Sleepy Limerick volunteers needed

Sleepy_OK_214572K2a_thumbMARY Immaculate College (MIC) is seeking volunteers for a new study on stress and its effect on the heart.

Recent research suggests that by having less than the recommended 7½ to 8 hours sleep, people may experience emotional and cardiovascular responses to stress, which are comparable to those of people at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

The Department of Psychology at MIC is now seeking volunteers to take part in a new study of stress and its effects on the heart. The ‘Sleep, Heart, and Health (SHH) Study’ will look at how a person’s style of emotional regulation can be affected by their sleep duration, in turn affecting how their heart responds to everyday stress.

Researchers are recruiting volunteers aged from 18 upwards to participate in the study.

“As part of their busy modern lives, people often neglect to get the recommended amount of sleep, and this has the potential to make people experience negative emotions. Unfortunately, this can lead them to respond to everyday stress in a potentially harmful way, which has been shown to cause increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in the long term,’ explained project manager Dr Paul Mulcahy.

“The findings from this study will enable us to better understand the links between personality, emotions, sleep duration, and cardiovascular diseases. They will also provide information for the development of health promotion strategies which can be targeted to the general population,” he added.

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The study will compare different styles of emotional regulation and subsequent cardiovascular responses to stress by having volunteers attend the Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Lab at MIC on two occasions – once when they are normally rested, and once while they have had about 40 per cent of their normal amount of sleep.

During the lab session, volunteers will be asked to complete questionnaires and engage in short psychological tasks, and their cardiovascular responses will be measured using state of the art monitoring equipment. Researchers aim to enrol about 100 men and women as participants, and expenses incurred will be reimbursed. A New Horizons Award from the Irish Research Council funds the study.

For more details on how to participate in the study contact Dr Paul Mulcahy at 061-204944 or visit the website at

by Alan Jacques