16th May 2017

  Commentary: Starting school later is key to solving sleep problem faced by Singapore students

The move by Nanyang Girls' High to start school later helps adolescents get appropriate rest, argue Duke-NUS Medical School experts involved in the initiative.

SINGAPORE: Channel NewsAsia recently published an article featuring the move by Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH) to a later school start time. As the researchers involved in this initiative, we have been following the response to this article on social media with interest.

Feedback from the public seems to be largely positive, but there have also been concerns raised about the potential costs of starting school later. Our team is not blind to these challenges and we would like to share why we believe that starting school later is advisable in spite of them.

[Read the full article]


10th May 2017

  A big difference in students, after Nanyang Girls starts school later at 8.15am

They are more energised and focused throughout the day, and school didn't even have to end later, thanks to careful planning. But how sustainable is this?

SINGAPORE: For almost a year now, Nanyang Girls High (NYGH) students have been starting school at 8.15am – a good 45 minutes later than most secondary schools.

And the results have been telling.

The school in Bukit Timah has been taking part in ground-breaking sleep studies conducted by Duke-NUS Medical School researchers – whose studies have shown that 80 per cent of teens here don’t get enough sleep, which affects their health, grades and cognitive abilities.

[Read the full article]


21st April 2017

  The ST Guide To... getting a good night's sleep

Depriving a person of sleep is, literally, a form of torture. The United States' Central Intelligence Agency made suspected terrorists stay awake for days in order to gather intelligence from them.

Indeed, just one night of inadequate sleep is enough to irritate us. We feel tired and are unable to function properly or learn and retain information.

Yet, many of us often happily sacrifice some sleep in exchange for time to go clubbing, watch TV or go on social media.

[Read the full article]


17th March 2017

  Don't sleep on it - discover benefits of snoozing longer

Today is World Sleep Day, an annual celebration of the importance of sleep.

While sleep is essential for health and well-being, many people in Singapore are not getting enough of it.

Results of a study released by scientists from the University of Michigan last year showed that Singaporeans clocked an average amount of 7 hours 24 minutes of sleep per day - tying with Japan as the country with the least amount of sleep among 100 nations.

[Read the full article]


17th June 2016

  Note to my sleepy self: Do something about it

In the past year, there has been a slew of local articles about sleep, the health risks of sleep deprivation, the need for work-life balance, as well as letters calling for action to improve students’ sleep.

While there appears to be genuine recognition that something needs to change, the needle has not moved much on a societal or policy level. In this instance, instead of waiting for government action, change can and should actually begin with individuals. Here are five pointers to get us to the tipping point.

[Read the full article]


29th March 2016

  Recovery sleep 'can't fully fix some cognitive deficits'

Earlier this month, Duke-NUS Medical School researchers were featured in a first-of-its-kind study in the United States journal Sleep.

In the study, 56 teenagers, mostly from "elite" high schools and aged between 15 and 19, stayed in a boarding school for two weeks to assess how insufficient sleep could affect cognitive function.

For seven nights, half the teens received five hours of sleep, while the other half had nine hours - the recommended sleep duration for this age group.

[Read the full article]


29th February 2016

  'Need for Sleep': Even elite students are not spared

The legendary work ethic of East Asian students may have driven them to the top of the standardized test leaderboard, but researchers found that adolescents who sleep five hours a night for a week experience significant cognitive degradation.

[Read the full article]


23rd June 2015

  What’s Happening in Your Brain When You Can’t Stay Awake

Anyone who has ever driven home after a red-eye flight or sat through an important but interminable lecture will know the feeling: You’re commanding your brain to stay awake, yet your eyelids feel heavy as lead and they just keep falling shut.

Now a team of neuroscientists based in Singapore has documented what’s going on in the brain when the battle to stay awake is momentarily lost. Ju Lynn Ong and her colleagues put 18 healthy participants in a sleepy state by keeping them awake all night in a psych lab. After being awake for 22 straight hours, the participants were asked to lay in the dark inside a brain scanner for two six-minute scans — and to keep their eyes open the whole time.

