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March 11, 2021

UArizona Experts Available for Sleep Awareness Week, World Sleep Day

TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona experts can speak to various aspects of sleep during Sleep Awareness Week, March 14-20, and World Sleep Day, March 19.

Created by the World Sleep Society, World Sleep Day is always observed the Friday before the spring equinox. The slogan for the 14th annual celebration of sleep is "Regular Sleep, Healthy Future."

The past year has taken a toll on sleep quality for many.

"There's a new term – 'coronasomnia' – for the inability to sleep due to pandemic stress that we are trying to address in new research," said Sairam Parthasarathy, a professor in the UArizona Department of Medicine and medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and director of the UArizona Health Sciences Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences.

Pandemic anxiety is causing more than insomnia, Parthasarathy says.

"Sleep apnea is also on the rise, especially as people have become more likely to gain weight because they are not eating right and are more sedentary over the past year," he said.

Parthasarathy and other UArizona sleep researchers are available for interviews about various sleep topics.

Child and Adolescent Sleep

  • Psychology professor Rebecca Gomez runs the university's Child Cognition Lab, where she studies the importance of sleep for learning, memory and development in infants and young children.
  • Licensed psychologist Michelle Perfect, an associate professor of psychology, examines factors that affect sleep quality, quantity and schedules. She also studies how sleep impacts physical and mental health, as well as school outcomes in students with and without chronic medical conditions. Her team developed and evaluated the efficacy of elementary sleep science education and behavior-based sleep interventions for youth with Type 1 diabetes.
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  • Dr. Daniel Combs, an assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine, directs the pediatric sleep medicine program through Banner University Medical Group. His research focuses on sleep disorders in children with chronic medical conditions. He has published research on sleep and health disparities, as well screening for sleep disorders in children.

Sleep and Grief

Sleep Intervention and Therapies

  • Fiona Bailey is a physiology professor and member of the UArizona Women's Sleep Research Collaborative. Her research focuses on a novel, five-minute, high-intensity breathing training program that strengthens respiratory muscles and lowers blood pressure in older adults with obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Psychiatry professor William D. S. Killgore directs the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience lab. He studies how morning light therapy can improve sleep and consequently help heal traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder in military personnel. He also studies the effects of sleep deprivation and caffeine on cognitive performance and emotional functioning.
  • Fabian-Xosé Fernandez, an assistant professor of psychology, studies how high-precision sequences of light stimulation can be used to improve circadian rhythms, sleep and other aspects of mental and physical health. His lab is also examining the link between being awake in the middle of the night, or "nocturnal wakefulness," and suicide.
  • Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy, a professor of medicine and director of the sleep centers studies adherence to positive airway pressure therapy in patients with sleep apnea and telemedicine approaches for delivering treatments for insomnia in survivors of recent hospitalization. He also studies sleep in critically ill patients.

Sleep and Adult Physical and Mental Health

  • Patricia Haynes, an associate professor of health promotion sciences, studies how different kinds of stressors affect sleep, social rhythms, mental health and health behaviors.
  • Michael Grandner, associate professor of psychiatry, directs the Sleep and Health Research Program and the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. He studies how sleep affects heart and brain health and how social, environmental and behavioral factors impact sleep.
  • Psychology professor Daniel Taylor is the director of the Insomnia and Sleep Health Research Laboratory. His research focuses on the epidemiology and treatment of insomnia and co-occurring physical and mental health issues, such as pain, influenza, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety.