Optimising digital interventions for improving sleep and wellbeing in both university students and working-aged adults

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: WMG


Increasing evidence has shown that poor sleep, even at a sub-clinical threshold, is an important risk factor for adverse health and wellbeing outcomes (including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and mortality). This has led to the consensus that achieving good sleep health is a viable strategy for increasing productivity, promoting wellbeing, and even disease prevention in the long term.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia is an effective multi-component treatment recommended as the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. However, intervention options are very limited for people reporting sub-clinical insomnia symptoms, which can be as many as 30-40% of university students and working-aged adults. In the absence of professional support, individuals with these sub-clinical insomnia symptoms often resort to online sleep hygiene advice whilst using sleep monitoring health apps. The effectiveness of sleep hygiene advice given in this context is untested. Moreover, compliance to sleep monitoring is low and variable. Although given feedback about their sleep quality on a regular basis, many people are left with a large pile of sleep data without knowing how to utilise them for promoting sleep health.

This joint PhD between Psychology and WMG will present an opportunity for the successful student to develop and pilot a sleep intervention for sub-clinical insomnia in students at university and adults at work, as part of the Psychology-led Student Mental Health and Resilience in Transition (SMaRT) project and the WMG-led Midlands Engine Mental Health and Productivity project. Based on the insomnia literature and previous research carried out by the proposed supervisors, the successful student will investigate ways to enhance motivation to improve sleep health (e.g., using in-app financial incentives) and the effectiveness of sleep hygiene in terms of content (e.g., educating about sleep science instead of presenting do's and don'ts about sleep) and delivery format (e.g., personalised in-app videos, instead of printed leaflets).
Alligns with the Healthcare Technologies research area.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513374/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2302597 Studentship EP/R513374/1 16/12/2019 14/06/2023 Laura Chandler