Project ID NS-MH2023_20


Co Supervisor 1A IoPPN/Psychosis StudiesWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B IoPPN/Psychosis StudiesWebsite

Exploring the use of virtual reality for improvements in sleep heath: the case of virtual zeitgebers

Background: Acknowledging sleep health as a key marker of overall health and the adoption of a systems approach to its study, promotion, and amelioration led to major developments in sleep research. Sleep is recognised as a proxy of health rather than the mere expression of symptoms and disorders. The adoption of a bioecological model understands sleep as socially patterned, creating opportunities for broader scale public health interventions that contemplate individual and social determinants.

Primary aim(s): The use of technology to entrain cycles of light-darkness and improvements of sleep health is yet to be addressed in the literature. The main objective of the project is to explore the use of virtual reality scenarios as a pathway to mimic naturally occurring environmental sleep cues as a pathway to improvements in sleep health.

Planned research methods and training provided:

Training on systematic reviews and meta-analyses, multivariate longitudinal analysis, such as structural equation modelling, latent variable models, multi-levelling modelling, latent growth modelling will be required.

Objectives / project plan:

Year 1: Summarise the findings of previous research on the impacts of light projected by technological devices on sleep health. The review considers sleep health as a multidimensional concept and potential impairments in broad outcomes.

Year 2: To study the potential of virtual reality to simulate distinct environmental conditions and the impact of lighting conditions on sleep health

Year 3: To explore the incremental validity of virtual immersive experiences to trigger physiological responses using eye-tracking and actigraphy.

Representative Publications

D’Oliveira, T. C. & Anagnostopoulos, A. (2020). The association between shift work and affective disorders: A systematic review, Chronobiology International, 1-19.

Porffy, L. A., Mehta, M. A., Patchitt, J., Boussebaa, C., Brett, J. D’Oliveira, T. C., Mouchlianitis, E., Shergill, S. S. (2022). VStore: A novel virtual reality assessment of functional cognition: Validation study. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 24(1):e27641.