The Ontario Sleep Health Study
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FAQ

Who is eligible to participate in the Ontario Sleep Health Study?

Individuals who have participated in the Ontario Health Study and provided a blood sample to the Ontario Health Study are eligible to participate in the Ontario Sleep Health Study (OSHS).

What if I have a diagnosed sleep disorder such as sleep apnea?

Individuals from the Ontario Health Study who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are still eligible to participate in the study.

What if I use prescribed or over-the-counter sleep aids to help me sleep?

Individuals from the Ontario Health Study who use prescribed or over-the-counter sleep aids are still eligible to participate in the study.

Can more than one person within the same household participate in the OSHS?

Yes, but only if each person has participated in the Ontario Health Study and provided a blood sample for it.

How many people will participate in the OSHS?

It is anticipated that between 2,000 and 4,000 Ontarians will participate in this study. Since 2014, more than 1,700 Ontarians have participated in this study.

How do I participate in the OSHS?

If you would like to participate in the OSHS, then click here or contact the study coordinator Giselle Kraus at 416-480-5143 or ontariosleephealthstudy@sunnybrook.ca. She can answer any questions or concerns that you may have before, during or after your participation in the study.

What will I be asked to do if I agree to participate in the OSHS?

The entire study takes place in your own home. There are no additional costs to you. We will mail equipment to you, which you will use to measure your sleep and biological rhythms over a 10-day period. You will then mail the equipment back to the study centre using a postage-paid envelope.

Why is participation in the OSHS important?

We know so little about the impact of sleep and circadian rhythm disruption on the health and well-being of Ontarians, including effects on common chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. By participating in the OSHS, you will be helping us further knowledge about the genetics of sleep and the effects of sleep disturbances on health and well-being. We hope that this knowledge will lead to the development of new treatments for individuals with sleep and circadian disturbances, and new sleep and circadian-related interventions to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other common chronic diseases.

How will this study benefit me?

Once you have completed the study, we will provide you with data about your sleep and circadian rhythms, including the quantity and quality of your sleep and the likelihood that you have problems breathing in your sleep (also known as sleep apnea).

You will not be paid to participate in this study. However, at the end of your participation, you will be provided with a $10 gift card from your choice of Tim Hortons, Loblaws, Provigo, No Frills, Zehrs or Maxi.

Most importantly, by participating in this study, you will play a valuable role in helping us to understand better how sleep and circadian rhythm disruption affect our health and well-being—knowledge that can be used to design new sleep and circadian rhythm-related interventions to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. In so doing, you will make an important contribution to improving the health of Ontarians for generations to come.

Are there any risks involved in participating in the OSHS?

There are no medical risks involved in participating in this study. Some individuals may experience slight discomfort while sleeping with the study equipment, but most individuals are able to wear the equipment with no effect on their usual sleep.

Will I be paid to participate in the OSHS?

No, you will not be paid to participate. However, you will receive a $10 gift card upon completion of the study as a way to thank you for your participation.

How will my information be kept confidential?

If you participate in the OSHS, then the only individuals who will have access to your personal information are the staff involved in the study and the staff involved in the Ontario Health Study. Ontario Sleep Health Study staff will have access to personal information you provided to the Ontario Health Study, and your data from the OSHS will also be integrated into the main Ontario Health Study database.

Data in the Ontario Health Study database, including the sleep data collected by the OSHS, may be shared with outside researchers who pass a strict scientific and ethical review, but all identifying personal information will be removed prior to this shared access. Therefore, they will have no way of identifying who you are.

Furthermore, when the results of the study are published, your personal identity will not be disclosed. The results published will only refer to the study population as a whole.

Can the sleep results from the study substitute for a visit to my doctor?

No; the results from this study are not meant to diagnose or treat individuals. However, if your results indicate that you may have a sleep disorder, then you will be encouraged to seek professional help. Also, regardless of your OSHS results, if you are noticing sleep problems that are impacting your daily life, then you should visit a doctor to see what treatment may be beneficial for you.

What happens if I agree to the study and then decide I no longer want to participate?

We understand if you decide, for any reason, not to start or complete your participation in the study. However, please inform us as soon as possible via phone (416-480-5143) or email (ontariosleephealthstudy@sunnybrook.ca) if you decide that you no longer want to participate. If we have already sent the package of study equipment to you, then we ask that you please return the equipment to Sunnybrook in the prepaid shipping envelope provided for you in the package.