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SANI - South Australian
Neuroscience Institute
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Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Laboratory

Circadian rhythms are fluctuations in biological processes occurring on a 24 hour basis. We measure the circadian rhythms of body temperature, heart rate and hormone levels of humans in carefully controlled laboratory conditions in order to investigate the relationship between these rhythms and sleep. It appears that certain types of sleep disorders may be caused by delays or advances in the timing of the circadian rhythms and therefore may be treated with manipulations to normalise the timing of the rhythms. One such treatment is the exposure to bright light in the evening for those who have early morning awakening insomnia. Evening light treatment delays their rhythms and lengthens their sleep. The opposite treatment of early morning bright light seems to be an effective treatment in cases of sleep onset insomnia and delayed sleep phase disorder. We are presently developing new means of administering bright light and investigating the use of bright light therapy in conjunction with other behavioural therapies for the treatment of a variety of insomnias and daytime sleepiness. We are also investigating other aspects of sleep and treatments for insomnia including the beneficial effects of brief naps, sleep misperception and re-training of insomniacs, and a novel, more rapid treatment for sleep onset insomnia.

Investigators

Leon C Lack, BA, PhD
Michael Gradisar, PhD

Visiting Research Fellows / Scholars

Assoc Prof Helen Burgess, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
Prof Mary Carskadon, Brown University, Providence Rhode Island
Dr Julia Dewald, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Support Staff

Helen Wright, MPsych, PhD, Research Associate
Nicole Lovato, PhD, Research Associate
Hayley Dohnt, PhD, Research Associate
Paul Douglas, Technical Officer
Ben Maddock, Technical Officer
David Hall, Technical Officer

Students

Michelle Short, PhD Student
Gorica Micic, PhD student
Christine Brown, MClinPsych Student
Madeline Sprajcer, BPsych, Honours Student
Philippa Turvey, BPsych, Honours Student
Michael Fordyce, BPsych, Honours Student

Contact

Prof Leon Lack

Ph: (08) 8201 2391
Int Ph: +61 8 8201 2391
Fax: (08) 8201 3877
Int Fax: +61 8 8201 3877
Email: leon.lack@flinders.edu.au
University Profile Page

 

Research Projects

Collaborative Research

Assoc Prof Helen Burgess, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, USA: Circadian Rhythms in delayed sleep phase disorder.

Assoc Prof Sally Ferguson, Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University: Circadian Rhythms in delayed sleep phase disorder.

Assoc Prof Shantha Rajaratnam, Monash University, Vic: Melatonin Administration for delayed sleep phase disorder.

Prof Mary Carskadon, Brown University, Rhode Island: Cross cultural comparison of Adolescent sleep in Australia and the United States.

Dr Jennifer Hudson, Psychology, Macquarie University: The assessment and treatment of co-morbid anxiety and sleep disorder symptomatology in children and adolescents.

Dr Nicola Spurrier (Flinders Medical Centre) and Dr Anne Sved-Williams (University of Adelaide): The mental health outcomes of young children enrolled in a randomised controlled trial of behavioural interventions for infant sleep disturbance.

Dr Annemarie Meijer, Social & Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam: Validation of the Flinders Fatigue Scale and the Chronic Sleep Reduction Questionnaire in Australian and Dutch Adolescents.

