2. Make your bedroom as sleep friendly as possible
The bedroom should be quiet, dark and always comfortable. Getting the right room temperature is essential, along with a comfortable bed, pillows and bedding. Electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops are a danger zone for distraction, so best to leave them outside the bedroom. If you have a clock that you can see in the night, turn it around to face the wall.

It's axiomatic in the digital world that if an app or service is free, you're the product. Or your data is. So what to make of consumers who are willing to pay handsomely for the privilege of being spied upon?

Wearable fitness devices act like the most intimate of observers, silently tracking users' heartbeat, logging every step taken, every calorie burned, your hours asleep - and report the data back to their masters. Consumers love them.

More information

SleepingOnHotNights header

Many people dread summer because of the problems they experience on the hot nights. There are some things that you can do to help (short of installing air conditioning).

Skin temperature is the key
Research has found the ideal sleeping temperature is around 17 to 19 degrees Celsius. If this level can’t be provided then it helps to have air flowing over your skin to help cool your body. Good ventilation with an open window can help. Many find ceiling fans useful but even a small, cheap fan can make a difference. If it’s noisy, try ear plugs although they can take a few nights to get used to.

Be sure to expose as much of your skin to flowing air as possible. Try sleeveless tops, loose fitting shorts, underwear, a short nightie or nothing at all. If you feel more comfortable with a sheet keep it loosely draped over the bed. Cotton is the best fabric both for pyjamas and sheets. Avoid synthetic materials.

Have a cool shower before you go to bed and if you are wakeful in the night and feel you can’t fall asleep again, have another cool shower.

The temperature of your hands and feet are particularly important for sleeping. You can’t fall asleep, for example, if your feet are either too hot or too cold. Be sure you can stick your feet out from under the sheets or doona in the middle of the night if you need to. On hot nights cooling your hands and face with a cold face-washer can be useful. Some people have ice packs ready for bed-time and place them on their skin during the night. A hot-water bottle can be made cold.

For some air conditioning or evaporative cooling is the answer, but this is a more expensive solution.

Be prepared
It usually takes longer to fall asleep when you are hot, so don’t go to bed too early. In fact don’t go to bed until you actually feel quite sleepy.

As you fall asleep your core body temperature drops, reaching a low point around 3-5am at night. Anticipate that you may actually get cold during the night and have a lightweight doona or blanket ready to pull over you, either at the bottom of the bed or along-side your body.
Make sure you are not dehydrated during the night by drinking plenty of water across the day, especially if you have been out in the heat. Have a water bottle near your bed if need be. Sunburn will definitely affect the quality of your sleep so follow the Slip, Slop and Slap guidelines.

Consider your sleeping environment
Tell your bed partner it’s too hot to sleep curled up together so you don’t also have to cope with their body heat. A spread-eagled position will allow for lots of air circulation.
An open window can make a difference and help circulate the air as it cools overnight but make sure that it doesn’t result in an army of mosquitos or flies. Hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window will cool the air entering your bedroom.
Try to avoid the bedroom getting too heated during the day by having heavy drapes or blinds on the windows and keep them closed all day when it’s forecast to be hot.

Attitude is important
When it comes to sleep, many of us expect perfection. However, sleep is a rollercoaster of light and deep sleep across the night and short periods of being awake during the night are normal. When it’s hot you will feel more uncomfortable and restless. Therefore, once you do wake up you may have more trouble getting back to sleep. Don’t keep checking the clock as this will cause an emotional reaction.
The key is to stay calm and relaxed and try to achieve a ‘dozy’ state where you may move gently between sleep and wake. Keep your thoughts positive and neutral – don’t dwell on things that may make you emotional or make your mind too busy. Think about a past – or future – relaxing holiday. Breathe slowly and more deeply.
If you are frustrated get up and try to cool off and calm down. Often it’s cooler outside the house at night than inside. Try not to get anxious about how you will cope the next day with reduced sleep. You have coped with disrupted sleep before, you may just be doing things in a less than perfect way. And when it’s hot, you won’t be the only one.

More information

Download pdf version of this fact sheet

Environmental Noise Study

Simultaneous sleep and acoustic measurements in the natural home setting

This study will be the first direct investigation of real-world wind farms compared to traffic noise effects on gold-standard polysomnography assessments of sleep. The aim is to assess self-reported (subjective) and direct objective measures of sleep quality in people's natural home and noise environment to investigate relationships between noise, sleep disturbances and other factors.

