Sympathetic activation in adults with inadequate sleep

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Masters by Research
Department / Centre
Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Stephanie Yiallourou Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Vaughan Macefield Personal web page

Summary This proposed study will assess the effect of inadequate sleep on the neural control of blood pressure to determine the role of sleep in hypertension.

Project Details

Sleep health is a national concern with almost 40% of Australians suffering from sleep problems. Inadequate sleep at night, that is not having the recommended duration between 7-9hrs is associated with increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Accordingly, sleep represents a modifiable target for the reduction of hypertension and CVD. However, despite the link between inadequate sleep and blood pressure, there is a lack of mechanistic evidence to support cause and effect.
Sympathetic overactivity is thought to play a role, however to date studies on mechanisms regulating sympathetic activity in inadequate sleepers are lacking. In this novel study we will utilise state-of-the-art fMRI imaging coupled with muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) recordings to investigate how inadequate sleep affects the brain and its regulation of sympathetic activation. This technique allows a window into the functioning brain as it controls beat-by beat blood pressure rhythms. This project will also employ techniques to measure sleep (brain wave activity, muscle tone, eye movements, heart rate,  respiratory rate and oxygen saturation) using home-based polysomnography.
The proposed project will provide the first evidence of whether inadequate sleep  negatively impacts the brain and its control of blood pressure. If successful, inadequate sleep will represent a potential target for risk modification to improve cardiovascular health.
This project is suitable for a PhD or Honours student.

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD students, Masters by Research
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health

Research Node

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

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