ABC sleep study

Sleep is one of the three pillars of health (along with nutrition and exercise), and it is vital to our well-being and longevity. However, sleep remains one of the more mysterious aspects of human health and wellbeing.

Sleep-related health problems and their harmful consequences are very common. Several factors contribute to sub-optimal sleep health in the modern society. For instance, increasing use of electronic devices at night has significantly and negatively affected sleep health.

Sub-optimal sleep health increases the risk of cardiac, metabolic and mental health problems. Sleep problems also affect daytime functioning and increase fatal accidents and work-related errors. As a result, sleep health problems cost the Australian economy an estimated $66.3 billion every year. It is biologically plausible that sub-optimal sleep could contribute to cancer risk. Nevertheless, population-level comprehensive and accurate data on sleep health are scarce, which limits our capability to design effective interventions. All measurements of sleep health in Australia (and globally) have primarily either been limited to a small sample of clinical patients or based on subjective and inaccurate assessment.

The ABC Sleep pilot study, as part of the larger ABC Study, will use innovative monitoring technology, the Withings under-mattress sensor, to collect comprehensive data to study the feasibility of using the device to study sleep health. The Withings sensor is a non-invasive, easy to use, automated sleep analysis device that is placed under the mattress. It accurately tracks sleep data including sleep duration, efficiency, cycle (deep and light sleep), sleep apnoea and position, snoring, heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature.

A small number of ABC Study participants will be invited to participate in this pilot study. They will be asked to put the monitoring device under their mattress for 14 days. Participants will require to download the Withings App to their smartphone and link it with the device. They will be able to read and track their day-to-day sleep health using the application.

This study is led by Dr Yohannes Adama Melaku, an Early Career Researcher at Cancer Council Victoria. He has been trained in the field of nutritional and sleep epidemiology and his research focuses on how diet and sleep are associated with disease and health outcomes. He earned his PhD from the University of Adelaide and has two Master’s degrees and a Bachelor of Science degree. Yohannes will be supervised in this project by Associate Professor Brigid Lynch.

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Cancer Epidemiology Division
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Melbourne 3004, Australia