It seems natural to think that Royette Tavernier’s interest in sleep research came to her in a dream during a deep and very restful sleep.
Actually, the idea for her doctoral thesis started to take form while she was attending a conference during her master’s studies in Brock’s Child and Youth program. She was sharing a hotel room with colleagues and became intrigued by the variety of sleeping patterns she witnessed with her roommates.
“Some people would wake up earlier to have showers,” she says “Some people would go to bed really late at night. Because of those differences in how we went to bed and woke up, I became interested in understanding how all those different sleep patterns were associated with adjustment.”
The topic of adjustment has interested Tavernier throughout her student career and her life for that matter. Her master’s research was devoted to exploring the question of how Canadian students cope with life adjustments.
She easily transitioned into her PhD work in Brock’s Psychology program under the supervision of Professor Teena Willoughby and was awarded a prestigious Vanier Canada Scholarship. The funding supported her work to under take a longitudinal study to understand the role that sleep plays for overall wellbeing and adjustment among university students (and vice versa).
As of October, 2014, Tavernier began a coveted post-doctoral position at Northwestern University in Chicago with funding support by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is continuing her research alongside Dr. Emma Adam, Professor and Chair, of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern. Adam is a developmental psychologist and an expert in the developmental psychobiology of stress and sleep.
“My research shows that interpersonal relationships are very important for good quality sleep among university students,” she says. “University students who have good quality friendships, then have a social support that better helps university student’s to deal with emotional distress that comes with the challenges of university life, and in turn, that has a good impact on the ability to get a good night’s sleep.”
Watch this video ( http://youtu.be/cyHOc-2wU_w ) to hear more from Tavernier about her research into sleep and adjustment