Deakin researchers to host a 'sleep over' in the name of science

Media release
13 August 2019

Deakin researchers are investigating if lack of sleep can inhibit important muscle-building processes - and they need six resistance-trained women aged between 18 and 35 to restrict their sleep for nine consecutive nights.

Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) PhD candidate Olivia Knowles said she was keen to investigate how sleep restriction affects the muscle strength of people who are sleep deprived, such as night workers, new parents, older adults and athletes.

The six volunteers will stay overnight at Deakin University's nursing quarters at the Burwood campus for nine consecutive nights - but will only be allowed to sleep between 1am and 6am.

On alternating days, the women hit the gym to undertake resistance training. Their training performance will be compared to their training during a nine-day period where they are able to sleep at home from 10pm to 7am each day. In both scenarios, the impact of the sleep and training on their body will be assessed using muscle and blood samples.

Ms Knowles said muscle strength was important for being able to live a healthy and productive life and effectively carry out tasks at work and at home.

But lack of sleep could be depriving those who were sleep deprived from important muscle-building processes.

"We want to know if lack of sleep deprives people of building muscle strength, because muscle strength is linked to the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes," Ms Knowles said.

The first tranche of six female volunteers is currently participating in the nine-day sleepover - more accurately a wake-over - and Ms Knowles hopes to have another six volunteers to start in September.

The study - Investigating the Impact of Inadequate Sleep on Resistance Training Performance and Skeletal Muscle Protein Metabolism - is overseen by IPAN's Associate Professor Brad Aisbett and is expected to report its findings in 2020.

Anyone interested in joining the study, should contact Ms Knowles at: oknowle@deakin.edu.au

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