A postgraduate research project addressing poor sleep quality and associated health issues amongst adolescents.

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About the project

Poor sleep quality in adolescents is associated with a variety of health problems, ranging from weight gain to anxiety and depression. Improved sleep quality during adolescence is essential for the current and future health of teenagers.

A contributing factor is the (two hour) shift in sleep pattern, making teenagers more prone to sleeping later and having difficulty in waking up early for school. This leads to discrepancies between weekday and weekend sleep times, with teens tending to sleep for longer at weekends. Not only does this affect their sleep times and habits but also their body clock, at a time when their bodies are already undergoing a great deal of change. During this crucial developmental period, teens are learning to adjust to current school times and will need guidance in changing their sleep behaviours, as poor sleep quality and habits are strongly linked to to mental and physical health issues such as depression, anxiety and weight gain/ inactivity.

Shokraneh Oftadeh Moghadam, a postgraduate research student in the Department of Psychology, is developing a cost-effective, targeted digital intervention; a pragmatic and empowering tool that can help address an important but underreported health issue.

The digital tool will be an interactive website, split into four levels - each level will include a variety of activities such as goal setting, turning goals into habits, barrier/solution identification, quizzes and games. Users will work through the levels over a number of weeks; this will enable them to get gradual exposure to the material and work towards incentives (points) for access to the next level.

The project has been well received at the British Psychology Society's Division of Health Psychology Conference, with Shokraneh presenting an award-winning poster. The project is also featured in the January 2019 issue of the University's newsletter Winchester Research News; read it online.

Contact

For further information, contact Shokraneh.