Teenagers and electronic devices: Use at night affects sleep Karyn O'Keeffe Nov 26

Anyone with teenagers will know that they prefer to go to bed later and get up later than most adults. This pattern occurs as a result of biological changes to the timing of their circadian body clock, which shifts later relative to the day/night cycle. These changes can make it difficult for teenagers to fall [...]

Can we sleep more efficiently? Karyn O'Keeffe Aug 11

Most of us have days when we wish there were a few more hours to get things done.  The solution proposed seems relatively straightforward, cut sleep short and sleep more efficiently.  Right? It is suggested that one way to achieve this might be with polyphasic sleep.  However, from a scientific point of view, polyphasic sleep [...]

False memories after sleep deprivation Karyn O'Keeffe Jul 29

Last week I read a cool study about false memories after sleep deprivation.  Published the week before in Psychological Medicine, the study was comprised of several experiments which examined whether sleep deprivation was associated with creation of false memories of witnessing a plane crash or after being fed misinformation. The researchers asked 193 undergraduate students [...]

World Sleep Day Karyn O'Keeffe Mar 14

Every year on the third Friday of March is World Sleep Day – a day when we aim to educate others about the importance of sleep and promote ways of getting good, healthy sleep. Each year also has a theme, such as “good sleep, good aging”, “sleep well, grow healthy” and “drive alert, arrive safe”. [...]

Sleep disorders in New Zealand teenagers Karyn O'Keeffe Dec 09

Last week saw media reports stating that, alarmingly, almost 40% of New Zealand teenagers have a sleep disorder. This stemmed from a Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners press release, and a paper published in the Journal of Primary Health Care. At face value, these findings are very concerning indeed. The study surveyed 1388 [...]

Food cravings and sleep Karyn O'Keeffe Sep 10

Some of you may have seen or heard last month’s news reports stating that when we are sleep deprived, we crave junk food.  These reports stemmed from a study conducted by Stephanie Greer and her colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, which investigated changes in brain function after one night’s sleep deprivation, compared to [...]

Later school start times for NZ teenagers Karyn O'Keeffe Jul 05

Last week, Radio NZ interviewed Dr Paul Kelley, an educational researcher from the UK, on educational outcomes in adolescents when school timing is shifted to a later start time.  From a sleep science point of view, I wasn’t blown away by Paul’s interview and I was surprised that Radio NZ had opted to not to [...]

Alcohol: sleep aid or hindrance? Karyn O'Keeffe Jun 11

Many of us are aware that we get off to sleep quite easily when we drink large amounts of alcohol before bed, and its sedating effects sometimes mean that alcohol is used as a sleep aid in those that are having trouble sleeping.  However, alcohol is very disruptive to sleep (some of us may have [...]

Smartphone sleep apps Karyn O'Keeffe May 06

For a few months now, I’ve been playing around with a sleep app to get a better idea of how easy they are to use, what data I could collect, and whether I’d remember to input my sleep data every day.  When I first started using it, I was mainly interested in my sleep duration [...]

Daylight savings: There’s no spring to my step Karyn O'Keeffe Sep 28

Most of us don’t look forward to the switch to daylight savings time that will be required on Saturday night. I know I’m not. It’s not just the hour of sleep lost; daylight savings also requires a resetting of our circadian body clock. And this is where things get complicated, because the interaction of the [...]

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