Entry for:Rob Pierce Grant in Aid 2018
1. Please provide a brief description of the project for which the funds will be used.
Poor sleep is a major problem for emergency personnel, who are also at high risk of trauma-related mental health problems, especially PTSD. Traditionally considered a symptom, emerging research suggests sleep disturbances raise the risk of PTSD, along with depression and anxiety. The proposed project in paramedics will examine if sleep disturbances and physiological responses are associated with mental health symptoms. Particularly, I expect to demonstrate that impaired sleep disrupts neuroendocrine responses, which are in turn, associated with more severe mental health symptoms. As an ECR, this grant will help cement my niche in the field by providing the equipment necessary to undertake the project. Importantly, this work also provides a foundation for future longitudinal research in paramedics. Such studies are sorely lacking, yet are requisite to examining the role of sleep in the etiology of mental health disorders. By undertaking this work, I aim to guide occupational practices targeting sleep to reduce mental health risk. The project will therefore help launch my independence as a researcher, and strengthen my program of research in counteracting the impact of poor sleep on mental health. Ultimately, this work will help safeguard the health of emergency workers and the communities they serve.