Participation in the in-home study will involve two consecutive night recordings. Research personnel including one trained sleep technician and one sound technician, will visit the participant’s home to set up acoustic recording and sleep monitoring using already established equipment and methods. They will also perform a standard audiology test to assess hearing.
After each night, participants will be asked to rate overall sleep quality and noise relative to usual sleep.
Participants will also be asked to collect five saliva samples. These will be collected immediately upon awakening, over the next 60-minutes and 12-hours after waking. A small sample of hair will also be collected to measure markers of long-term stress. Participants will receive $70 per night reimbursement for their time.

Sleep Starved Aussies Run Up $66b Bill: Report

Millions of Australians are failing to get the sleep they need to live healthy, happy lives, a national scourge that costs the country $66 billion a year in health bills, lost productivity and wellbeing, a new report says.

The Sleep Health Foundation Report by Deloitte Access Economics released 8 August 2017 estimates 7.4 million Australians routinely missed out on adequate shut eye in the 2016-2017 financial year.

“This lack of sleep had harmful effects on everyday function, and exacerbated health conditions from heart disease and stroke through to diabetes and depression in tens of thousands of Australians,” says Professor Dorothy Bruck, Chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, which commissioned the report. “On top of this, it claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people. The cost of sleep deprivation is utterly alarming and confirms we need to take urgent action to put sleep on the national agenda.”  

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For more than a century, MSD has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, MSD continues be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

The Checklist for health professionals and patients

This checklist was prepared by the Sleep Health Foundation to provide health professionals and patients with a useful guide to finding information on specific sleep disorders. Each of the topics listed refers to an information sheet that is available from the Foundation Website here.

At the end of a consultation, health professionals can tick the boxes of those information sheets which would be relevant to the patient, who can then go home and access this information. Alternatively, the individual sheets can be downloaded and printed by the health professional and handed to the patient. Patients can also print the checklist to take to their doctor as a reminder of areas of their sleep that they would like to discuss.

Click here for PDF copy


If you are interested in finding out more information on how to sleep better you can now join us on our facebook page.

The Sleep Health Foundation is keen to share information about sleep and help the community to improve its sleep quality. 

You can find us at

Sleep Well for a Safe Workplace.

Many people view sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. Indeed, people are cutting sleep out of their lives at an alarming rate. Nearly 30 percent of Americans sleep less than six hours per night. Research indicates similarly low levels of sleep in Korea, Sweden, Finland, and England. In one large scale study, 29 percent of participants reported extreme sleepiness or falling asleep at work in the past month. This may occasionally provide amusing stories, such as a bank employee falling asleep on a keyboard and mistakenly transferring hundreds of millions of dollars. However, a growing body of research indicates that a lack of sleep can have more sobering consequences: the jeopardization of workplace safety, leading to work injuries and even death.

More information

Sleep Health Foundation Policy Documents

Privacy Policy

Confidence in the integrity of the Sleep Health Foundation is vital to its operation and protecting the integrity of the personal information we hold on interested parties is vital.

Copyright Policy

© Sleep Health Foundation
All rights are reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without the written permission of the publisher, unless otherwise permitted under the Copyright Act 1968.

Advertising Policy

Is subject to review and approval by the SHF. All advertising and inserts submitted must be accurate and adhere to the principles of the SHF terms and conditions. 

Conflict of Interest Policy

It is the policy of the Sleep Health Foundation that officers and employees of the Foundation avoid ethical, legal, financial or other conflicts of interest, and ensure that their activities and interests do not conflict with their obligations to the Foundation or its welfare.

Content and Editorial Policy

This policy has been developed to articulate the Sleep Health Foundation's requirements for and approach to preparation of educational material.

Media Policy

This media policy provides a set of guidelines for all Sleep Health Foundation (SHF) members, staff, board directors and expert spokespersons to adher to when interacting with the media.


Ciara 42, full time mother of 2 and cares for her father Maurice 67.

The one thing I still find hard about dad’s Alzheimer’s is when he gets confused and just not himself at night. What has been really helpful is getting a bit of support and advice from other people in the same situation as me. I joined a caregivers support group and it has been great. I get a lot of information on Alzheimer’s and really helpful tips from the other carers. I found out that Dad’s confusion is probably “sundowning” and that it is quite common in people with dementia.

