Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Early Childhood

Monique LeBourgeois

Keynote Speaker:
Monique K. LeBourgeois, PhD

Sleep and biological rhythms are increasingly recognized as key determinants of both physical and mental health. Understanding of these processes and how they change across early childhood remains poor compared to other life stages. In this talk, I will present data from my lab during the past decade that are helping to close this basic knowledge gap. I will also highlight how interactions between the sleep homeostatic and circadian processes within the context of the environment can influence the development of sleep and behavioral problems in childhood.

Dr. LeBourgeois is Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA. Broadly, her research focuses on the intimate intertwining between the sleeping brain and health during early childhood. One line of research longitudinally examines developmental changes in sleep homeostasis and circadian rhythms across early childhood. Another line uses experimental protocols to determine the health and developmental consequences of young children not sleeping enough or at the wrong circadian time. Her most recent work targets children experiencing chronic inadequate sleep to understand the effects of sleep extension on the neural substrates of emotion processing. Other collaborative lines of investigation involve large-scale studies of the social and demographic predictors of sleep, as well as relationships between sleep and health/developmental outcomes (e.g. asthma, obesity, emotion regulation, verbal ability) in at-risk children. The collective goal of this research is to develop an integrative longitudinal understanding of sleep-related brain and behavioral processes, which may uncover important points of entry for the prevention and treatment of mental illness and physical disease. View entire CV and her laboratory website.