Sleep serves a functional role in cognitive wellbeing across our lifespan. It is a sensitive indicator and predictor of mental problems in healthy and pathological aging. Sleep disturbances such as frequent awakenings, abnormal timing and poor sleep quality are common in older adults. They are amongst the earliest symptoms to appear in conditions like Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and one of the most common non-motor symptoms impacting the patients’ mental wellbeing. A hypothesis is that sleep disruption is central to PD onset and disease progression in turn drives further sleep disruption. Improving sleep could break this self-perpetuating cycle and thereby reduce the burden of mental decline.
Slow oscillations in electrical brain activity during sleep (known as slow-wave-sleep; SWS) are restorative and functionally critical for waking activities and wellbeing. SWS in particular, has been shown to benefit performance in declarative tasks such as word-pair associate learning. Whether modifying neural parameters of sleep, such as EEG, is as beneficial for People with Parkinson’s (PwP) is an open question and the central on in this research. Specifically, the project will explore ways of achieving this in sleep in a natural environment. Therefore, the use of wearable technologies and non-pharmacological approaches, such as acoustic stimulation, will be the focus of this PhD.
The project will be supervised by Drs Nayantara Santhi and Annette Hand. The project will be based at Northumbria University. It is a collaboration between faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University and SOMNOmedics GmbH (Germany).
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
· Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
· Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
· Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDFC22/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 11th July 2022
Interviews: approx 25th July
Start Date: 1 October 2022
Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers.
Informal enquiries to Dr Nayantara Santhi ([Email Address Removed])