eHealth and technology
eHealth technology, wearable sensors and data analytics are redefining the way we manage our health and practice medicine. Our researchers are working together with industry partners to develop new, evidence-based technologies to better measure sleep, screen for and treat sleep disorders, and manage sleep health in the community and in health clinics.
Epidemiology is the study of how often health issues, such as diseases or conditions, occur in different groups of people and why. Knowing how a person is likely to be afflicted with a sleep disorder and how to prevent or manage these conditions is an essential part of sleep health research.
Our researchers are conducting innovative longitudinal population research studies and clinical trials to learn how initiatives to promote prevention work best, lead to early detection and better management of sleep disorders, and improve quality of life, wellbeing, and physical and mental health in our communities. We study the relationship between sleep and diet, nutrition and food timing. We are also investigating how people interact with health services and identifying opportunities for more effective health care and management that will maximise health outcomes.
Rapid expansion of wind farms in Australia and internationally has led to widespread community complaints from previously quiet rural environments about sleep disturbance. Low frequency components of wind farm noise can travel long distances and pass through building structures more readily than higher frequency noise. Time-varying components from blade movements may also make wind farm noise more noticeable than other noise types. Consequently, wind farm noise exposure has the potential to adversely affect sleep, health and wellbeing.
We're looking into two aspects:
- chronic sleep fragmentation from frequent physiological activation responses to sensory disturbances in sleep, and
- chronic insomnia that could potentially develop more gradually over time in sensitised individuals.
Good data is much needed to definitively establish the sleep disruption characteristics of wind farm noise as compared to other noise disturbances in sleep. Our research will use, for the first time, direct electroencephalographic (EEG) and cardiovascular measurements to systematically evaluate the sleep disruption and physiological activation response characteristics of wind farm noise during sleep.