[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/210407]
Dr Cameron Van Den Heuvel
Prof Sally Ferguson
Brief description Insomnia is a significant health issue, with 10-12% of the general population reporting sleeping difficulties requiring treatment. Pharmacological treatment with hypnotics-sedatives remain the main treatment strategy for most insomnias, despite the adverse side-effects. A better understanding of the physiological triggers for sleep will make it possible to develop more specific treatments for insomnia. Sleep onset is reported to be associated with changes in body temperature. Broadly speaking, sleep onset has been linked with a rapid reduction in core temperature through increased peripheral heat loss. It has been suggested from this that sleep onset insomnia may result from the failure to efficiently lose heat at the periphery and thus, reduce core temperature. To date, the analysis of peripheral temperature physiology has been limited to single temperature thermistors attached to discrete body areas. This technique typically provides very limited information about the dynamic temperature changes. Recently, low cost, high resolution thermal imaging systems have become available, enabling the measurement of real-time changes in peripheral temperature across the whole body simultaneously. This development will help to significantly improve our understanding of the physiological mechanisms involved in both sleep onset and insomnia. The aim of this project then, is to determine whether an impaired capacity to lose heat at the periphery contributes to sleep onset insomnia in both young and older adults. The results of this project will provide insight into whether a reduced capacity to dissipate heat results in an extended sleep onset latency, greatly enhancing our knowledge of the physiology of sleep onset and sleep onset insomnia. In turn, treatments may be developed that directly manipulate the physiological triggers for sleep, minimising the dependence on sedative-hypnotics and the associated adverse effects of these agents.
Funding Amount $AUD 192,710.00
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
New Investigator Grant