Sleep Disorders

05 August 2015

Participants needed for UCT sleep trial

UCT's Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine is looking for people to participate in a study that aims to investigate the effect of a person's weight on their quality of sleep


The Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM) of the University of Cape Town, based at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) in Newlands, is investigating how well overweight and obese South Africans sleep, compared to their lean counterparts.

Participant recruitment for the two groups is now open. Men with a waist circumference of 102cm or less or women with a waist circumference of 88cm or less in combination with a BMI of less than 25 will be categorized in the lean group, and for those who have a BMI equal to or greater than 25 and a waist circumference greater than the abovementioned limits will be categorized in the overweight and obese group.

Participation involves two (for the lean group) or four (for the overweight and obese group) visits to the SSISA. During the first visit we ask you to complete a questionnaire and perform a fitness test. We will also measure your height, weight, body composition, resting blood pressure, fasted cholesterol and blood sugar. Finally, we will take a blood sample and a swab of loose cheek cells for DNA analysis. We will then ask you to wear a watch-like device that records your activity and sleep for the following seven days. The second visit is solely to return the device (a pick-up can be arranged). For those in the lean group, the study ends here (total of two visits). For those in the overweight and obese group, we will contact you 8 weeks later to perform the same tests again (total of four visits). That’s it!

Unfortunately, there will be no remuneration for participating, but we will do our best to make your participation a fun experience! We will also share the general and your personal results with you. Please note that all participants must be 20 years or older, free of sleep disorders or sleep disturbances (e.g. currently breastfeeding), and not be involved in night-time shift work.

If you want to know more about the UCT Sleep Study, or if you want to sign up, send an email to researcher Rob Henst (MSc) – on Please reply before 4 August 2016.

Read more:

Losing weight to improve sleep

Lack of sleep tied to junk food bingeing

Irregular sleep patterns make you fat


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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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