There are also sleep studies in which researchers study your sleep habits in a clinic overnight and then publish their findings.
For that kind of study, sleep scientists usually ask for volunteers in newspaper advertisements, TV commercials, or via word of mouth — and then bring them into a special lab for testing. And while the sleep studies that you do for your own health are pretty standardized, the ones done for research purposes vary a lot more.
They’re usually conducted in the same clean rooms with the snacks and the wires, but there’s also monetary exchange. Cordero says he’s heard of volunteers making anywhere from $20 to $3,000 simply for participating.
Many of the research studies are done to simply figure out how normal sleep looks in terms of the stages and the duration.
Other studies may look at the effect of sleep on certain hormones or the physiological changes that happen during sleep (to your heart rate or your blood pressure, for instance), or examine sleep issues, like the ones above, in order to understand them better. Still, other studies might look at the result of certain interventions on sleep, explains Al-Sharif, like the effect of shift work on sleep, the effect of medications and hypnotics, or even sleep habits in certain populations. No matter which kind of sleep study you’re doing, though, it’s important to remember that you’re doing this for a good cause: better sleep — and therefore better overall health — for all.
After all, taking action often leads to answers, and answers often lead to new treatments, and new treatments lead to better sleep and better mental well-being.