Recent Media Appearances

Leon Lack

  • Southern Health News, Taking the fear out of insomnia, p11, October 2013.
  • Talk Radio Europe: Malaga, Spain, the development and use of the Re-timer light devices, by Jamie-Lee Carrington, 15 min, 19/12/12.
  • ABC Radio: Australia International, Glasses to beat jet lag, by Desley Blanch, 13/12/12. www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/innovations/glasses-to-beat-jet-lag/1058524
  • ABC Radio: Australia Pacific, Innovations by Desley Blanch, the Re-timer devices invention and research, 8 min, 15/12/12.
  • 2GB Radio: Sydney, Re-timers and getting over jet-lag, 6 min, 2/12/12.
  • Travelvax: Complete Travel Health Service Magazine, Beating jet lag? It’s all in the Re-timing, say scientists, by Laurie Sullivan, 28/11/12.
  • ABC Regional SA Radio: Mount Gambier, Green light devices for jet lag and shiftwork, 10 min, 28/11/12.
  • 5AA Radio: Adelaide, Green light glasses use in treating body clock problems, 15 min, 27/11/12.
  • ABC Radio: Perth, Green light devices for shift work and jet lag, 10 min, 27/11/12.
  • Sydney Morning Herald: Traveller, Glasses that cure jet lag an Aussie world first. 27/11/12.
  • ABC National News Radio: Community Radio, Re-timer light therapy devices, 2 min, 24/11/12.
  • The Squeeze/Life+Style, Re-Timer, a remedy for jet lag?, 23/11/12. www.thesqueeze.net/All-Categories/Lifestyle/Style-Tech/Re-Timer-a-remedy-for-jet-lag
  • Medical News Today, Green-Light glasses could cure jet lag and reset your body clock, 23/11/12. www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253141.php
  • The Times of India/Science, Specs that can prevent jet lag, cure insomnia, 23/11/12. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-11-23/science/35318375_1_body-clock-new-time-zone-24-hour-body
  • Stuff.com.nz, Glasses that cure jet lag, 23/11/12. www.stuff.co.nz/travel/7990604/Glasses-that-cure-jet-lag
  • News.com.au, Flinders University researchers launch green glasses to beat jet lag and insomnia, by Jordanna Schriver, 22/11/12.
  • London Independent Online, Glasses that can stop you getting jet lag, 22/11/12.
  • The Telegraph: London, Hi-tech sunglasses could banish jet-lag, 22/11/12. www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9695100/Hi-tech-sunglasses-could-banish-jet-lag.html
  • One News: TVNZ, Green-light glasses could cure jet-lag, 22/11/12. http://tvnz.co.nz/travel-news/green-light-glasses-could-cure-jet-lag-5233129
  • Medical Observer, ‘Green light’ glasses to battle insomnia and jetlag, by Marina Kamenev, 22/11/12.
  • Sky News: Australia, Device launched to reset your body clock, 22/11/12.
  • News.com.au, Flinders University researchers launch green glasses to beat jet lag and insomnia, 22/11/12.
  • The Voice of Russia, Te-timer resets body clock, 22/11/12. http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_22/Re-Timer-resets-body-clock/
  • Financial Review, Device launched to reset your body clock, 22/11/12.
  • The Advertiser, Glasses trick the body clock, by Jordanna Schriever, 22/11/12.
  • The Daily Mail Online: London, A sight for snore eyes: Glasses stop you getting jet lag by emitting green light, by David Gardner, 21/11/12.
  • YouTube, The Re-timer, 30/10/12. www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoVi0DfpKFw (28,752 views since 21/12/12).
  • Coast FM Radio: Adelaide, sleeping problems and jet-lag treatments, 20 min, 8/10/12.
  • Australian Geographic, The mystery of sleep, by Peter Meredith, Sept/Oct issue, pp 80-94, 2012.
  • Psychiatric News: Newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association, Several strategies fight insomnia in mood-disorder patients, by Lynne Lamberg, 17/8/12.
  • Psychiatric News: Newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association, Combat vets with insomnia benefit from CBT variation, by Lynne Lamberg, 17/8/12.
  • 5AA Radio: Adelaide, sleeping tablets and insomnia, 15 min, 15/8/12.
  • ABC Radio: 891 Adelaide, sleeping tablets and insomnia talk back, 25 min, 14/8/12.
  • InDaily: Adelaide’s daily independent news, Pills no answer to insomnia, 9/8/12.
  • ABC Radio: Townsville, causes of increase of dreaming, 10 min, 5/7/12.
  • ABC Radio: 891 Adelaide, Drive time with Michael Smith, attempt to sleep 2 hours/day for a month, 10 min, 2/7/12.
  • 6PR Radio: Perth, Interview with Stephen Mills, Chinese man who died after 11 days without sleep, 7 min, 26/6/12.
  • 2UE Radio: Sydney, Drive time talk back with Paul Murray, sleep loss effects, 6 min, 25/6/12.
  • Psychology Today: Sleepless No More, summary of sleep article on Intensive Sleep Retraining, by Alice Oglethorpe, May 2012.
  • ABC Radio: 891 Adelaide, delay of school times for high school students, 10 min, 26/3/12.
  • ABC Science: News in Science, Ageing improves shut-eye time, by Darren Osborn, 1/3/12. www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/03/01/3443566.htm
  • ABC Radio National: Life Matters, the benefits of power naps, 15 min, 28/2/12.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald, Sleepless elite: quest for the Thatcher gene, by Jonathan Swan, 20/2/12.
  • American Broadcasting Corporation TV: World News, New approaches to the treatment of insomnia: Re-wiring the brain, 3 min, 13/1/12.
  • ABC News Blogs, Rebooting the Brain: New progress in the treatment of insomnia, by Matthew Rosenbaum, 12/1/12. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/12/rebooting-the-brain-new-progress-in-the-treatment-of-insomnia/

Selected Recent Publications

Short MA, Gradisar M, Lack LC, Wright HR, Dohnt H (2013) The sleep patterns and well-being of Australian adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 36(1):103-10

Lovato N, Lack L, Wright H, Cant M, Humphreys J (2013) Working memory performance of older adults with insomnia. Journal of Sleep Research, 22(3):251-7

Harris J, Lack L, Kemp K, Wright H, Bootzin R (2012) A randomized controlled trial of intensive sleep retraining (ISR): a brief conditioning treatment for chronic insomnia. Sleep, 35(1):49-60

Short MA, Gradisar M, Lack LC, Wright H, Carskadon MA (2012) The discrepancy between actigraphic and sleep diary measures of sleep in adolescents. Sleep Medicine, 13(4):378-84

Lack LC and Wright HR (2012) Circadian rhythm disorders 1: Phase-advanced & phase-delayed disorders. In C Espie & C Morin (Eds), Oxford Handbook on Sleep and Sleep Disorders, Oxford University Press, pp 597-625

Cain N, Gradisar M and Moseley L (2011) A motivational school-based sleep intervention of adolescent sleep problems. Sleep Medicine, 12:246-251

Paine S & Gradisar M (2011) A randomised controlled trial of cognitive-behaviour therapy for Behavioural Insomnia of Childhood in school-aged children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49:378-388

Harris J and Lack L (2011) Intensive Sleep Retraining: Conditioning Treatment for Primary Insomnia. In M Aloia, B Kuhn & M Perlis (Eds). Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Disorders, Maryland: Elsevier, pp127-131

Gradisar M, Gardner G and Dohnt H (2011) Recent worldwide sleep patterns and problems during adolescence: A review and meta-analysis of age, region, and sleep. Sleep Medicine, 12:110-118

Lack LC and Wright HR (2011) Sleep Disorders. In K Phelps and C Hassad (Eds). General Practice: The Integrative Approach, Elsevier Australia, pp623-636

Lack LC and Wright HR (2011) The use of bright light in the treatment of insomnia. In M Aloia, B Kuhn & M Perlis (Eds). Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Disorders, Maryland: Elsevier, pp.e1-e6

Short M, Gradisar M, Wright H, Lack L, Dohnt H & Carskadon M (2011) Time to bed: Parent-set bedtimes improve the sleep, wakefulness and daytime functioning of adolescents. Sleep, 34:797-800

Johnston A, Gradisar MS, Dohnt HK, Billows MM & McCappin SA (2010) Adolescent sleep and fluid intelligence performance. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 8(3):180-186

Lack LC & Wright HR (2010) Circadian Rhythms and Insomnia. In H Attarian & C Schuman (Eds). Clinical Handbook of Insomnia, 2nd Ed, New York, Springer, pp 243-53

Short M, Lack LC & Wright HR (2010) Does subjective sleepiness predict objective sleep propensity? Sleep, 123-129

Cain NL & Gradisar MS (2010) Electronic media use and sleep in school-aged children and adolescents: A review. Sleep Medicine, 11:735-742

Carney CE, Edinger JD, Morin CM, Manber R, Rybarczyk B, Stepanski EJ, Wright HR & Lack LC (2010) Examining maladaptive beliefs about sleep across insomnia patient groups. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68(1):57-65

Weaver EA, Gradisar MS, Dohnt HK, Lovato N & Douglas PA (2010) The effect of pre-sleep video-game playing on adolescent sleep. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 6(2):184-189

Lovato N, Lack L (2010) The effects of napping on cognitive functioning. In GA Kerkhof and HPA van Dongen (Eds), Human Sleep and Cognition, Vol 185, Oxford: Elsevier Science, 155-166

Tremaine R, Dorrian J, Lack LC, Lovato N, Ferguson S, Zhou XF & Roach G (2010) The relationship between subjective and objective sleepiness and performance during a simulated night-shift with a nap countermeasure. Applied Ergonomics, 52-61

Lack L, Bailey M, Lovato N, Wright H (2009) Chronotype differences in circadian rhythms of temperature, melatonin, and sleepiness as measured in a modified constant routine protocol. Nature and Science of Sleep, 1:1-8

Lack LC, Wright HR, Bootzin RR (2009) Delayed sleep-phase disorder. Sleep Medicine Clinics 4:229-239 (Topic Issue, Circadian Rhythms and Sleep)

Moseley L & Gradisar M (2009) Evaluation of a school-based intervention for adolescent sleep problems. Sleep, 32:334-343

Billows M, Gradisar M, Dohnt H, Johnston A, McCappin S & Hudson JL (2009) Family disorganization, sleep hygiene, and adolescent sleep problems. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38:745-752

Lovato N, Lack L, Ferguson S, Tremaine R (2009) The effects of a 30 minute nap during night shift following a prophylactic sleep in the afternoon. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 7:34-42

Hudson JL, Gradisar M, Schniering CA, Gamble A & Rebelo I (2009) The sleep patterns and problems of clinically anxious children. Behavior Research and Therapy, 47:339-344

Moseley L and Gradisar M (2009) Evaluation of a school-based intervention for adolescent sleep problems. Sleep, 32:334-343

Lovato N, Lack L, Ferguson S, Tremaine R (2009) The effects of a 30 minute nap during night shift following a prophylactic sleep in the afternoon. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 7:34-42

Hudson JL, Gradisar M, Schniering CA, Gamble A and Rebelo I (2009) The sleep patterns and problems of clinically anxious children. Behavior Research and Therapy, 47:339-344

Gradisar M, Wright H, Paine S, Robinson J & Gamble A (2008) Adolescent napping behaviour: Comparisons of school week and weekend patterns. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 6:183-186

Gradisar M, Dohnt H, Wright H, Robinson J & Gamble A (2008) Adolescent napping behaviour: Dysfunctional cognitions and negative affect. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 6:260-263

Gradisar M, Terrill G, Johnston A & Douglas P (2008) Adolescent sleep and working memory performance. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 6:146-154

Taylor A, Wright H, Lack LC (2008) Sleeping-in on the weekend delays circadian phase and increases sleepiness the following week. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 6:172-179

Lack LC, Gradisar M, Van Someren EJW, Wright HR & Lushington K (2008) The relationship between insomnia and body temperatures. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 12:307-317

 

 

Updated October 30, 2013