What's wrong with pulling an all-nighter, you ask?
Amani Saini - October 2, 2013
We have all done it: cutting back on sleep so we can pull an all-nighter to write a paper, spend an extra few minutes to Skype with a friend, take extra time to catch-up on a TV show or cram for an exam. Though it may not have seemed like an issue — pushing through the next morning with coffee or energy drinks — loss of sleep can have a drastic effect on an individual’s body.
According to Dr. Penny Corkum, a registered psychologist and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, “Many university students experience sleep problems, particularly short sleep duration and difficulties falling asleep. Although some students may have a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, many students’ sleep problems are a result of lifestyle factors.”
This week, the sixth Conference of the Canadian Sleep Society, which is being held in Halifax, will bring together over 500 national and international delegates and sleep researchers to discuss and exchange ideas on the very latest scientific results concerning healthy sleep and sleep disorders from infancy to adulthood. The event theme, “Make Time 4 Sleep,” encompasses the importance of sleep, which is often overlooked in western society.
Literature has shown that reduced sleep can cause damage to mental and physical health, as well as pose learning difficulties.
“When sleepy, individuals may have poorer attention and memory skills, more difficulty regulating their emotions and may even be at risk for more accidents and health problems,” says Dr. Corkum. Though she recommends that adults get about eight hours of sleep, there is large individual variation in sleep need. She says, “A good test is that you are likely not getting enough sleep if you do not wake spontaneously in the morning and feel refreshed.”
Dr. Corkum and her team at Dalhousie are currently working to understand the link between child mental health disorders (especially ADHD) and sleep. The team is also researching how to treat sleep problems in children. The “Better Nights, Better Days,” (BNBD) study, funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research, has developed a web-based intervention for insomnia in children. The intervention is currently in the testing stage and will be launched across Canada in the Spring of 2014.
For more information on the BNBD study, please visit betternightsbetterdays.ca.
Students and health-care professionals wanting to learn more about sleep science are welcome to attend the Canadian Sleep Society Conference on October 5 and 6. More information can be found at http://www.canadiansleepsociety.ca/
A pre-conference day on Friday, Oct. 4 will include workshops for health-care professionals as well as a series of workshops for students. More information can be found at https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/css13/Friday/
In addition to these learning opportunities, there are two free public lectures, one on dreaming and the other on sleep in children. More information can be found at https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/css13/public/
comments powered by Disqus