Tech Blog: University of Arizona and University of Pennsylvania Faculty Collaborate in Effort to Alleviate Sleep Insufficiency

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
UA Tech Focuses on Adults Suffering from Sleep Insufficiency

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep. But what causes sleep disorders? Why do 50-70 million adult Americans suffer from sleep insufficiency? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that a variety of societal factors, like constant use of technology and high-stress work schedules, are to blame [1]. While it is recommended that children and teens get approximately ten hours of sleep daily, adults only need about seven to eight hours. Unfortunately, 35 percent of adults reported sleeping less than seven hours per night [1]. Not only can lack of sleep effect a person’s performance of daily tasks, but it can also lead to a variety of long term health issues.

Having dedicated his research to the consequences of lack of sleep and the real-world issues that lead to it, UA faculty member Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, CBSM, FAASM, develops solutions for insufficient sleep to help improve health and daytime efficiency. Grandner, who directs the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona and serves an assistant professor of medicine, psychiatry and psychology, began this research while teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. During his time there, Grandner collaborated with mentor and colleague Michael Perlis, PhD, an expert in non-medication treatments for insomnia, to understand the need for an “individually tailored method that was scalable, relatively inexpensive to implement, and based on existing sleep and behavior change principles.”

To do so, Grandner and Perlis needed to address two key problems. First, the solution needed to account for unknown variables in sleep/ability to sleep. At the same time, it needed to improve sleep without drastically increasing time in bed. Grandner’s reason for this was that “chronic insomnia develops when there is a mismatch between sleep opportunity and sleep ability. If you spend excess time in bed unable to sleep, you can program your brain to be awake in bed.”

Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, CBSM, FAASM

To learn more about Michael Grandner and his research in sleep insufficiency, click here.

After Grandner joined the University of Arizona, their collaboration continued, which has resulted in the on-going development of a software platform that focuses on incorporating individualized, self-correcting methods tailored to improve sleeping habits and increase time slept. This technology uses a comfortable wearable to track an adult’s sleep habits. Users will be guided through a program that will help to increase sleep and ultimately improve health and mental function without requiring them to input data manually. And while this technology is targeted for adults experiencing sleep insufficiency, those seeking better sleep can benefit as well.

As the technology is being developed, Grandner and Perlis are working towards eventually being able to integrate it into one of the numerous sleep monitoring devices currently available.

To learn more about this technology, check out:

UA17-046 An Individualized Method for Increasing Sleep Time via a Technology Platform

To learn more about other healthcare software technologies available from the University of Arizona, check out:

UA16-123 eHIP – The eHealth & Intervention Platform

UA16-016 Systems and Methods for Analyzing Healthcare Data


[1] “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Problem.” Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health

Problem, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Sept. 2015, Accessed 14 Apr. 2017.

[2] “Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, CBSM, FAASM.” Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, CBSM,

FAASM | The Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona Health Sciences, The University of Arizona Health Sciences, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.

- written by
Taylor Hudson