Sleep on it

Later school start times for NZ teenagers

Karyn O'Keeffe Jul 05, 2013

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 describe any of the New … Read More

Alcohol: sleep aid or hindrance?

Karyn O'Keeffe Jun 11, 2013

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 experienced this on nights where … Read More

Smartphone sleep apps

Karyn O'Keeffe May 06, 2013

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 and sleep timing.  Recently though, … Read More

Should I cram all night before that exam?

Karyn O'Keeffe Sep 25, 2012

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 clock naturally drifts later. Those … Read More

Learning new information while we sleep

Karyn O'Keeffe Aug 31, 2012

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.  For example, we know … Read More

Driving drowsy is like driving drunk

Karyn O'Keeffe Aug 10, 2012

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 when given a placebo drink, … Read More

The (supposed) myth of the 8-hour sleep

Karyn O'Keeffe Mar 12, 2012

Last week a sleep colleague and I gave a presentation to a group of GPs.  It was one of those slightly disorganised things where you know what you’re presenting but not a great deal about anyone else’s presentation.  Our introduction by a GP colleague of ours gave a light-hearted overview of the importance of sleep… including a recent … Read More