Experimental Biology Day 2

Another exciting day at the Experimental Biology meeting for physiologists! Although I am a bit nervous about the session on the negative effects of sleep deprivation, “Sleepless in San Diego: Is Sleep Deprivation the New Silent Killer?” Hmmm, maybe I should have gone to bed a bit earlier last night…

Dr. Karen Matthews (Univ of Pittsburgh) has studied the effects of sleep deprivation in teens from low-income families found that less than 6 hours of sleep per night can negatively impact mood, academic achievement and health.

Another talk that I found interesting was on how sleep deprivation lowers circulating concentrations of the satiety hormone leptin. This means that people who are sleep deprived are likely to consume more food. This research was conducted by Dr. Eve Van Cauter from the University of Chicago. 

The highlight of the afternoon was the annual David Bruce Awards and undergraduate student poster session sponsored by the American Physiological Society. It is always such a delight to interact with undergraduate students and hear them talk about their research projects. I can honestly say that physiology has a very bright future with the advancement of these young scientists.

Tomorrow’s highlights:

10:30-12:30 Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section Abstract-driven Featured Topics. These will be relatively shorts talks on topics that were selected from abstracts submitted in comparative physiology research.

3:15-5:15 Comparative Physiology of Aging and Senescence

There will also be numerous posters from researchers doing comparative physiology research that I will share with you.

Last but not least, the annual Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section annual business and dinner meeting is tomorrow night. I always look forward to that event as it is such a delight to see so many students and young faculty receive awards for their achievements in research.


  1. #1 Luyanda
    Pretoria, South Africa
    April 28, 2014

    Hello, I found your research on sleep deprivation very interesting, especially since I’m a person who doesn’t sleep a lot , I found that I suffer from most of the symptoms like ill health and academic achievement

  2. #2 Poelano 14028655
    April 29, 2014

    Interesting topic. From personal experience,sleeping for less than 6 hours has always worked for me. I found that I was more active during the day than if I had slept for more than 6 hours but I hadn’t noticed any change in my consumption patterns. What health issues are associated with sleep deprivation?

  3. #3 Nkamba K 13370261
    South Africa
    April 29, 2014

    It seems sleep deprivation is becoming a very serious health concern. I too have been there, but thanks to a local magazine I just read recently, I am managing the issue very well thus I would like to share a few tips of what to do with other bloggers having the same problem. The following may be vital;

    •Unwind before sleep (e.g. take a shower or read a book)
    •Avoid beverages with caffeine 6-7 hours before bedtime
    •Exercise regularly and sleep around the same time every night
    •Also avoid sleeping pills

    They have worked for me, try them maybe they might do the same for you!? 🙂

  4. #4 A. Karodia (14082102)
    May 1, 2014

    From personal experience as a student I can say that sleep deprivation has effected me and I am more prone to openly speaking my mind and less thoughtful about others feelings.

    However when I get a less than normal amount of sleep I find it much easier to wake up in the morning whereas the reverse if I get a more than a normal amount of sleep because I find it extremely hard to get up in the morning. Is this the case with all people or am I the odd one out?

  5. #5 Kabelo Mpebe
    South African
    May 3, 2014

    This is a very interesting topic for me since sleep is increasingly becoming a rare indulgence in my life. I however think I’m one of the few people that are not negatively impacted by sleep deprivation. I function just as well as people who sleep the recommended hours of sleep. This lifestyle will however impact me in my future since research has found that insufficient hours of sleep can rapidly age the brain for up to seven years and can have an impact on vocabulary and reasoning capacity. This is something teenagers, myself included, do not consider when pulling “all-nighters”

  6. #6 14005655
    May 3, 2014

    In my opinion sleep is the most important factor to a healthy lifestyle. According to studies it is proven that 8-9 hours of sleep is necessary to young people. A full day student should mange time correctly to ensure that enough sleep is obtained. When these 8-9 hours of sleep is obtained, does not matter. From my personal experience I can testify that different sleeping patterns are possible. Sleep deprivation can be a disadvantage affecting your performance and ability to achieve your goals. Thus, it should be everyone’s priority to ensure that enough sleep is obtained.

  7. #7 C. De Freitas u14005621
    May 4, 2014

    The topic of sleep deprivation and eating more particularly caught my eye in this blog article. After doing more research and reading up articles such as that on http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20120314/sleep-less-eat-more , it makes a lot of sense as to why sleep deprivation causes us to consume up to 500 calories more per day. This is just another example as to how sleep deprivation is a silent killer leading to obesity and many more weight-gain linked disorders! As a student myself, it is also easier to identify with as I’ve seen fellow students gain weight – more affectionately known as “the freshman 15” which refers to 15 lbs usually gained by first year university students due to stress and sleep deprivation. The worst part is that people often don’t make the connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain which is why I believe it is an important topic that should be more elaborated on.

  8. #8 N.Rowley(14070384)
    May 4, 2014

    May 5, 2014
    I have noticed in myself that when I sleep less that I want to eat more, is that not just our bodies way of trying to get more energy into our system to try counter act the rest of the negative symptoms?

  9. #9 Geraldine Letlape 13087640
    Pretoria, South Africa
    May 5, 2014

    I hear what the article says but i have to disagree. As a student sleep is often a luxury one cannot afford. On a practical level (from personally experience) your body gets use to your sleeping habits, so if you sleep for 3 hours for long enough, you will end up functioning very normally on that.