About sleep and circadian rhythms
Sleep is very important for our physical and mental health and well-being. As adults, we spend one-third of our lives asleep, but insufficient sleep, poor quality sleep, and sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, are common and have a major impact on our health.
Circadian rhythms, which are our 24-hour biological rhythms governed by an internal ‘biological clock,’ also influence health. Disrupted circadian rhythms, as experienced by millions of Ontarians who do shift work or have jet lag, can lead to accidents, lost productivity and many common health conditions.
A growing number of studies suggest that sleep and circadian rhythm disruption may be playing a key role in driving the growing burden of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and brain disorders such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease in Ontario.
However, there is still a lot we do not know about the genes influencing our sleep and circadian rhythms. There is also a lot we do not fully understand about the impact of sleep and circadian rhythms on various physical health conditions. That is why the Ontario Sleep Health Study is so important. We hope the study eventually will help us design various interventions to lessen the impact of sleep disruption and deprivation on the health of Ontarians.