We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, the quality and quantity of sleep, however, change continuously as one gets older. Several studies point out that the decreasing amount and disrupted quality of certain sleep stages can predict the risk of neurological and cognitive disorders related to ageing. The study of sleep is, therefore, inevitable with respect to ageing research. Although vigilance and awareness are gradually lessened while falling asleep, our brains are active during sleep as our body and nervous system regenerate and get rid of any harmful substances. Apart from restorative processes, sleep is also responsible for consolidating new information gathered throughout the day and maintaining emotional balance. Less time spent sleeping and poor sleep quality may affect our well-being, mood and physical and mental health. More and more studies suggest that sleep is also related to inflammatory processes and the immune system, although the underlying mechanisms have not been unfolded conclusively yet. The aim of our research is to better understand the interaction between sleep, cognitive, inflammatory and immune processes.
In the sleep study phase of the research, participants wear a portable EEG headband called Dreem while sleeping for six consecutive nights in their homes. Participants are also asked to respond to three questionnaires online – after awakening, in the afternoon and before going to bed each day. After the seventh day of the procedure, there is an opportunity to fill in the daily questionnaires for the following 21 days without the EEG headband, in which they can further evaluate their sleep and daytime experiences.