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Podcast: A Sleep Scientist on New Technology and Sleep as a Social Justice Issue

While the study of sleep is a relatively new field, researchers over the past two decades have revealed the powerful effects of sleep — or the lack of it — on overall health and well-being. But who are these slumber scientists, who research a realm that begins when their patients slip into a dream state?

Sleep researcher Dr. Azizi Seixas and Miller School Dean Henri Ford
Dr. Azizi Seixas speaks with Dean Henri Ford, host of the Inside U Miami Medicine podcast.

Meet Azizi Seixas, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Seixas dedicates his career to advancing our knowledge of sleep to improve the health of communities, particularly those that are underserved. His motivation to specialize in sleep health was spurred by his own struggles and those he witnessed while growing up in a low-income inner city.

“I know exactly how the lack of sleep can have a deleterious effect on your health, your livelihood and every other facet,” said Dr. Seixas, who is also the interim chair of the Department of Informatics and Health Data Science and associate director of the Center for Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences.

On the latest edition of Inside U Miami Medicine, Dr. Seixas shares his journey from growing up in Jamaica to becoming a faculty member at prestigious academic institutions in the U.S. Much of Dr. Seixas’ work focuses on disparities in health outcomes between ethnic and socioeconomic groups —disparities that are correlated with differences in quantity and quality of sleep.

“People believe that sleep is a luxury,” he said. “We believe sleep is a social justice issue.”

That’s why he and his team are committed to translational research and creating solutions that improve the health of these communities. One such innovation is the MILBOX, a project that provides participants with a variety of in-home and wearable technology that acts as a remote health monitoring system.

Tune in to the episode to hear from Dr. Seixas about these inventions and more. Click here to listen on Spotify, or search “Inside U Miami Medicine” wherever you listen to podcasts.

Tags: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Azizi Seixas, health disparities, Inside U Miami Medicine, Inside U Miami Medicine podcast, MILBox, poor sleep, sleep loss