Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

SBM’s Newest SIG Wishes You a Good Night’s Sleep!

Tracy Trevorrow, PhD, Chaminade University Center for Medical Psychology, Sleep SIG co-chair; and Brian D. Gonzales, PhD, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Sleep SIG chair


The Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM) Sleep Special Interest Group (SIG) held its inaugural breakfast roundtable at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, at 7:15 a.m. The irony of starting so early escaped no one! As such, 22 somewhat groggy but enthusiastic SBM members launched SBM’s newest SIG. A SIG focused on elevating the awareness of the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in health and well-being.

The development of the Sleep SIG coincides with a growing interest in sleep research and clinical sleep management, both inside and outside our organization. In the last decade, the number of research articles published each year addressing sleep issues has doubled to approximately 8,000 in 2015. Over the same period of time, the number of presentations at SBM annual meetings addressing sleep has increased seven-fold. This growth parallels that of accredited sleep disorder centers in the U.S., of which there are now over 2,500.

Sleep can often be overlooked as a behavioral medicine issue. However, sleep parameters are both powerful predictors of health outcomes, as well as measurable consequences of behavior, health status and psychological problems. The interdisciplinary nature of sleep can be appreciated by considering the number of disciplines at SBM that relate to sleep, such as pain, exercise, obesity, substance use, cancer and chronic illness. Sleep quantity and quality can be improved by behavioral, psychological, educational and environmental interventions, as well as community and organizational policy. As such, sleep is best understood from a biopsychosocial and environmental perspective and is ideally suited to be a topic of interest for SBM.

The Sleep SIG will serve as a forum for advancing behavioral sleep medicine through collaborations among SBM members, increasing sleep-related program presentations and workshops, and supporting junior investigators who have interests in sleep. We invite all SBM members to consider joining us. There is no need to be a dedicated sleep researcher or clinician - the “sleep-curious” are welcome! Students interested in exploring sleep research and/or clinical training in the development of their careers are especially encouraged to join us. Our Student Liaison Jessee Dietch is standing by to provide support and resources.

SBM 2017 Annual Meeting Events

In addition to posters and presentations that focus on sleep and circadian rhythms, we are anticipating practical and hands-on workshops. One will focus on the whys and hows of incorporating sleep assessment in behavioral medicine research as well as the state of the science and another on practical guidelines for addressing sleep disturbance among cancer patients. The Sleep SIG will be presenting an award for Excellence in Graduate Student Sleep Research, which will come with a certificate and a comfy pillow. We are also looking forward to our second SIG business meeting, which we have proposed for a little later in the day!