Dr. Amy Bender


Who is Amy Bender, PhD?

Dr. Bender is currently Director of Clinical Sleep Science at Cerebra Medical and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.

Her current research focus at Cerebra Medical is to help people sleep better by improving sleep disorder treatments with more precise digital sleep metrics. She is passionate about translating sleep science for others to understand and take action with interviews on over 30 podcasts, numerous community and conference presentations, and 14 peer-reviewed publications.

She started in the sleep field over 14 years ago as a sleep technologist/RPSGT working at a clinical sleep disorders centre and a world-renowned sleep research laboratory at Washington State University, Sleep and Performance Research Center.

She then received her master’s and PhD degrees in Experimental Psychology from Washington State University where she specialized in interindividual responses to sleep deprivation studying the sleep EEG.

Dr. Bender then came to Canada for a Mitacs postdoctoral fellowship at the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary which was ranked the #1 sport science school in North America. During her work as a postdoc, she helped develop the only validated sleep screening tool for athletes and implemented sleep optimization strategies for numerous Canadian Olympic and professional teams. She won the 2017 Mitacs National award for product commercialization and was selected as one of Mitacs next 150 innovators.

After her postdoc, Dr. Bender was the leader of Research and Outcomes at Calgary Counselling Centre where she managed a team of 10 research analysts/assistants, students, and volunteers with an interest in how sleep and exercise interventions could improve mental health.

She was a former college basketball hall of fame athlete, completed an Ironman in 2009, and currently chases her 3 young kids around.   


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Featured Publications

  1. Walsh NP, Halson SL, Sargent C, Roach GD, Nedelec M, Gupta L, Leeder J, Fullagar HH, Coutts AJ, Edwards BJ, Pullinger SA, Robertson CM, Burniston JG, Lastella M, Le Meur Y, Hausswirth C, Bender AM, Grandner MA, Samuels CH. Sleep and the athlete: Consensus statement. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2020; https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/7/356
  2. Kutschner S, Bender AM, Samuels CH. Fatigue and sleep risk management for the occupational athlete. In Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine: Seventh Edition. Elsevier Inc. 2020.
  3. Jansen van Rensburg D, Jansen van Rensberg A, Fowler P, Fullagar H, Stevens D, Halson S, Bender AM, Vincent G, Claasent A, Dunican I, Roach G, Sargent C, Lastella M, Cronje T. How to manage travel fatigue and jet lag in athletes? A systematic review of interventions. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2020; https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/16/960
  4. Bender AM, Van Dongen HPA, Roll J, Layton M. Sleep disturbance and daytime sleepiness in cigarette smokers attempting to quit without treatment. Sleep Biol Rhythms. 2020; 18:9-16. doi: 10.1007/s41105-019-00235-y
  5. Biggins M, Purthill H, Fowler P, Bender AM, O’Sullivan K, Samuels CH, & Cahalan R.
    Sleep in elite multi-sport athletes: Implications for athlete health and wellbeing. Phys Ther Sport. 2019; 39:136-142. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2019.07.006
  6. Bender AM, Van Dongen HPA, Samuels CH. Sleep quality and chronotype differences
    between elite athletes and non-athlete controls. Clocks & Sleep. 2019; 1(1):3-12.
    doi: 10.3390/clockssleep1010002
  7. Benson S, Bender AM, Wickenheiser H, Naylor A, Clarke M, Samuels CH, Werthner P. Differences in sleep patterns, sleepiness, and physical activity levels between young adults with autism spectrum disorder and typically developing controls. Dev Neurorehabil. 2019; 22(3):164-173. doi: 10.1080/17518423.2018.1501777
  8. Bender AM, Lawson D, Werthner P, Samuels CH. The clinical validation of the Athlete Sleep Screening Questionnaire: An instrument to identify athletes that need further assessment. Sports Medicine-Open. 2018; 4(1):23:1-8. doi: 10.1186/s40798-018-0140-5
  9. Kishi A, Van Dongen HPA, Natelson BH, Bender AM, Palombini LO, Bittencourt L, Tufik S, Ayappa I, Rapoport DV. Sleep continuity is positively correlated with sleep duration in laboratory nighttime sleep recordings. PLoS One. 2017; 12(4):1-19. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175504
  10. Van Dongen HPA, Bender AM, Dinges DF. Systematic individual differences in sleep: Homeostatic and circadian rhythm contributions to neurobehavioral impairment during sleep deprivation. Accid Anal Prev. 2012; 45S: 11-16. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.09.018
  11. Luik AI, Bender AM, Tucker AM, Belenky G, Van Dongen HPA. Systematic interindividual differences in polysomnographic sleep variables. Sleep-Wake Res Neth. 2008; 19:109-112.
  12. Bender AM, Tucker AM, Knittle KA, Belenky G, Van Dongen HPA. Slow wave activity in the first NREM episode is a trait marker in addition to a homeostatic state marker. Sleep-Wake Res Neth. 2007; 18:33-36. pdf