March 9, 2023

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 12-18, and World Sleep Day, March 17.

The National Sleep Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing sleep research, organizes Sleep Awareness Week each year to emphasize the connection between sleep and overall health and well-being. The World Sleep Society, made up of sleep experts, promotes World Sleep Day every Friday before the spring equinox.

UArizona sleep researchers are available for interviews about various sleep topics.

Sleep and adult physical and mental health

  • Michael Grandner is an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Sleep and Heath Research Program and the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. He studies the development and implementation of behavioral interventions for insufficient sleep and sleep disorders.
  • Patricia Haynes, an associate professor of health promotion sciences, studies how different kinds of stressors affect sleep, social rhythms, mental health and health behaviors.
  • Mary-Frances O'Connor, an associate professor of psychology, directs the Grief, Loss and Social Stress Lab and studies how bereavement and mental health impact sleep and vice versa.
  • Denise Rodríguez Esquivel, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson and a clinical psychologist at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine and specializes in insomnia treatment, circadian rhythm disorders and CPAP adherence.

Sleep intervention and therapies

  • E. Fiona Bailey is a physiology professor and member of the BIO5 Institute and the UArizona Women's Sleep Research Collaborative. Her research focuses on adults with obstructive sleep apnea and the potential for abbreviated respiratory muscle strength training to reduce blood pressure and improve vascular health.
  • Fabian-Xosé Fernandez, an associate 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.
  • 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, and is currently investigating a potential application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to facilitate sleep in people with insomnia.
  • Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy, a professor of medicine who directs the UArizona Health Sciences' Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences and the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson's Center for Sleep Disorders, studies adherence to positive airway pressure therapy in patients with sleep apnea. He also studies sleep in critically ill patients, and telemedicine approaches for delivering insomnia treatments to survivors of recent hospitalization. He is a principal investigator for studies looking at the nature of sleep problems in long COVID-19 patients and their treatment interventions.

Child and adolescent sleep

  • Dr. Daniel Combs, an assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine, directs the pediatric sleep medicine program through the 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 as screening for sleep disorders in children. He currently is conducting a National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial of medications for obstructive sleep apnea in people with Down syndrome.
  • 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, a professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, 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. Perfect is also president of the American Psychological Association Division of School Psychology.

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Media contact:
Kyle Mittan
University Communications

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2021 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $770 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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