World Sleep Day 2017 - Can we really sleep soundly?

“Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life”. The slogan for this year’s World Sleep Day seems simple. But, in a world where the pace is quickening and where there are never enough hours in the day, is this ideology actually achievable and just how positive an effect can sound sleep have on our lives?

“Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life”. The slogan for this year’s World Sleep Day seems simple. But, in a world where the pace is quickening and where there are never enough hours in the day, is this ideology actually achievable and just how positive an effect can sound sleep have on our lives?

It comes as no surprise that sound sleep is regarded as a treasured function and one of the core pillars of health. When sleep fails, health declines - increased rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses are often experienced, decreasing a person’s quality of life. It is that balance of sleep and energy that has become absolutely essential for health.

The brain plays a key role in sound sleep, and vice-versa, with research currently underway to better understand the link between sleep quality and mental health. At the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN), sleep experts are bringing hope to a wide variety of people who are currently experiencing sleep and circadian-related issues by drilling down into three major focus areas: the role of the internal biological clock in sleep, sleep disorders - like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, and people’s ability to adapt to unusual sleep patterns such as shift work.

Surprisingly, although most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, fewer than one-third of those with a sleep disorder seek professional help. MICCN is working to assist individuals with insomnia through its investigations into treatment services for those who do not respond well to the current “gold standard” treatments – in particular, new mothers, couples, and patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, the Institute is developing simple, clinical, predictive tools in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) to assess which therapies should be given to each individual, as well as novel treatments to help combat this common issue.

Around 20% of serious motor vehicle crashes are caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel1. Through the Institute’s collaboration with the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, MICCN sleep neuroscientists are identifying biological markers indicative of fatigue and using these to develop "breathalysers" for alertness. The research, led by Associate Professor Clare Anderson and Professor Shantha Rajaratnam will be crucial in delivering the next generation of road safety regulations to effectively manage alertness failure and fatigue in drivers.

Interruptions to our sleep-wake cycle can have a negative impact on health. More than 16% of the Australian workforce is engaged in some sort of shift work, which has a major disruptive effect on the biological clock and the sleep-wake system. MICCN is developing strategies to improve health, safety and productivity including scheduling systems, personalised sleep management systems, and dynamic lighting systems.

MICCN’s Professor Sean Drummond is the President of the Sleep Research Society, an international organisation for scientific investigators who educate and research sleep and sleep disorders. He is confident that the “Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life” ideology is achievable by many.

“Through our research, we are seeing that the sleep health of our population can be improved, that the performance, health and safety of shift workers can be enhanced, and that quality of life for those living with a sleep or mental health disorder can be maximised. Getting both a sufficient quantity and healthy quality of sleep promotes overall wellbeing and quality of life for everyone.”

MICCN has a panel of sleep and circadian experts available for comment on sleep-related topics, including insomnia, depression, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, cognitive decline in the elderly, and improving sleep for those with brain injuries. As well as being leaders in their fields, these experts are well connected through the Institute’s industry and international partnerships with renowned institutions such as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Philips, and Medibio. MICCN also has state-of-the-art facilities in place to support clinical research trials.

For further information, please contact:

Prof Shantha Rajaratnam
MICCN Sleep Program Leader
T: +61 3 9905 3934

Watch the MICCN Sleep Program video.

Visit the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic website.


MICCN sleep program

About World Sleep Day

Created and hosted by World Sleep Society, World Sleep Day is an internationally recognised awareness event bringing sleep health professionals and patients together for one important common cause: Sleep. This year, World Sleep Day takes place on Friday 17 March 2017, when 72 countries will unite to bring cognizance to the many burdens of sleep problems.


The Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) is the largest Institute of its type in the Asia Pacific, uniting over 200 world-class researchers with cutting-edge research infrastructure. We are dedicated to understanding the brain and mind; specifically in addiction, attention and memory, and sleep. Our research and education programs are delivered in collaboration with clinical and industry partners, and through our Graduate Education and Industry Centre, we are the only research intensive University who offers a program that directly links psychology and neuroscience graduate students to industry.

The MICCN Sleep Program

MICCN's sleep program researchers use a range of methods to develop and test innovative tools to accurately characterise sleep and circadian disturbances. This information is then used to create targeted treatment approaches to improve sleep and therefore the cognitive and mental health outcomes of the population.

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Further enquiries:
Susan Waterer, Communications Manager
T: 0423 194 593, E: