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Third of our lives

Public lecture: Sleep as a Foundation for Health


By Kelly Foss

Sleep. Why do we do it? How do we do it? And how can you fix it if it gets off track?

Those questions, and more, will be answered by Dr. Sheila Garland at an upcoming public lecture at Memorial.

Dr. Garland is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology and oncology at Memorial University. She is also the director of the Sleep, Health and Wellness Lab.

Sleep stress

“Sleep is something we spend a third of our lives doing and we often take it for granted that it should come naturally,” she said. “Unfortunately for a lot of people, sleep is something that causes them a great deal of stress and this only makes their attempts to sleep even more difficult.”

Dr. Garland completed her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Calgary and post-doctoral training in behavioural sleep medicine and integrative oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

She currently holds funding from the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute and the Newfoundland and Labrador Support Unit for People and Patient-Oriented Research Trials. She is also the recipient of new investigator awards from the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Society for integrative Oncology and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Insomnia prevention and treatment

Dr. Garland’s research and clinical priorities include the promotion of healthy sleep behaviours; the prevention and treatment of insomnia using novel and well-established interventions; the evaluation of how individual characteristics or preference for insomnia treatment influence adherence and outcomes; and understanding how these interventions might impact physical and mental health at a biological level.

“To put it simply, sleep affects every aspect of our lives,” she said.

“My research shows that when we improve sleep using cognitive behavioural therapy, and other treatments, we can also lessen symptoms of depression and overall mood disturbance, reduce daytime fatigue, diminish physical symptoms like pain, improve attention, concentration, and memory, and increase overall quality of life, health, and productivity. That’s pretty powerful stuff!”

Public lecture

Dr. Garland’s lecture, titled Sleep as a Foundation for Health, is hosted by the Faculty of Science. It will take place on Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m. in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, room IIC-2001. Limited free parking will be available in lot 17.

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