Cognition Workshop 5/11: Dr. Lauren Whitehurst

Physiological and psychosocial correlates of “good sleep”: Implications for cognition, health, and aging

What makes your sleep “good”? Few wake intrusions? Falling asleep once your head hits the pillow? Waking up refreshed and ready for your day? All the above? Science is still grappling with the answers to this question, yet we do know that a period of sleep helps us think, learn, and remember better. Additionally, specific neural changes during sleep support human cognition. To date, my research program has examined how these neural features and specific changes in our body 1) help us define “good” sleep and 2) support cognition. In this talk, I will review this body of work and identify future directions aligned with this research trajectory. Additionally, data suggests that 35% of people do not get the recommended amount of sleep at night. This widespread sleeplessness comes with significant costs to our overall health. Yet, the burden of sleep loss does not fall on everyone equally. I will discuss disparities in sleep health and access, discuss historical links, and on-going and future projects that address these topics.

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