Sleep and Biological Rhythms


The Sleep, Fatigue and Circadian Rhythms research group conduct a range of basic and applied research projects related to the sleep/wake and circadian systems of children and adults. In particular, we examine the effects of sleep loss and circadian disruption on cognitive function, accident risk, physical health, and mental well-being; we develop, implement, and evaluate tools, procedures, and systems to minimise fatigue risk in safety-critical workplaces; and we collaborate with industry and government stakeholders to inform policy and practice regarding safe hours of work.


The Appleton Institute has a world-class sleep research facility at CQUniversity's Adelaide campus. The facility has two adjacent accommodation suites that are set-up like serviced apartments. Together, the suites can house up to six participants concurrently, each with their own private bedroom, lounge room and bathroom. Each suite also has a kitchen, dining room and laundry, so participants can reside in comfort. The suites are equipped with technologies that permit continuous monitoring of a variety of measures related to the sleep/wake system, the circadian system and cognitive functioning.

Professor Sarah Blunden, PhD

Director - Masters of Clinical Psychology and Head of Paediatric Sleep Research
08 8378 4513

Sarah is a clinical psychologist specialising in children’s sleep.  Sarah is Head of Paediatric Sleep Research and the Founder/Director of the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep and the Paediatric Sleep Clinic. Sarah is also Chair of the Indigenous Sleep Working Party, elected paediatric representative of the Education Committee, and Chair of the Sleep Guidelines working party of the Australasian Sleep Association. Sarah has presented over 70 conference presentations and published over 100 academic papers and books, including ‘The Sensible Sleep Solution’ for infants and the 'Boss of My Sleep Book’ for toddlers. Sarah’s areas of research interest are sleep education for schools, communities, families and psychologists, behavioural sleep interventions and indigenous sleep health.

Sarah Blunden CQUniversity Staff Profile

Professor Drew Dawson, PhD

Research Professor, Industry Liaison Lead and Associate Vice-Chancellor (South Australia)
08 8378 4507

Drew is a Research Professor at CQUniversity, Industry Liaison Lead and the Associate Vice-Chancellor of CQUniversity’s South Australia Region.  Across his career, Drew’s research interests have included the influence of light and melatonin on the human circadian system, quantifying the effects of fatigue in comparison to alcohol intoxication, development of risk management systems to control fatigue and creation of biomathematical models to estimate the fatigue levels associated with irregular work schedules.  Drew advises industry, government, and regulators regarding the identification, assessment, and control of fatigue-related risk.

Drew Dawson CQUniversity Staff Profile

Dr Michele Lastella, PhD

Senior Lecturer - Psychology
08 8378 4536

Michele is a Senior Lecturer at the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science with research interests in sleep, recovery, training load, sport psychology and sexual behaviours. Michele completed his Honours degree in Psychology in 2009 at the University of the Sunshine Coast and a PhD at CQUniversity in 2015. His PhD examined the stressors that impact the sleep and mood of elite athletes. Michele has received substantial media attention related to his novel research project exploring the perceptions of sex as a sleep-promoting behaviour where he won the 2017 CQUniversity 5 Minute Research Pitch (5RP) competition and was runner-up in the 2017 National 5RP Competition. Michele has experience conducting both laboratory and longitudinal field studies, in collaboration with a number of elite sporting organisations. Being a former elite athlete, Michele brings experience from both an athlete's perspective as well as a researcher perspective.

Michele Lastella CQUniversity Staff Profile

Professor Greg Roach, PhD

Sleep & Circadian Physiology 
08 8378 4510

Greg is a Research Professor at the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science. Greg did his undergraduate studies at the University of Adelaide, then completed his PhD – examining the disruption caused by night work and transmeridian travel – at the University of South Australia. Since completing his PhD, Greg has worked in research-intensive positions – initially at the University of South Australia and now at CQUniversity. Greg’s research is targeted toward making discoveries about the human sleep/wake and circadian systems that can be translated into improved policy and practice to improve health, safety, and productivity. Greg has conducted projects in the sleep laboratory, in high-fidelity road, rail, and flight simulators, and in the elite sports, long-haul transportation, mining, and healthcare industries.

Associate Professor Charli Sargent, PhD

Senior Research Fellow in Sleep & Circadian Physiology
08 8378 4516

Charli is an Associate Professor at the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science. Charli graduated with a PhD in exercise physiology in 2006 from the University of Adelaide. Since that time, Charli has pursued two major areas of research: (i) laboratory-based studies examining the impact of sleep loss and/or irregular sleep patterns on health, fatigue, exercise performance, and cognitive function, and (ii) field-based studies examining the sleep/wake behaviours of elite athletes during training and competition. Charli has served as an editor and organiser for international scientific journals and conferences, she has taught research methods courses for undergraduate students, and she provides supervision for Honours, Masters, and PhD students in the areas of psychology and physiology.

Charli Sargent CQUniversity Staff Profile

Associate Professor Olav Muurlink, PhD

Sleep and Circadian Biology.
07 3295 1154

Olav is a social and health psychologist, with a focus on working time (including overwork/workaholism, shift work, evening and night work, unusual working hours or weekend work hours) and counterattitudinal behaviour.  His non-academic background took him into manufacturing (both in China and Australia), media (newspapers and radio), and agriculture (as a fruit and vegetable farmer on the Granite Belt). Olav is also closely involved with developing world education, and is chair of the management committee/head of country of one of the largest educational charities in Bangladesh, Co-operation in Development, founded by Fred Hyde AM.  His work in Bangladesh has extended his research interests into public health issues, climate impacts on health and welfare and demographics.

Associate Professor Olav Muurlink CQUniversity Staff Profile

Dean Miller

Research Officer

Dean Miller is a Research Officer and PhD Candidate at the Appleton Institute of Behavioural Science. Dean completed his undergraduate degree in Psychological Science and Exercise Science at the University of Adelaide. Since then Dean has been completing his PhD – examining how to measure, monitor and manage the sleep of athletes. Dean’s has conducted research examining (1) the impact of exercise timing on sleep, (2) jet lag countermeasures for athletes, (3) the validity and implementation of wearable sleep devices. As a Research Officer, Dean’s primary role is to conduct laboratory studies related to the WHOOP strap, a wearable device capable of measuring sleep and other physiological measures.

Dean J Miller Research Gate profile
Dean J Miller Scopus profile
Dean J Miller Twitter profile