Now I have ways to calm Dad down and get him to sleep at night. We know what to do as soon as he starts acting out of sorts. My support group also put me in touch with community services that help me in really practical ways. I have two teenage boys to look after as well, so I know that sometimes I just need a bit of help from outside the family.

Stages of Dementia

There are three stages of dementia that a person with dementia will go through; mild, moderate and severe. Each phase of dementia will have different experiences and barriers to tackle. With the help of family members and friends the progression of dementia may be less of a shock.

During all three stages, sleep will be affected.

For more information on dementia visit:

  1. Knowing your family and yourself
  2. Waking during the Night
  3. Know the person you are caring for
  4. Sleep disorders and cardiovascular morbidities
  5. You snooze, you win
  6. Technology & Sleep
  7. Michael Rundus
  8. Parent-Child Sleep Study
  9. Bad Sleep and Sick Days Are Cosy Bedfellows: Study
  10. Latest report: Asleep On the Job
  11. Governance
  12. Links
  13. Fact Sheet in Focus
  14. Narcolepsy - Brochure
  15. Signs of Dementia
  16. Design your Environment
  17. Get Some Light
  18. Sleep’s Marketing Problem: You ‘Have To’ Go to Bed
  19. Sleep tracker technology
  20. ResMed/SHF Scholarship
  21. Investigation into later bedtimes for individuals with sleep concerns
  22. Moira Junge
  23. Oventus Medical
  24. Want a Smarter, Safer Office? Change the Light Bulbs, Sleep Experts Urge
  25. Site Map
  26. Contacts
  27. Philips
  28. Information A to Z
  29. Membership
  30. Funding Statement
  31. Insomnia - Brochure
  32. Purchase trifold brochures
  33. Carer's Stress
  34. Sleep Tips for New Mothers
  35. Maintaining Habits and Routines
  36. Don't discount sleep!
  37. Surgery of the Upper Airway for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Trial
  38. David Hillman
  39. Sleep-Smart Rosters Help Keep Doctors Sharper and Safer
  40. Login Module
  41. Resmed
  42. Snoring and Sex Life
  43. CPAP - Brochure
  44. Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  45. Video: TheFourPs
  46. National Dementia Helpline
  47. Bedtime Secrets Help Babies Sleep Like Babies
  48. How much sleep?
  49. Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children undergoing Adenotonsillectomy
  50. Siobhan Banks
  51. Sleepiness Epidemic Hits Nation
  52. Sleepiness epidemic
  53. Welcome
  54. Schizophrenia and Sleep
  55. Experiment and Stay Flexible
  56. The brain and sleep
  57. Nasopharyngoscopic Evaluation of MAS in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  58. World Sleep Day - Swap Screens for Sleep
  59. Jennifer Low
  60. Statistics Module
  61. Sleep Association
  62. Caring for your CPAP Equipment
  63. Meals - Box
  64. Seeking High profile person with sleep health interest
  65. Poke feet out of covers
  66. Shantha Rajaratnam
  67. Information about common sleep problems now available for Chinese speakers
  68. Understanding and helping poor sleep
  69. Smartphones for Smarter Sleep and Mental Health
  70. Staying Social
  71. Sleep Changes
  72. Anthony Williams
  73. No Clothes, No Cuddling: Hot Night Survival Guide
  74. Sleep Disorders Australia
  75. Fatigue as an Occupational Hazard
  76. Canberra Meetings Update
  77. Exercise and stress- box
  78. Sleepwalking neurons
  79. Sleep Hacks Give Snorers a Wake-Up Call
  80. Bedwetting
  81. Activity and Sleep
  82. Damaging Sleep Problems Going Untreated
  83. Jason van Schie
  84. Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD)
  85. Employee Smartphone Usage, Sleep and Productivity
  86. New sleep apnea device
  87. High Tech Car Helps Solve Fatigue Crash Puzzle
  88. Helen Burdette
  89. Napping
  90. School time sleep routine tips
  91. Controlled crying?
  92. Driver Fatigue Causes Deadly Confusion: Experts
  93. Idiopathic Hypersomnia
  94. Today's frequently asked questions
  95. Fact Sheets in Chinese
  96. Herbal Remedies and sleep
  97. Sleep and mental health
  98. New Sleep guidelines
  99. Volunteers required for sleep-related research studies
  100. Treatment for insomnia with sleep apnea

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