Sleep & stress in health and in transition from acute to chronic diseases - from neurobiological mechanisms to novel treatment approaches (SLEEPWELL). SLEEPWELL is a multidisciplinary, translational and future-oriented research network bringing together expertise from clinical medicine, psychology, genetics, neurobiology and neuropharmacology.

Researchers from different stages of career are assembled around the core scientific idea: the importance of sleep in resilience to stress and in recovery processes.

We work from bedside to bench, and back to bedside to extend our understanding on the role of sleep in plasticity processes during the different stages of development, with a particular focus on youth and young adults. Our research is based on the hypothesis that disturbed sleep has a central role in developmental processes and in the transition of an acute illness to a chronic disease such as depression, anxiety disorder, or chronic pain. The methods of research extend from population-based and clinical samples to experimental research and animal models.

Our ultimate goal is to develop evidence-based novel interventions to prevent the disease development to chronic conditions via promoting brain plasticity by tools such as face-to-face and internet-based psychosocial treatments, neurostimulatory and novel pharmacological approaches, as well as enhancement of slow wave activity by targeted stimulation of brain.

Tiina Paunio

Professor of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Research Professor, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Leader of the research group "Sleep and Health" at UH and THL. Our research is focused on understanding mechanisms behind interindividual variability in susceptibility to immediate and late effects of environmental stress and sleep insufficiency.

Marko Elovainio

VTT, Dos. Professor of Psychology, University of Helsinki / Research Professor, THL. The focus will be on analysing the effects of psychosocial stress on sleep problems and health outcomes across the life course.  

Iiris Hovatta

PhD, Associate Professor in Neurogenomics, Department of Biosciences. We investigate gene-environment interactions in psychosocial stress-induced anxiety, with special interest in finding factors that confer resilience to stress-induced anxiety. 

Eija Kalso

MD, PhD, Professor of Pain Medicine, University of Helsinki. We investigate the role of sleep in the triad of chronic pain, anxiety, and depression with focus on how different interventions may mediate their effects on pain, quality of life, and function through improved sleep.

Mauri Marttunen

Professor of adolescent psychiatry, University of Helsinki. The focus will be on studying the effects of sleep problems in youthful depressive and related disorders and their outcome. 

Anu-Katriina Pesonen

Docent, Professor of developmental and clinical psychology. The focus is on psychosocial treatments of sleep regulation problems in youth and on the individual variation in plasticity-related sleep microstructures.

Tomi Rantamäki

Docent, University of Helsinki. The focus is to understand the role and interconnections of neuronal plasticity, sleep and circadian rhythms in the mechanisms of action of biological treatments of depression (prescription antidepressants, ketamine, ECT). 

Tarja Stenberg (Porkka-Heiskanen)

Adjunct professor, Leader of the research group “Sleep Team Helsinki”, Department of Physiology, Medicum. Our group studies the basic mechanisms of sleep and insufficient sleep mostly using animal models. We are particularly interested in the role of sleep in brain plasticity mechanisms and inflammatory reactions.

Henna-Kaisa Wigren