Australia: You’re exhausted!

14 May 2019

We spend around a third of our life asleep-that’s approximately 25 years, so ISSR is trying to find out how we make the most of it.

On 19 March 2019, three of UQ’s leading researchers addressed a sold-out crowd at UQ’s Custom’s House on why sleep is so important. They argued that we can target sleep to answer a range of questions about human biology and behaviour and seek new ways to harness its restorative powers.

Dr Sally Staton (ISSR), Associate Professor Simon Smith (ISSR) and Associate Professor Bruno van Swinderen (Queensland Brain Institute) all believe in the power and potential of sleep and look at it through different lenses. At the UQ Global Leadership Series event, Associate Professor van Swinderen presented the fruit fly as a model for studying the impact of sleep on the brain and for animal behaviour, while Dr Staton focused on the role of sleep for early childhood development based on her research in early childcare and education settings. “Sleep is influenced by our genetics but also by the world around us” says Dr Staton. “Kids can be experiencing a sort of jetlag simply because of the social context we provide for sleep”. Associate Professor Smith reflected on the far-reaching effects of the lifestyle and social factors that undermine sleep quality, including negative impacts on health, emotion and communication. “In the factors that affect sleep quality we can find real and new opportunities to create change on a range of levels” says Associate Professor Smith.  

Couldn’t make it to the event? Listen to the podcast here.