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Candice A. Alfano

Candice Alfano

Director, Sleep and Anxiety
Center of Houston

Clinical Psychology
Ph.D., University of Maryland,
College Park

Health 1, Room 479

Dr. Alfano will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2024-2025 academic year. Application deadline is Dec 1, 2023. Please see Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data for details.

Biographical Summary

Candice Alfano, Ph.D. DBSM  is Professor of Psychology, a licensed clinical psychologist, Diplomate in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, and Director of the Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston (SACH) at the University of Houston (UH). Dr. Alfano received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2005 and completed her clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Alfano’s research examines how emotional, behavioral, and sleep health interact to buffer against or increase risk for psychiatric disorders. Questions pursued in her work are guided by the central role sleep plays in childhood and a wealth of research showing poor sleep elevates mental health risk across the lifespan. Dr. Alfano uses findings from experimental and longitudinal studies to develop and test novel interventions targeting sleep and mental health in high-risk populations. One of these interventions is Sleep and Adjustment in Foster Environments (SAFE), a brief, trauma-informed sleep intervention for children in foster care. She received a 2022 Texas Citizen Psychologist Presidential Citation from the Texas Psychological Association for this work.

Dr. Alfano’s has served as PI or MPI on research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DoD), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Pediatric Sleep Association (IPSA) and previously for the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM). She is also a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) an the HEALTH Research Institute at UH. Dr. Alfano has published more than 150 scientific papers, chapters, and books.

Recent Research Funding

  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): Experimental effects of light and content from evening screen media use on children’s sleep, executive functioning, and emotion regulation (MPIs: Moreno & Alfano)

  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): SAFE: A Trauma-Informed Early Intervention Targeting Sleep and Adjustment among School-Aged Children in Foster Care (PI: Alfano)
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation (AASMF): Developing and Implementing Sleep Health Education for Foster Care Personnel (MPIs: Ripple, Alfano, Wolfson & McGlinchey)


  • Adult Interventions
  • Child Interventions
  • The Behavior of Sleep
  • Clinical Supervision

Selected Publications

Palmer, C. A., Bower, J. L., Oosterhoff, B., Clementi, M. A., Lau, S., & Alfano, C. A. (in press). Sleep loss and emotion: A systematic review and meta-analysis of over fifty years of experimental research. Psychological Bulletin.

McGlinchey, E.L., Rigos, P., Kim, J.S., Muñoz Nogales, J., Valentine, M., *Kim, J., Ripple, C.H., Wolfson, A.R., & Alfano, C.A. (2023). Foster Caregivers Perceptions of Children’s Sleep Patterns and Sleep Environment. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 48, 254-266.

Alfano, C.A., Valentine, M., Muñoz Nogales, J., Kim, J., Kim, J.S., Rigos, P., McGlinchey, E.L., Ripple, C.H., Wolfson, A.R. (2022). How are the Sleep Problems of Children in the U.S. Foster Care System Addressed? Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 43, 525-532.

Alfano, C.A., Kim, J., Cifre, A.B., Bower, J.L. & Palmer, C.A. (2021). Children’s emotional responses to sleep restriction forecast social problems years later. Affective Science, 3, 383-388.

Alfano, C.A., Bower, J., Harvey, A. Sharp, C.S., Beidel, D.C. & Palmer, C.A. (2020). Sleep Restriction Alters Children’s Positive Emotional Responses but Effects are Moderated by Anxiety. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 61, 1150-1159.

Bower, J.L., McLaughlin, M., Connaboy, C. Simpson, R. & Alfano, C.A. (2019). Factor Structure and Validation of the Mental Health Checklist (MHCL) for use in Isolated, Confined and Extreme Environments. Acta Astronautica, 61, 405-414

Palmer, C.A., Oosterhoff, B., Bower, J.L., Kaplow, J.B & Alfano, C.A. (2018). Emotion Regulation as a Mediator of Sleep Problems and Affective Psychopathology in a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 96, 1-8.

Palmer, C. & Alfano, C.A. (2017). Sleep and Emotion Regulation: An Organizing, Integrative Review. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 31, 6-16.

Reddy, R., Palmer, C.A., Jackson, C., Farris, S.G., & Alfano, C.A. (2017). The Effect of Sleep Restriction versus Idealized Sleep on Emotional Experience, Reactivity, and Regulation in Healthy Adolescents.  Journal of Sleep Research, 26, 516-525.

Alfano, C.A., Smith, V., Reynolds, K., Reddy, R. & Dougherty, L. (2013). The Parent-Child Sleep Interactions Scale (PSIS) for Preschoolers: Factor Structure and Initial Psychometric Properties. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9, 1153-60.