Sound Sleep Program

Sleep LR

Approximately 1/3 of the population is experiencing poor sleep quality or quantity every night in Australia. Is that you?

Well, if you are achieving between 7 – 8 hours of quality sleep per night and you fall asleep within 20 – 30 minutes of going to bed, then you are considered a good sleeper. However, many don’t and this is where the Sound Sleep Program comes into play.

The Sound Sleep Program assessment includes;

  • Assessment of sleep quality and effect on you using validated questionnaires
  • Face to face assessment, education and treatment to improve your sleeping quality

Your Physiotherapist will analyse the results of your assessment and completed questionnaires and in conjunction with a face to face discussion with you, identify aspects of your current sleep routine that can be improved.

Some of the behavioural and psychological techniques discussed include;

  • Addressing anxiety-provoking beliefs about sleep
  • Addressing the balance of physical: mental fatigue
  • Appropriate sleep hygiene factors
  • Stimulus control (improving link between bed and sleep)
  • Sleep posture 
  • Sleep expectations
  • Cognative Behavoural Therapy for insomnia

Following this discussion with you, your physiotherapist will outline goals and a plan, to improve the quality and quantity of sleep.

Sleep Research

Doug Cary, Practice Principal of Esperance Physiotherapy developed an interest in the relationship between spinal pain and sleep posture which started with his observations that clients were presenting to health services with morning symptoms of stiffness and pain, having gone to bed with no symptoms. Given we sleep 1/3 of our life, and sleep is a critical part of recovery, both physical and mental, making sure your sleep is restorative is vital. 


Over time Doug developed a theory that certain sleep postures were responsible and provided clients with advice to avoid possible provocative sleeping postures. This approach appeared to have sound clinical reasoning and biological plausibility, and experience provided over time some evidence suggests that changing sleep posture may reduce morning symptoms of pain and stiffness. However, there is very limited actual research examining the relationship between nocturnal posture and pain and it is not known if patients can change or maintain their sleep posture as requested. So in 2011, he enrolled in a Masters by research at Curtin University and over 4 years, undertook research to determine a means of accurately observing and measuring sleep posture in a person's normal environment - not in a metropolitan sleep centre.

In 2015 with this achieved, Doug then upgraded his Masters to a PhD at Curtin University and is firstly looking at whether there is a relationship between certain sleep postures and morning symptoms. Secondly, if a person with morning symptoms is able to consciously change their sleep posture - while asleep. Both of theses questions have not been answered by any other research in the world and will assist clinicians to advise clients on appropriate sleep postures. You can read about the ongoing research here.

In the process of his research, Doug has developed equipment and recording protocols that enable him to assess people's posture while sleeping at night with minimal interference to their normal sleeping routine.