Honours research targets apps to aid sleep

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Honours research targets apps to aid sleep


Published on 11 June 2014

New University of the Sunshine Coast Psychology research will judge the effectiveness of smartphone applications designed to help people with sleeplessness.

Psychology Honours student Bec George, 31, of Mountain Creek, is seeking more participants to trial free apps for two weeks and fill out questionnaires on their experiences, noting any changes in sleep patterns, moods and mental functioning.

“Sleep is fascinating and there is so much we don’t know about it,” said Ms George, who has a USC double degree in Psychology and Human Resource Management.

Her research supervisor, Lecturer in Psychology Dr Rachael Sharman said up to 20 percent of people struggled with some form of insomnia, creating problems for their mental health, wellbeing and even weight management.

“Problems getting to sleep, waking during the night, sleep apnoea and restless legs have long been associated with depression, stress, increased obesity and general ill-feeling,” Dr Sharman said.

“People are turning to smartphone apps for assistance, advice and self-management strategies. But how do they know which app to choose?

“Ease and affordability have been found to be the strongest drivers of app choice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the app has any evidence base or scientific veracity behind it.”

The researchers have selected three apps with differing levels of scientific evidence.

“All three offer potentially useful and diverse strategies to assist sleep,” Dr Sharman said.

For more details email Rebbecca George, rlg009@student.usc.edu.au or follow this link to the survey.

Julie Schomberg

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