Skip to main content

Royal Holloway to carry out its first overnight sleep study to explore how a lack of sleep affects your ability to learn

  • Date02 February 2018

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, will be carrying out overnight sleep studies in their sleep laboratory to identify which stages of sleep and sleep-specific brain activations are critical for memory and learning.

Sleep study

Royal Holloway's sleep lab

 

The sleep lab, based in the Department of Psychology, consists of two bedrooms with specialist equipment that allows academics to record electrical brain activity (EEG) in sleeping participants.

The research, funded by the ESRC, will focus on asking volunteers to learn to read in a completely new and unfamiliar alphabet. The participants will then be deprived of sleep the following night and will then be tested to see how well they have learnt the unfamiliar alphabet.

Lead researcher, Dr Jakke Tamminen said: “We're testing to see how critical sleep is after learning, and how it applies to learning to read.”

A second experiment, using new volunteers, will first deprive participants of sleep for one night and then they will be taught the unfamiliar alphabet.

Dr Tamminen explains: “So in the second experiment the volunteers are learning in a sleep deprived state, and we're interested to see how learning is impaired by this.

“The purpose of these current experiments is to establish whether sleep is critical for learning and generalisation of that newly learned information. When both groups of participants come back to be tested we importantly not only test them on the words that they were reading in the training session, but also on words that they haven't been asked to read before but uses the same alphabet. This allows us to see if they have learned the new alphabet well enough to read words they have never seen before.”

The researchers are currently looking for participants to take part in the studies. Volunteers will be paid for their time and must be between the ages of 18-24 and be native speakers of English.

To find out more about the study or to register your interest in the experiment please contact Benedetta Cevoli or visit the Psycholgy department.

Related topics

Explore Royal Holloway

All undergraduates starting with us in 2020 onwards have the opportunity to take a Placement Year, which will add even more value to your studies.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

They say the two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today