University of Helsinki
Institute of Biomedicine
Presentation of the project
The biomedical and sociological effects of sleep restriction
Good sleep in combination with healthy nutrition and adequate physical exercise form the basis for good quality of life and good health. Disorders of sleep lead to diminished quality of life, health deterioration and a predisposition to accidents. An individual’s quality of life can be markedly improved if sleep disorders can be prevented and/or treated adequately. Significant economic savings can be achieved in society through improving sleep, in decreased accident rates, diminished health care costs and increased productivity.
The aim of the project is to identify factors (molecular, physiological, behavioural, sociological) causing sleep loss and clarify the physiological and behavioural consequences of sleep loss. How age, gender, clock genetics and social context impact on these responses will be investigated among both women and men at different stages of the life course. Also, we will assess how the response to sleep loss is associated with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. These findings will help to alleviate the detrimental consequences of sleep loss and effectively treat sleep disorders, improve the quality of life, promote healthy ageing and help people to stay employed longer.
We expect to be able to establish to what extent sleep loss is a risk factor for several social (e.g. early retirement and family disintegration) and pathological (diabetes, cardiovascular disease) conditions. We also aim to investigate the effects of acute and chronic sleep loss on metabolic function of the brain and body as well as immune function. Equally important is the research conducted on the cellular mechanisms of sleep loss, which will be addressed using modern methods of basic biomedical research, including imaging studies, in vivo microdialysis, in situ hybridization, and experiments with knock-out mice. The duration of the project will be 4 years.