About the lab
At the Child Sleep, Health & Development Lab, we are dedicated to improving the lives of families and children through research that investigates many factors of family environments that can affect children's sleep patterns, immune system functioning, cognitive and academic performance, and social and emotional development.
Children and families who decide to participate in our research project visit our offices in Haley Center for a 3 to 3.5 hour research session. Currently, we have three research projects; one is funded by NIH (National Institutes of Health), the other by NSF (National Science Foundation), and our newest research project is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.
For both NSF and NIH:
Parents will fill out questionnaires regarding family facts, marital relationship, and their children's health and behavior. The questionnaires for each parent take approximately an hour to complete.
Children who participate in our studies are involved in 3 different activities during their visit with us.
Read below to learn the testing procedure for a child involved in our studies:
The week before the children visit the lab, they wear a “sleep watch” or Actigraph. The sleep watch detects movement and is used as a proxy for sleep amount and quality.
Before we begin the assessments, we take a saliva sample where the child spits into a cup. The saliva sample allows us to determine immune system functioning. We will do this again, after the second assessment (the physiological session).
First (above picture), the child completes a cognitive testing battery to assess their level of current cognitive functioning and ability. This involves tasks such as puzzles, memory recall, and listening skills.
Second (above picture), the child participates in a physiological session that measures heart rate, breathing, and skin conductance.
These measures are used to determine each child's Vagal Suppression and Pre-ejection Period (PEP).
During this session, children listen to a tape that plays a mild argument between a male and a female, as well as complete challenging tasks which include tracing a star in a mirror (above right) and playing with a Rubik’s cube (above left).
Finally, for the third part, the child completes a series of questionnaires with a trained child development research assistant. Questions include items about sleep, physical health, parent-child relationships, etc.
If you are interested in participating in one of our research projects, please contact us toll free at 1-866-838-5823.