Ms Sophie Faulkner

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Sophie is undertaking a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) / Health Education Englans (HEE) Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, and commenced in April 2017.

Sleep problems are very common in people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and are linked to worse symptoms and poorer functioning.  The dysregulation of circadian rhythm so commonly experienced by people with these conditions can also significantly interfere with social inclusion and pursuit of vocational and social goals.  Despites this there is a lack of evidence based clinical guidance for the management of sleep problems in this population, and availability of non-pharmacological sleep interventions remains poor within secondary care mental health services. 


This project aims todevelop an acceptable, safe and user-centred behavioural treatment for poor sleep in schizophrenia spectrum disorders, incorporating input regarding daytime activity, and delivered by an occupational therapist.  Occupational therapists specialise in addressing routines and daytime activity, and are therefore well placed to deliver sleep interventions, given suitable training in sleep science.


Phase one of this project is a systematic review and meta-analysis, regarding interventions which alter light exposure patterns to improve sleep in population with circadian dysregulation.  (Protocol available here:


Phase two will involve a Delphi study, to develop the intervention.  Expert and stakeholder perspectives will be sought from mental health occupational therapists, sleep experts, patients and carers, and service managers and care co-ordinators.


During phase three the intervention will then be evaluated through a mixed methods feasibility study.  Qualitative data will be gathered by trained service user researchers before and after intervention, and analysed using Framework Analysis.  The study will evaluate acceptability, and feasibility of larger scale testing.


Results will inform further development or larger scale testing of this intervention.  Data from this study will also support the development of a short training package to enable mental health occupational therapists to deliver this intervention.  In the mid-term it is the aim for this line of research to lead to in the widespread availability of an effective, non-pharmacological, first line treatment for sleep problems in this population.


External positions

Occupational Therapist / Care Co-ordinator, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

9 Jan 2016 → …

Occupational Therapist, Adults of Working Age, Acute Inpatient Wards, South Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust

9 Jan 201228 Feb 2016

Locum Occupational Therapist, various posts, Pulse Allied Health

Feb 2010Mar 2017

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

Education / academic qualifications

  • Master of Research, Experiences, perspectives and priorities of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, regarding sleep problems and their treatment., The University of Manchester (2014 - 2015)
  • Clinical Scholar's Scheme, The University of Manchester (2012 - 2013)
  • Bachelor of Science, Bsc in Occupational Therapy, The University of Salford (2006 - 2009)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, The University of Manchester (2002 - 2005)

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