Dr Sally Staton
Queensland University of Technology
Sleep is important. Science tells us that night sleep has long-term effects on our health, linked to obesity, accidents and poor mental health. But what about day sleep and how does it relate to health? The focus of Dr Staton’s research is sleep in early childhood (age 0-5) – a time of rapid brain development in which lifetime sleep patterns are established. She seeks to know whether more naps support or disrupts children’s sleep health in the short- and long-term. Sally uses childcare centres as a “natural experiment” to study day-sleep, comparing compulsory and non-compulsory daily sleep times. She has found that day-sleep reduces the duration of night-sleep in preschool children, even when they no longer go to childcare. This finding is important in that it has enormous potential to impact on their health and well-being.
Sally has been interviewed for both television and radio here in Australia and has attracted interest from International online outlets such as the Huffington Post, Live Science and Health Daily. She has also discussed her work on parenting websites via podcasts. She was contracted by the Department of Education and Training in 2015 to create the SLEEP program (Sleep Learning for Early Education Professionals) for childcare educators, service providers and assessors.