About Dr Craig Phillips

We spend a third of our lives asleep and yet we still know very little about the role of sleep and its disturbance in health and disease. My research specifically focusses on how sleep impacts on cardio-metabolic health in relation to common sleep disorders as well as to exposure to environmental factors that disturb sleep, such as shift work. By understanding the mechanisms by which sleep and cardio-metabolic health are related (from the molecular to whole body physiology level), sleep interventions that promote better health can be developed.

Most of my research focusses on how sleep apnoea and its treatment impact on cardio-metabolic health. A key component of this research involves intervention studies to examine the impact of treatments using rigorously designed randomised controlled trials. These include examining the utility of chronotherapy for the treatment of hypertension in patients with sleep apnoea as well as assessing the impact of weight loss combined with mechanical therapy for sleep apnoea to improve glucose tolerance. These studies help to provide a strong evidence base for changing clinical practice. A new area of my research is now also more broadly examining the impact of rotating shift work on markers of cardio-metabolic health using our unique chronobiology facilities at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. We are conducting shift work simulation studies to try and understand why there is such a high prevalence of cardio-metabolic disease amongst shift workers with the aim of eventually designing interventions to improve the health of shift workers.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a condition characterised by frequent periods of upper airway collapse during sleep, causing sleep fragmentation and hypoxia. Patients with OSA often complain of daytime sleepiness and have associated cardio-metabolic disease including hypertension, dyslipidaemia and glucose intolerance. OSA has been strongly linked to heart disease and stroke. Most of my previous research has focussed on examining the impact of sleep apnoea on measures of arterial stiffness. I was the first researcher to examine arterial stiffness in patients with sleep apnoea using a non-invasive tonometry technique. I have published extensively on this and related subjects including some key randomised controlled trial studies.

Selected publications

For a full list of Dr Phillips' publications please see his Academic Profile page: here