BrainCanDo is pleased to be able to welcome two sleep experts, Dr Nicola Barclay from the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (Oxford University) and Dr Fran Knight from the Institute of Education (UCL) hosted at Queen Anne’s School on Thursday 21 June, 7pm – 9pm.
Uncovering the Secret World of Sleep – Dr. Nicola Barclay
We spend almost a third of our lives asleep, yet what happens to our brain and body whilst we slumber? Whilst we think of sleep as a time when our body winds down, there are actually a host of complex physiological processes governing this secret side of our lives. These processes help to make sleep a somewhat automatic process, but are not stable across the lifespan. Rather the composition of our sleep and its timing vary at particular time points in our lives, from unsynchronised circadian rhythms during infancy, to delayed rhythms that are out-of-sync with societal expectations during adolescence, and finally advanced timing and fragmented sleep during older adulthood. Distinct biological changes are responsible for these alterations in sleep across the lifespan, and an understanding of these processes will enable us to change our perceptions of what is considered ‘normal’, and to put in place behavioural or societal modifications to embrace change. In this talk, Nicola will address these crucial points and also explain what we can do to try to get enough sleep in our 24/7 lifestyles.
Sleep-dependent learning and daytime function in childhood & adolescence – Dr Fran Knight
The sleeping brain is far from idle. Mounting evidence highlights a central role for sleep across a range of mental and physical health domains that are vital for healthy development, including physical growth. Research also highlights the importance of good sleep for learning and education. In this talk, I will present evidence and theory outlining sleep-dependent learning; the observation that memory for newly acquired information is strengthened following a night’s sleep. I will also discuss the negative effects of poor sleep on attentional and behavioural functioning, which in turn may have a disruptive influence on learning within a classroom setting. During the talk, I will draw parallels between the consequences of poor sleep in childhood, and the profile of difficulties associated with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Finally, I will make a case for promoting healthy sleeping habits in our developing populations, specifically those who suffer problematic sleep, as an effective and inexpensive way of providing an advantageous foundation for education on an individual level.