Dr Alexander Sweetman

Academic Status

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Physical Sciences
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Dr Alexander Sweetman is a Research Fellow at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health at Flinders University, and Clinical Sleep Technician at Flinders Medical Centre, SA Health.

His primary research interest is the co-morbidity of insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. Insomnia and sleep apnea co-occur in about 40% of patients and result in worse mental and physical health. The most effective treatment for these patients is not known. He coined the term “COMISA” in 2016 (Co-Morbid Insomnia and Sleep Apnea) and completed his PhD in 2018 co-ordinating a randomised controlled trial of treatment approaches for COMISA (NHMRC Project Grant). He established and continues to lead the modern COMISA field to discover better treatments for this condition.

Dr Sweetman is a post-doctoral researcher on a NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence program to improve insomnia and sleep apnea management in Australian Primary Care (https://www.ncshsr.com/). He is trial co-ordinator for a NHMRC Partnership Project; Management of Sleep apnea and Insomnia in Primary care (MOSIP) trial (www.mosiptrial.org.au). He conceptualised and leads a pilot implementation trial of a general practice digital cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia program to reduce benzodiazepine dependence. He is the lead postdoctoral researcher, working with the SAX Institute, on a program to improve availability and use of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia in Australian Primary Care.

Dr Sweetman is chair of the Australasian Sleep Association psychologist education committee (Behavioural management of sleep disorders), member of the ASA education committee, insomnia and sleep health council, and primary care council. Since 2012, he has been a clinical sleep technician at 6 hospital/research sleep clinics in Southern Adelaide, working with thousands of patients to diagnose and manage sleep conditions.


Honours (psychology) 2010

PhD - Psychology and Sleep Medicine - 2018

Honours, awards and grants

2013 - Flinders University PhD Scholarship
2016 - Flinders University International Travel Award
2017 - Flinders University Student Conference Travel Scholarship
2017 - AISH International Travel Scholarship
2017 - Flinders University Publication Award a
2017 - Flinders University Publication Award b
2017 - Flinders University three-month PhD write-up scholarship
2019 - The Hospital Research Foundation International Travel Scholarship
2019 - Brain Sciences Poster Award (World Sleep, Vancouver, Canada)
2019 - ResMed competitive research funding award
2020 - Philips competitive research funding award
2020 - Innovation Partnership Seed Grant
2020 - Vice Chancellor's Early Career Researcher Award
2020 - Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant Award
2020 - FHMRI Clinical Trial Kickstarter Award a
2020 - FHMRI Clinical Trial Kickstarter Award b
2021 - NHMRC Partnership Project: Improving the management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Insomnia in General Practice
2022 - Runner up, QSR International Grant for Early Career Researchers
2022 - World Sleep Society Elio Lugaressi Award for Sleep Medicine

Supervisory interests