Healthy sleep is essential for optimal health, psychological well-being, and reduction of disease risk, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Okun is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). She is the Director of the Sleep and Bio Behavioral Research Lab. Her research focuses on how sleep and sleep disturbances are related to various aspects of health, with an emphasis on pregnant and postpartum women.
Current and recently completed research projects include:
- Assessment of sleep and inflammation in the early gestational period, and how that impacts pregnancy outcomes;
- Whether insomnia during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for postpartum depression;
- The prevalence of insomnia and sleep disordered breathing in menopause;
- Sleep disordered breathing in overweight/obese pregnant women and the biological impact;
- Treatment of sleep problems in older adults with T2DM as a modifier of poor cognition;
- Whether insomnia during pregnancy can influence the vaginal microbiome and preterm birth risk. Read more about her research or see her publications.
Dr. Okun has published over 60 articles and chapters relating to sleep and health and her work has been cited over 1500 times. She has given dozens of invited lectures to students, patients, companies, healthcare providers, veterans and community members. She is currently a consultant for Happiest Baby Inc.
In recent years, she has taught the Intensive Sleep Retraining (aka Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia) workshop in her position as Director of Education and Training at The Insomnia Clinic. Through her efforts, she has helped over 300 people reform habits and improve their sleep quality.
Dr. Okun maintains membership in several professional organizations, including the Sleep Research Society, the American Psychosomatic Society, the Psychoneuroimmunological Research Society, Div 38 of the American Psychological Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She is currently a committee member of the SRS Scientific Review Committee.
Given her expertise, Dr. Okun has served as a peer reviewer for over 3 dozen journals, as well as NIH, DOD, and international grant applications. She was an IRB member for 4 years at UCCS, and directed the Community Health Education Series talks.
Dr. Okun is an active educator and mentor. She is currently teaching at both UCCS and the Community College of Aurora to ensure the academic growth of students. She has also mentored over a dozen students ranging from High School to Medical School.
For more information, see her CV.
For media and information requests, meeting requests, and consultation, contact Dr. Okun.