[Read the full article]


2nd July 2014

  Less Sleep Pushes Your Brain to Age Faster

Older adults who sleep less show evidence of a more rapid decline in cognitive performance, according to a study by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore.

[Read the full article]


1st July 2014

  The less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age, new study suggests

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore's rapidly ageing society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

[Read the full article]


1st July 2014

  Sleeping less? Your brain will age faster, study finds

Older adults who sleep less show evidence of a more rapid decline in cognitive performance, according to a study by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore.

[Read the full article]


14th March 2014

  Why getting enough sleep matters

Last year, an opinion-editorial that I wrote on the perils of short sleep received an unexpected flood of attention. Some wrote tongue-in-cheek commentaries on local sleep patterns. A few concerned parents made appeals on forum pages to have morning-session secondary schools start later. Others thanked me for helping them counsel their children. Is this acknowledgement that the effects of sleep on health are being taken more seriously? Perhaps not.

[Read the full article]


2nd May 2013

  For Sleep-Deprived Memory Loss, Look to the Visual System

The rising cost of healthcare and the burden of chronic illness are perennial concerns. Remarkably, there exists a measure that a quarter to a third of city dwellers can implement to reduce their risk of accidents, coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer and all-cause mortality, while improving their cognitive performance.

[Read the full article]


Work on risky decision making in sleep deprived persons highlighted in news around the world

 9th March 2011


Time Magazine

Tricks to Improving Your Odds in Vegas: Get a Full Night's Sleep. [read full article]


8th March 2011


Scientific American

Short on Sleep, the Brain Optimisitcally Favours Long Odds. [read full article] 



Bloomberg Businessweek

Sleep Deprivation May Encourage Risky Decisions. [read full article]




Sleep-Deprived People Make Risky Decisions Based on Too Much Optimism. [read full article]  



8th December 2009

Read this article and concerned about MRI scans?

The recent article in The Straits Times, “Dangerous brain scans found” should prove little cause for alarm among Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) participants. The dangerous brain scans in question refer to a series of Computed Tomography, or CT brain perfusion scans. The potential dangers that accompany CT scans do not apply to MRI scans even though from the outside, the scanners look the same. [Read more in our FAQ section]


21st May 2008


Work on lapses in sleep deprivation highlighted in US News and DukeMed News

Using MRI to measure blood flow in the brains of volunteers, researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School found that even after sleep deprivation, participants had periods of near-normal brain function in which they were able to complete tasks quickly....[read more: US News]  [read more: DukeMed News]


  New paper published in Journal of Neuroscience: Lapsing during Sleep Deprivation is Associated with Distributed Changes in Brain Activation
Lapses of attention manifest as delayed behavioral responses to salient stimuli. Although they can occur even after a normal night's sleep, they are longer in duration and more frequent after sleep deprivation... [view pdf]


4th June 2007

  Culture May Make an Impression: Brain-imaging study finds a difference in visual processing between Western and Eastern elders

A lifetime of paying attention to the background may have trained some senior citizens to tamp down part of their brain’s ability to see the foreground, suggest researchers in Illinois and Singapore...

[Read the full article]


22nd May 2007

  For Sleep-Deprived Memory Loss, Look to the Visual System

While it is well documented that sleep deprivation leads to short-term memory loss, it had been believed that it was the result of the brain not being able to assemble and "file away" the information it received in its proper place. However, researchers from the Duke University-NUS Graduate Medical School suggest that the problem occurs earlier in the information-gathering process....

[Read the full article]


9th May 2007

  Blame boneheaded bets on your tired brains: Scientists pinpoint why late-night gamblers lose big time

The later Tim Harris stays up playing poker, the bolder — and more imprudent — he becomes. As it turns out, it’s not just Harris choosing risky options when exhausted. Sleep experts point to disasters like the Exxon Valdez oil spill and Chernobyl as examples of what can happen when people don’t get enough sleep.

[Read the full article]

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