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School kids help sleep research

21-07-2009

Teenagers taking part in a study to determine links between obesity and sleep deprivation will create "sleep diaries", charting their experiences over a number of weeks. Over 6000 school pupils in the Midlands region will be involved in the investigation by Heartlands Hospital and Birmingham University.

The results are also expected to shed light on links between sleep deprivation and poor academic performance, as well as the impacts that mobile phones and computer games have on sleeping patterns. Environmental and genetic influences to sleep will also be factored into the study.

“Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to sleep deprivation because their biological clock is telling them to go to bed later, but they are woken up early for school,” said Dr Shahrad Taheri, consultant diabetologist from Heartlands Hospital, who is leading the study. “It is also a time when many teenagers are introduced to mobile phones, games consoles and other technology and this study will show how all this affects their sleep.”

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