Prof Sarah Blunden

Prof Sarah Blunden, psychologist (BA Psychology Honours, MSocSc, PhD, MAPS), is Head of Paediatric Sleep Research and Senior Research Fellow, Appleton Institute, CQ University and is the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep and Research.

Prof Blunden has spent the past 10 years researching, treating and lecturing on children’s sleep both nationally and internationally, as well as delivering education and information sessions to the community, educators and health care professionals. Prof Blunden is recognised as an authority on children’s sleep and is widely published in the field. She is a member of:

  • The Australian Psychological Society

  • The Australasian Sleep Association
  • International Pediatric Sleep Association

Prof Blunden is passionate about communicating the importance of sleep to communities. This passion developed during her early years of sleep research and it became apparent that there was a need for sleep education in the community. She has delivered programs for junior and high school students in Australian Schools.

She also directs the Paediatric Sleep Clinic based in Adelaide, South Australia (email contact: for diagnosing and managing sleep problems in children and young people.

Prof Blunden has an interest in all areas of child wellbeing and currently has current research in:

  • Young Media Australia – The relationship between media use and children’s development (

  • The effects of media on development and psychological wellbeing in general and media in the bedrooms in particular (with The Australian Council for Children and the Media (ACCM)

  • The effects of sleep loss on biological markers in adolescents (with School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia)

  • Whether sleep education improves sleep and also wellbeing and quality of life (with SA Health)

Assoc Prof Kirrilly Thompson


Assoc Prof Kirrilly Thompson, is a cultural anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow, Appleton Institute, CQ University in Adelaide, South Australia. Her research interests coalesce around human-animal relations, risk, safety and culture. She has conducted research on mounted bullfighting in Spain (el rejoneo) and show jumping in Europe. Her Australian anthrozoological research projects include pet bed-sharing practices, dog-bite intervention programmes and horse keeping beliefs and behaviours.

Kirrilly is currently leading a three year Australian Research Council project titled ‘Should I stay or should I go? Increasing natural disaster preparedness and survival through animal attachment’ (DECRA 2013). The project will consider ways in which animal attachment can be re-considered as a protective factor for human survival of fires and floods. Kirrilly’s childhood nights were spent sharing her bed with a Siamese cat called Moo.