Episode 27: Hyperarousal

Having trouble with sleep is not just about what you do at night. How you think and behave during the day impacts on sleep and can result in the brain being over stimulated or hyperaroused at night. In this episode Moira and David discuss how the brain works in insomnia, and talk with Professor Dieter Riemann from University of Freiburg about hyperarousal. What is it? How does it impact on sleep, and what can be done about it?

Dr Moira Junge (Health Psychologist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) host the monthly podcast, Sleep Talk, talking all things sleep.

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Audio Timeline:

  • 00:00 –  00:49 Introduction
  • 00:49 – 02:18 What’s news in sleep?
    • Getting back up to ‘work speed’
  • 02:18 – 23:30 Theme – Hyperarousal
    • 02:18 – 03:40 What is hyperarousal?
    • 03:40 – 13:01 Prof Dieter Riemann – Recognising and treating hyperarousal
    • 13:01 – 19:09 Hyperarousal, regional sleep and the Ebb Sleep device
    • 19:09 – 22:40 Ebb Sleep device for insomnia
    • 22:40 – 23:30 Take home messages around hyperarousal
  • 23:30 – 25:40 Clinical tip: Pay attention to arousal levels across the day
  • 25:40 – 28;02 Pick of the month:
    • 25:40 – 27:00 David – Thrive
    • 27:00 – 28:02 Moira – Smiling Mind app
  • 28:02 – 29:26 What’s coming up in sleep?

Next episode: Sleep and Cancer (Part 1) 

Links mentioned in the podcast: 


Guest interviews:

Prof Dieter RiemannProfessor Dieter Riemann is the Head of Department for Clinical Psychology and Psychophysiology at University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany. Dieter is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Sleep Research and very widely published with over 400 peer-reviewed articles. Prof Reimann’s research group aims to better understand the relationships between sleep, insomnia and mental disorders, especially depression. They combine expertise from psychology, psychiatry and physics to experimentally study sleep with a variety of methods in good sleepers and people suffering from mental disorders and insomnia. Besides striving to understand the pathopyhsiology/ etiology of disturbed sleep in psychiatry they hope to to improve current therapeutic avenues.

Regular hosts:

Dr Moira JungeDr Moira Junge is a health psychologist working in the sleep field, who has considerable experience working with people with sleeping difficulties in a multidisciplinary practice using a team-based approach. Moira has consulted at Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre since 2008, and is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA). She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists wanting to learn more about sleep disorders, and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments, as well as clinical involvement with the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic. She is one of the clinic directors at Yarraville Health Group which was established in 1998. In addition to her expertise in sleep disorders, her other areas of interest and expertise include smoking cessation, psychological adjustment to chronic illness, and grief and loss issues.

Dr David CunningtonDr David Cunnington is a sleep physician and director of Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, and co-founder and contributor to SleepHub. David trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and in the United States, at Harvard Medical School, and is certified as both an International Sleep Medicine Specialist and International Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialist. David’s clinical practice covers all areas of sleep medicine and he is actively involved in training health professionals in sleep. David is a regular media commentator on sleep, both in traditional media and social media, and blogs for the Huffington Post on sleep. David’s recent research has been in the area of non-drug, psychologically-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness in managing insomnia, restless legs syndrome and other sleep disorders.

Connect with David on Twitter or Facebook.

Need more information about how you can sleep better?

At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.

Check our resources or take our Sleep Wellness Quiz for a free assessment of elements that may be keeping you from a good night’s sleep.


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