Sleep and mental health.

The BBC’s All in the Mind Radio programme often details interesting examples of research that can spark your students’ interest in Psychology.  Recently, the editor of the British Psychological Society appeared on the programme and outlined recent research. One of the most interesting findings from sleep researchers Putilov et al. was that we are not all either owls or larks, but there are two intermediate chronotypes.  (So far listeners to the programme have proposed “swifts” and “dodos or pelicans”).  This relates to other research on sleep and time of rising which suggests that those of us who rise early are more proactive and feel more in control of our lives. Of course, it could be that those who have their energy burst later in the day are disadvantaged by routine work hours and would do better with a flexible day that started and ended later.

Sleep deprivation studies have a long history, and lack of sleep has been linked with obesity, anxiety and depression, and reduced cognitive performance.

Questions regarding the relationship between environment and physiology can be answered using sleep or lack of it.

ASAP Science video asks “What if you stopped sleeping?”

What is still not know is why some people throughout their lives and, with little effort, sleep better, longer and deeper than others.  That would be useful research indeed! Sleep well…

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