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2000 Problem Sleepers Wanted For Online Sleep Test

2000 Problem Sleepers Wanted For Test Of Online Sleep Programme

A Wellington psychologist wants 2,000 problem sleepers to test a web-based sleep programme.

Ross Gilmour believes the programme at represents a breakthrough in the field of sleep management.

A registered psychologist with 25 years experience as a clinical and organisational psychologist, Mr Gilmour developed the Web-based programme with a small group of colleagues.

"While there are excellent facilities for people with specialised sleep problems such as sleep apnoea, there is very little for people who are otherwise healthy but have problems getting off to sleep or staying asleep.

"It's these people we can help very effectively.

"We've had great results teaching specific skills face-to-face with individuals and groups. The web site delivers essentially the same sleep programme online.

"We now want to test whether our success rate varies as a result of users doing the programme over the web."

Mr Gilmour says that most problem sleepers who take the off-line Sleepwell Programme can expect to be sleeping well again within a few weeks to three months - depending on how deeply entrenched their sleep problem is.

"I'd expect similar results from online delivery - but won't know for sure until it's been tested."

New Zealand research indicates that in any given year, about 25 percent of adults will have sleep problems, with a far greater proportion of shift workers, between 50 percent and 80 percent, Mr Gilmour says.

"About 10 percent of adults will rate their sleep problem as 'extremely distressing'."

People who are otherwise healthy, can be reassured that a sleep problem is highly treatable.

The initial causes of sleeplessness are very varied. These include stress, ageing, boredom, grief, depression, rapid weight loss, certain foods and drinks, pain and external causes such as shift work or children who wake at night.

Sleeplessness becomes an ongoing problem once the conscious brain has conditioned the subconscious brain into this pattern.

"Our programme helps people to re-condition their subconscious brain, using several techniques such as positive affirmations and visualisation that have also been proven effective in fields such as performance enhancement for athletes."

The Sleepwell programme comprises 11 modules, each of which takes about half an hour to complete online and some of which involve interactive exercises. People who want to get a taste can try two modules for free.

Modules cover topics such as "What we need to do to get to sleep and why we can't force ourselves to sleep", "How to programme your internal alarm clock to keep you asleep", "Getting back to sleep if you happen to wake".

Anyone aged 16 and over can register for the Sleepwell Programme. The normal charge of US$90 per person has been reduced to US$20 per person for the first 2000 people, including 1,000 shift workers, registering to participate in the trial.

"We need a modest charge to help filter out people who are merely curious," Mr Gilmour says.

All research participants will be supplied with a double audio cassette that supports the programme and Gilmour notes that, "These are so effective they are banned from use in any moving vehicle".

Contact for further information:

a.. Ross Gilmour, M.A., Registered Psychologist, Member New Zealand
Psychological Society, Phone +64 4 566 4078 (work) or 021 482323 or +64 4
568 3622 (home); E-mail
b.. Press enquiries: Patrick FitzGerald, WriteUp, phone +64 4 385 7527
or 025 440 527, E-mail

More information and production-ready images

a.. Sleepwell programme "a breakthrough in treating sleep problems" (9
June 2001)
b.. About the Sleepwell Test Programme: 2000 problem sleepers required
for sleep research (9 June 2001)
c.. Up to 80% of shift workers have sleep problems: new programme
teaches shiftworkers to sleep well (9 June 2001)
d.. Online help for problem sleepers (9 June 2001)
e.. E-Learning website aims to put people to sleep (9 June 2001)
f.. Profile: Ross Gilmour, developer of Sleepwell programme

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