Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Asleep on the Job: Tweens Take Part in Sleep Study

19.02.2010
We spend a third of our lives asleep, but scientists don’t exactly know why.

“There are so many theories out there … but it’s still one of the great unsolved mysteries of science,” says Jenn Vriend, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, whose research area is sleep. “We do know there are some restorative effects, a need to be refreshed. And we think sleep affects our learning processes and emotions.”

Napoleon claimed he only needed a few hours shut eye a night. And Margaret Thatcher famously boasted that she needed five hours of sleep when she was the prime minister of Britain. But most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night and children need more, about 10 to 11 hours a night.

But these days, there is so much to keep kids awake later. There’s just one more video game to play; friends to message or talk to; and please, please, please mom and dad – Lost starts tonight and it won’t be over until 11 p.m.

“These are the kinds of things that are pushing bedtimes back later and later,” says Ms. Vriend, who knows a thing or two about sleep deprivation as the mom of an active 11-month-old baby. “And yet, it’s not like school start times have changed.”

Ms. Vriend is embarking on a study to see how restricting sleep affects the behaviors, cognition and emotions of children aged eight to 12 years old. Can even minor changes in sleep impair a school kid’s learning, memory, attention and concentration? How about their mood? (Ask any parent who has woken up a growly teenager who went to bed late and they’d probably say yes.)

“There are hardly any studies on sleep and learning among children,” she explains. “I realized someone needs to look at this.”

Previous studies of adults have found that sleep deprivation significantly impairs the brain’s “executive control system,” which helps people organize, prioritize, and focus on tasks. But few studies have focused on children. Those few have tended to examine extreme rather than modest sleep deprivation, she says.

For the study, participants wear an actigraph, a device on the wrist like a watch that detects movement. Information gleaned from the actigraph is used to determine the children's sleep schedule— the time they fell asleep, how long they sleep and whether they wake during the night. The information from the actigraph corelates to a sleep diary completed by parents which notes such things as when the lights went out, wake up times and naps.

With the approximate bedtimes and waketimes established over the first week, the participants will then be randomly assigned to either shorten their sleep length by one hour for four nights in a row (bedtime one hour later) or to lengthen their sleep by one hour (bedtime one hour earlier). Each child then switches to the opposite schedule for the third week of the study. After each of the three weeks, children will come to the laboratory to be tested for their ability to think, learn and regulate their emotions.

Ten-year-old Briana McNamara was happy to do her part for science by taking part in the sleep study. “I really liked it and I liked wearing the actigraph,” says the Grade 5 student who normally gets 10 hours of sleep each night. “It felt cool explaining it to everyone.”

And she says she learned something about herself. Going to bed later sometimes gave her a mild headache and made her tired at school. “I found out that if I get more sleep, I wake up feeling much more active,” she says.

Others involved in this study include co-investigator, Fiona Davidson, a masters student at Mount Saint Vincent University, and Ms. Vriend’s supervisors, Penny Corkum and Ben Rusak. The sleep study is supported by a grant from the Dalhousie Psychiatry Research Fund and a Student Research Award from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.

Charles Crosby
Senior Advisor, Media
Dalhousie University
902.494.1269
charles.crosby@dal.ca

Charles Crosby | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.dal.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers devise microreactor to study formation of methane hydrate

23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts

23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>