PY0553 - Sleep and Health

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will explore the biological and psychological processes of sleep and circadian rhythms across the lifespan; and critically review the various theories that have been posited to explain sleep and circadian rhythms. You will discuss and evaluate methods of assessment of sleep, including subjective (questionnaires, sleep diaries, clinical interviews) and objective measures (such as actigraphy and polysomnography), as well as the methods of assessment, diagnosis and treatment (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological) of sleep disorders. You will consider the epidemiology of sleep as well as factors underlying inter-individual differences in sleep and circadian rhythms. You will discuss the effects of sleep deprivation in terms of physical, neurological, psychological, and social outcomes and explore the relationships between sleep and physical and psychological health. You will also be introduced to research protocols designed to examine the effects of experimentally induced sleepiness and you will explore the concept of sleep as a health behaviour, and consider how it impacts on quality of life, and how public policy aims to address this. Key studies in relation to sleep and wakefulness which have directed theory, research and clinical practice will be presented and you will discuss these.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of lectures, in-class activities and workshops, along with independent study.

You will attend a series of two-hour research-rich, interactive lectures to learn about the main areas in sleep and circadian rhythm research and theory. These lectures will provide the basic framework for syllabus topics. The interactive elements will involve discussion of the particular topic areas introduced in the taught sessions. The aim of the interactive lectures is to consolidate information learnt through independent reading and to encourage you to apply your knowledge in a problem-based learning situation. You will have the opportunity for group discussion, enabling you to communicate your ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others. Effective oral and visual communication skills will be developed through such activities. During a hands-on workshop session, you will be introduced to the methods of objectively measuring sleep. This will enable you to translate knowledge of sleep to research practice in the laboratory.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the taught elements and assessments available on the e-learning portal (e.g. PowerPoint slides, handouts, reading lists, directed assessment related-activities, journal articles) along with links to websites to encourage further exploration of sleep and circadian rhythms. A discussion board on the eLearning Portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers and to module tutors. This enhances collegiality and also means that support is available to all students. Technology enabled learning will be implemented through the use of Panopto lecture recording.
Interactive lectures, seminars and workshops will provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will be able to understand the relationship between neurological, biological, psychological, hormonal and environmental pathways in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness, and to consider how these factors underlie inter-individual differences in sleep and circadian rhythms
• MK2: You will be able to evaluate the necessity and utility of subjective and objective methods to assess sleep, sleepiness and circadian rhythmicity

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MIP1: You will be able to demonstrate key skills associated with psychological research, including effective experimental design, an understanding of methodologies to address research questions, and effective communication skills
• MIP2: You will take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for career enhancement and future learning. These skills are important for your employability.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MPV1: You will understand and appreciate the value of research in the creation of new knowledge and practice, and effectively communicate this through appropriate media. In doing so you will develop your characteristics as a NorthumbrIa Psychology graduate.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
During the lectures and workshop session, you will be introduced to the methods of polysomnography, actigraphy and sleep diaries to assess sleep. This session will enable you to familiarise yourself with the process of data collection, and calculation of key variables relevant to sleep research. This will be useful for your understanding of data from research articles discussed during the remainder of the module, and will prepare you for the summative assessment by providing hands on experience evaluating sleep using different methodologies, and the opportunity for discussion with peers and the module tutor (MK1, MK2, MIP1, MPV1).

Summative Assessment
There are two assessments for this module. The first is a sleep diary commentary, with an accompanying research proposal (3500 words total; worth 90% of the module mark). You will be provided with a research question, drawing on one of the topic areas covered on the course, and asked to design an experiment to appropriately examine the hypotheses. (MK1, MK2, MIP1, MPV1)

The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP2). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words)

Formative assessments, the module tutor will provide immediate verbal feedback on top of peer feedback provided through discussion in the workshop session.

For the summative assessments, feedback will be provided on the electronic submission in the form of a level-specific rubric. Additional written comments will be provided that identify a minimum of one strength, one weakness and one area for improvement.

You will be required to arrange a workshop with your personal guidance tutor for formal feedback on your reflection.





Module abstract

On this module you will explore the biological and psychological processes of sleep and circadian rhythms across the lifespan; and to critically review the various methodologies that have been posited to examine sleep and circadian rhythms. You will consider the epidemiology of sleep disorders, as well as factors underlying inter-individual differences in sleep and circadian rhythms, and the relationship between sleep and health. A series of research-rich lectures, and a tour of our state-of-the-art Northumbria Sleep Research facilities, will enable you to be introduced to, and gain hands-on experience of, the methodologies available for assessing sleep and circadian rhythms. The module is assessed in 3 parts: 1) a sleep diary and commentary; 2) a hypothetical research proposal to address a set research question; and 3) a reflective passage which evaluates the skills you have gained through the module and how these may be applied to your degree pathway and wider career.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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