A Canada-based researcher is launching what it says will be the largest ever sleep study, and is searching for help from 100,000 people to get it done.
Western University neuroscientist Adrian Owen says the sleep-and-cognition will help researchers learn the effects on our brains of sleep and sleep deprivation.
“Many of us are working more erratic hours and sleeping less, while the pace of our lives seems to be accelerating,” said Owen. “We know that this sleep disruption affects us in some ways, and that some people feel the impact more than others, but there’s surprisingly little research into exactly how our brains deal with these sleep deficits.”
A suite of 12 online tests will be used to assess how changes in sleep patterns affect performance. To take part, users register online – at worldslargestsleepstudy.com. The idea is then, over a three-day period, to do the brain-function tests and fill in a questionnaire regarding sleep.
Volunteer participants will then get a report on how they fared, and how they stacked up against others who’ve done the same testing.
The testing will be conducted entirely online at www.worldslargestsleepstudy.com, which is designed by neuroscientists through Cambridge Brain Sciences, to test different types of thinking. Study participants will be asked to track their sleep over a 3-day period, while playing a set of scientifically valid tests of brain function. Participants will be able to check in after their three days to see how their sleep values and performance compare with the other volunteers’. Researchers will then analyze sleep and cognition data with the intention of sharing the results of the study six months after launch.
Based on responses to a previous, ground-breaking study on the efficacy of brain-game training, Owen expects this will draw hundreds of thousands of participants from around the world. While other sleep studies have boasted of being the “largest” none have been subject to the scientific rigor of this study, nor have they examined links between cognition and sleep.
You can learn more about the study from this video, produced by Western University: