What is the
„Human Sleep Project“?
In the Human Sleep Project (HSP), the world’s leading sleep researchers are using simple methods to study human sleep behaviour in real life. We’re trying to collect and analyse all possible sleep patterns with the aim to define and predict good sleep. HSP’s results will help millions of people.
From lab to life
So far, sleep was mainly studied in the lab, using subjects sleeping in beds that are not their own, with electrodes fastened to their heads. This taught us a lot about sleep (for instance about its different stages such as deep sleep or REM sleep). Despite these insights, we still cannot answer the most basic questions: How much sleep do we need; can sleep quality be measured objectively; or should we sleep in a consolidated episode? In order to answer these and many other questions, we have to study sleep in the real world. The Human Sleep Project (HSP) focuses on investigating sleep in real life across the globe.
Not only to improve sleep
More and more people suffer from some form of sleep disorders, with potentially serious health consequences (the direct and indirect costs are estimated to amount to almost 1% of the GNP). With the help of many volunteers like you, the HSP will soon be able to answer many of the basic questions about sleep, treat sleep disorders and thereby improve health, productivity and quality of life in millions of people.
A quarter of a million participants since 2000
The HSP collects many different data. At present, we predominantly work with questionnaires to study sleep behaviour in everyday life. Some of our studies have been running since the year 2000 and have been used by 250,000 people. In the near future, we will collect activity recordings, which can also tell us a lot about sleep. Many people already wear devices that measure their activity, e.g., to estimate the amount of exercise they get. In the future, one can have HSP analyse these recordings in detail also in reference to sleep.
Sleep without limits
To understand sleep better, we need to study people all around the world in their everyday life with vastly different life styles, young and old people on their work and free days, from all continents between the equator to the pole, in towns and the countryside, from areas with and without electricity. We’d like to know how sleep changed during industrialisation, if city people sleep differently than rural communities and much more.
The Human Sleep Project and its team
The history of the HSP started by studying the internal clock. Within the EU Research Network EUCLOCK, 34 chronobiologists, 29 research institutes and 11 EU countries studied how the internal clock adjusts itself to the 24h rhythm of the earth and how this affects sleep. The Human Sleep Project was a result from these studies and is still „work in progress“. Among the members that started the HSP are the world’s best sleep researchers from Oxford, Harvard, Chicago, Boulder, Surrey, Amsterdam and Groningen.
The HSP was founded by Prof. Till Roenneberg from the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany, which is also its present headquarters.