Personal profile

Overview

Dr Sophie Faulkner completed a PhD at the University of Manchester funded by a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) / Health Education England (HEE) Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, completing in 2022. Dr Faulkner continues to work on research related to sleep, circadian rhythm and mental health with University of Manchester researchers in Centre for New Treatments and Understanding in Mental Health (CeNTrUM) and Centre for Biological Timing (CfBT).

Research interests

Dr Faulkner’s PhD research set out with the aim to develop 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 involved two systematic reviews and meta-analysis, regarding interventions which alter light exposure patterns to improve sleep in populations with circadian dysregulation.  The meta-analysis examined intervention effects, and the review with mixed methods narrative synthesis examined acceptability and adherence related factors in these interventions.

Phase two involved an expert opinion study, to develop the intervention.  Expert and stakeholder perspectives were sought from mental health occupational therapists, sleep experts, mental health experts, patients and carers.

Based on these findings a novel intervention to improve sleep in people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders was developed: Light-Dark and Activity Rhythm Therapy (L-DART).

Phase three evaluated the intervention developed, through a mixed methods feasibility study. Qualitative acceptability data was gathered, alongside light exposure, rest-activity pattern tracking, and a range of self-reported sleep and wellbeing measures.

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.  It is the aim for this research to lead to in the widespread availability of an effective, non-pharmacological, first line treatment for sleep problems in this population.

Dr Faulkner works as a Specialist Occupational Therapist Researcher in GMMH NHS Foundation Trust, including the Psychosis Research Unit (https://www.psychosisresearch.com/), in a role split between various research projects and knowledge mobilisation activities.  Dr Faulkner has an interest in developing research capacity, runs the Research Interested Clinical Staff group, has provided mentoring to aspiring clinical academics, and has been involved in increasing the number of Research Advocates embedded within clinical teams.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Research, Experiences, perspectives and priorities of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, regarding sleep problems and their treatment., The University of Manchester

20142015

Clinical Scholar's Scheme, The University of Manchester

20122013

Bachelor of Science, Bsc in Occupational Therapy, The University of Salford

20062009

Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, The University of Manchester

20022005

External positions

Specialist Occupational Therapist Researcher, Psychosis Research Unit

1 Aug 2020 → …

Research Therapist (ATT therapist), Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

1 Jul 201831 Jul 2020

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

9 Jan 201630 Jun 2018

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

Areas of expertise

  • QP Physiology
  • ciradian rhythm
  • sleep
  • RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
  • light therapy
  • dark therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • CBTi
  • behavioural therapies
  • Attention Training Technique
  • daily routines
  • activity
  • environmental adaptation
  • inpatient environment
  • wearable electronics
  • R Medicine (General)
  • mental health
  • schizophrenia
  • insomnia
  • CRSWD
  • hypersomnia
  • sleep apnoea
  • psychosis

Keywords

  • qualitative
  • mixed methods
  • thematic analysis
  • framework
  • Patient and Public Involvement
  • Public Engagement
  • research capacity building
  • clinician engagement
  • Phenomenology
  • meta-analyses
  • Evidence Synthesis

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