Dr. Azadeh Yadollahi, part of the Sleep Science team at UHN's KITE Research Institute, conducting a sleep test in Canada's first soundproof sleep lab. (Photo: The KITE Research Institute)

Everyone needs sleep, but why is it so important? And how much do we really understand about it?

Our bodies operate on a 24-hour internal clock called the circadian rhythm. If this rhythm gets disrupted by a lack of sleep, our bodies can no longer function at their peak.

Long-term disruption can result in negative consequences for both our physical and mental health.

Scientists at UHN's KITE Research Institute are working hard to uncover the mysteries of sleep. This includes furthering our understanding of the impacts of sleep on overall health and identifying ways sleep can be improved.

Two scientists, Dr. Tatyana Mollayeva and Dr. Azadeh Yadollahi, are leaders in this research. While their respective research teams study different areas of sleep, both are focused on improving sleep health for us all.

The brain and sleep

Dr. Mollayeva is part of KITE's Acquired Brain Injury and Society team. She joined KITE in 2010 as part of her PhD project at the University of Toronto. Her project evaluated sleep disruption in patients with mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and its impact on recovery.

Since then, her work has delved into other brain health topics at the population level as she analyzes how sleep disorders cause adverse cognitive reactions in patients.

"There is no brain health without sleep health," Dr. Mollayeva explains. "I want to help build a prevention framework for sleep health with a focus on restoring sleep structure in order to achieve optimal brain health."


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