Sleep and Development Lab Logo

Research questions in the our lab largely focus on the social and emotional development of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. The lab takes a particular focus on how sleep influences this development. These questions are motivated by research suggesting that many youth do not obtain adequate sleep, and that poor sleep can lead to the later development of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. As a result, a primary focus of our research is to understand how sleep patterns shape daytime experiences in ways that make youth more or less susceptible to mental health problems. Ongoing studies examine how both healthy and unhealthy sleep patterns develop, and how these patterns intersect with daytime functioning within various contexts (e.g., school, community, family) and in response to a variety of milestones and experiences (e.g., life stress, puberty, trauma).

 

Research studies often include multiple methods to assess daytime emotional and social experiences (e.g., behavioral paradigms, psychophysiological and neural responses, ecological momentary assessment) and to assess sleep (EEG-based polysomnography, actigraphy). Our lab ultimately aims to promote healthy psychological functioning and emotional well-being in youth.

 

Please visit our website to learn more.

If you are interested in participating in a research study, joining the lab as a graduate student or undergraduate research assistant, or if you have any other questions, we would love to hear from you! Please contact Dr. Palmer at cara.palmer@montana.edu.