Current Projects

We have a number of ongoing and upcoming research projects! Through our work with a variety of methodologies and populations, all of our research centers around the critical role of sleep in promoting and maintaining public health.

The Profile Project: The interplay of sleep and energy homeostasis in adults enrolled in a weight management program

This project is being supported by funds from the Sanford Health-NDSU Seed Grant Program (PI: Irish). The Profile Project began in Fall 2015 and aims to collect a broad range of behavioral and psychosocial data from approximately 200 adults enrolled in a weight management program. Specifically, we aim to evaluate the bidirectional influence between sleep and energy homeostasis (calorie expenditure and consumption) through a week of objective sleep and exercise monitoring and daily dietary recall. The study includes a broad range of self-report assessments providing a rich dataset for the examination of interpersonal, psychological, behavioral, and health-related factors in the context of sleep and weight loss behaviors.

Behavioral influence on sleep improvement efforts

This work is supported by funds from the National Science Foundation and the NDSU Department of Psychology.  The aim of this ongoing protocol is to systematically evaluate and refine a range of behavioral recommendations for sleep improvement (i.e., sleep hygiene recommendations).  Our protocol includes a 2 week baseline assessment period during which we monitor daily sleep characteristics (using actigraphy) as well as daily behavioral and environmental influences on sleep.  Baseline participants with objectively verified poor sleep are then recruited to participate in one of several behavior change protocols to directly test the impact of specific changes on sleep.

Sleep and health of cardiac patients: Is there a place for sleep in cardiac rehab?

In collaboration with a local cardiac rehab center, we have many exciting opportunities to examine the correlates and consequences of sleep problems among recent cardiac patients. In the short term, we aim to investigate the interplay between sleep and waking behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise) and medical outcomes (e.g., vitals, pain, quality of life, recurrence of cardiac events, mortality). In the long-term, we aim to develop, test, and implement a sleep promotion program into the existing cardiac rehab structure to further enhance the health and wellness of cardiac patients.

The prevalence of sleep disordered breathing among American Indians

The SLEEP Lab is at the early stages of building collaborative relationships with local tribal communities. Our goal is to investigate the prevalence of sleep disordered breathing among American Indians in the Northern Plains region and to examine disparities in access to and utilization of sleep medicine services.

The role of visual attention in successful sleep health promotion

This work is supported by funds from the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). We aim to understand how visual and cognitive processes (e.g., attention) through the use of sleep hygiene education materials relate to actual behavior change.Our protocol includes a week-long baseline assessment period during which we monitor daily sleep characteristics using actigraphy as well as daily behavioral and environmental influences on sleep.  Baseline participants with objectively verified poor sleep are then recruited to participate in a behavior change protocol to directly test the impact of various behavior changes on sleep.

Additional projects and collaborations are always in the pipeline! Please contact us for more information about what we’re up to.

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