Dr Sally Staton is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow with a strong interest in the impacts of early life experiences on children’s long-term health and development. Her research focuses on the role of early childhood education and care contexts as places of early develop intervention. Her previous research includes the most internationally comprehensive study of sleep practices in early education and care settings with focus on child and family health and wellbeing. Dr Staton’s research spans a range of study designs and methodologies, including longitudinal studies tracking large child cohorts (>2000 children), standard observation techniques (in vivo and video), survey and individualised standard child assessment, as well as studies employing physiological (cortisol, actigraphy) and qualitative (child, educator and parent interviews, socio-metric) designs. She also has a strong track record in research translation including reports for government and non-government organisations, development of professional development packages, and presentations and workshops to parent groups, government departments and the early childhood sector. In 2016, she was named among Queensland’s Young Tall Poppy Scientists.

  • Research Interests
    • Sleep health and development
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Early care environments
    • Early childhood education and care policy
    • Carer and parent sleep practices
    • Child health and well-being
    • Early social interactions
  • Publications
    1. Pattinson, C., Smith, S., Staton, S., Sawyer, E., Trost, S., Thorpe, K. (2017). "Weighing in on international growth standards: Testing the case in Australian preschool children". Obesity Reviews. In Press.
    2. Staton, S., Smith, S., Pattinson, C. &Thorpe, K. (2016). Mandatory naptimes and group napping trajectories in childcare: An observational study. Behavioural Sleep Medicine. 14(1) 1-15.
    3. Staton, S., Marriott, A., Pattinson, C., Smith, S., Thorpe, K. (2016). Supporting Sleep in Early Childhood Education: An assessment of observed sleep-times using a sleep practices optimality index. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 2: 30-34.
    4. Sinclair, D., Staton, S., Pattinson, C., Smith, S., Marriott, A., Thorpe, K. (2016). What parents want: Parent preference regarding sleep for their preschool child when attending Early Care and Education. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 2: 12-18.
    5. Pattinson, C., Allan, A.C., Staton, S., Thorpe, J.K., Smith, S. (2016 online view). Environmental Light Exposure is Associated with Increased Body Mass in Children. PLOS ONE. Jan 6th 2016.
    6. Staton, S., Smith, S., Pattinson, C. & Thorpe, K. (2015). Mandatory naptimes in childcare and children’s nighttime sleep. Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics, 36(4), pp. 235-242. 
    7. Thorpe, K., Staton, S., Sawyer, E., Pattinson, C., Haden, C. & Smith, S. (2015). Napping, development and health from 0-5 years: A systematic review.  Archives of Disease in Childhood. 100, 615-622. 
    8. Staton, S., Smith, S., & Thorpe K. (2015). “Do I Really Need a Nap?”: The Role of Sleep Science in Informing Sleep Practices in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings. Translational Issues in Psychological Science. 1(1), pp. 32-44.
    9. Staton, S., Irvine S., Pattinson, C., Smith S. & Thorpe, K., (2015). The sleeping elephant in the room: Practices and policies regarding sleep/rest time in ECEC. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Vol 40, Issue 4, p77-86.
    10. Pattinson, C., Staton, S., Smith, S., Sinclair, D., & Thorpe, K. (2014). Emotional Climate and Behavioral Management during Sleep Time in Early Childhood Education Settings. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 29, 4, p660-668.

Staff Details

+61 7 334 67698

NHMRC Research Fellow


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Bachelor of Behavioural Science, Honours Psychology (First Class) - QUT

Graduate Diploma in Psychology - QUT

Bachelor of Creative Industries - QUT