National sleep survey seeks participants
3 August 2010
Sleep researchers from the University of Sydney have teamed up with ABC Science to run a national survey on how well the Australian population sleeps.
The researchers from the University's Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep (CIRUS) and Woolcock Institute are running the Big Sleep Survey all through August.
The survey will seek to answer some interesting questions such as:
- How much sleep are we actually getting?
- Have mobiles and laptops in the bedroom affected our sleep?
- How many people experience 'parasomnias', such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors and restless leg syndrome?
- Is someone's snoring driving you crazy?
Professor Ron Grunstein from the Woolcock Institute said the important role of sleep had been well documented.
"Although we don't know the exact function of sleep, we know that it is important," he said.
"Why else would animals give up an opportunity to reproduce, eat, drink or socialise and risk being eaten? Loss of sleep results in sleepiness and impaired alertness with consequences for our safety.
"However, sleep is a complex state and recent theories on sleep function suggest the sleep state is not a universal, all or nothing condition. Sleeping and waking seem to exist simultaneously in different brain regions.
"This is a likely explanation of why some people can walk or talk in their sleep. It may explain why people with insomnia feel like they are awake when the brain electrical signals that we record suggest they are asleep."
The first Sleep Survey was run in Australia 10 years ago.
To register, go to the Big Sleep Survey 2010 website. Participants can submit the survey anytime during August 2010.
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