SciBlogs

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 [...]

Should I cram all night before that exam? Karyn O'Keeffe Sep 25

I’m going to give a presentation to some law students in a couple of weeks. Along with providing information about normal sleep and what can affect it, I’d like to convey that short sleep is not a good strategy for optimising learning. Short sleep amongst students is not uncommon. As a teenager, our circadian body [...]

Learning new information while we sleep Karyn O'Keeffe Aug 31

This week brings some exciting findings about sleep and learning.  In particular, in a study to be published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Arzi and colleagues have shown that it’s possible to learn new information during sleep. To date, research has largely focussed on information storage during sleep rather than new information processing during sleep.  [...]

Driving drowsy is like driving drunk Karyn O'Keeffe Aug 10

This one is an oldie but a goodie, and still as relevant as ever… Just over 10 years ago, Australian researchers showed that our performance at the end of the day, on a day where we’ve decided to stay up late, was similar to our performance when driving drunk.  Essentially they compared how we function [...]

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