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Colin A. Espie

BSc, MAppSci, PhD, DSc(Med), FRSM, FBPsS, CPsychol, CSci

Professor of Sleep Medicine

  • Fellow, Somerville College
  • Clinical Director Experimental & Clinical Sleep Medicine Programme, Sleep & Circadian Neurosciences Institute, University of Oxford
  • Clinical Director, The Oxford Online Programme in Sleep Medicine
  • Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
  • Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Glasgow
  • Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Big Health,

Sleep; sleep disorders and their treatment

Roles, research interests and expertise

I am Professor of Sleep Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN), University of Oxford where I founded the Experimental & Clinical Sleep Medicine research programme in the Sleep & Circadian Research Institute (SCNi) and I am Clinical Director of the Oxford Online Programme in Sleep Medicine  ( I am a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow in the University Department of Psychiatry.

I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 1980, and over the years have held many NHS clinical and academic positions in the UK. Before moving to Oxford in 2013, I was founding Director of the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre (1995 - 2012), and I am an Emeritus Professor in the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. I have held Visiting Professorships at prestigious institutions in Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

My expertise is in the clinical and laboratory assessment and treatment of sleep disorders, particularly using Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutics (CBTx), and in studies of the aetiology and maintenance of insomnia disorder. I am interested in the relationships between sleep and mental health and sleep and metabolic health. I have published over 300 scientific papers and written or edited numerous books. I co-founded Big Health/ Sleepio ( to make evidence based digital CBT (dCBT or 'digital medicine') scalable. I am actively involved with the Digital Therapeutics Alliance ( and I serve as co-chair of the DTA’s Clinical Guidelines group.

My grant support is from the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland), Cancer Research UK, National Institutes of Cancer Research, The Wellcome Trust, the Education Endowment Foundation, the Dr Mortimer & Theresa Sackler Foundation, the NIHR/ HTA (in the UK) and NIH (in the USA). 

I serve on the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) Sleep Medicine and Sleep Education committees, and co-chair the ESRS CBT Academy. I am Deputy Editor for the Journal of Sleep Research; and serve on the Editorial Board of Sleep Medicine Reviews. I was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the BABCP (British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies) in 2015, and was awarded the Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award by the Sleep Research Society in 2017.

Over the years I have made regular contributions to public engagement with science on public service broadcasts, and in documentaries programmes on sleep and sleep disorders.