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The DREAM study

Researcher profiles:

Diet, Rest, Eating and Activity Monitoring

The DREAM study focuses on the relationship between sleep, nutrition, obesity risk and exercise in children aged 8-12 years.

One in three New Zealand children are overweight or obese. While diet and physical activity have traditionally been the focus of obesity research, it is now clear that inadequate sleep is a strong independent risk factor for obesity in children.

Does not getting enough sleep change what children eat or how active they are?

The DREAM study is a trial investigating changed sleep patterns in children. The researchers will assess whether and how not getting enough sleep changes what children eat and how they behave.

The researchers will follow children for several weeks, including one week to understand normal sleeping behaviour and two weeks of sleep intervention. During the sleep intervention there is one week that the children will be asked to go to bed an hour earlier than normal, and one week that the children will be asked to go to bed later than usual.

Some careful measurements will be done to help us understand whether being tired really does affect what children eat and how active they are.

Learn more about the DREAM study


Jackson R, Haszard JJ, Morrison S, Galland BC, McIntosh D, Ward AL, Meredith-Jones KA, Taylor RW. Measuring short-term eating behaviour and desire to eat: Validation of the child eating behaviour questionnaire and a computerized 'desire to eat' computerized questionnaire. Appetite. 2021 Dec 1;167:105661. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105661.

Morrison S, Galland BC, Haszard JJ, Jackson R, McIntosh DR, Beebe DW, Elder DE, Ward AL, Meredith-Jones K, Taylor RW. Eating in the absence of hunger in children with mild sleep loss: a randomized crossover trial with learning effects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Oct 4;114(4):1428-1437. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab203.

Ward AL, Jospe M, Morrison S, Reynolds AN, Kuroko S, Fangupo LJ, Smith C, Galland BC, Taylor RW. Bidirectional associations between sleep quality or quantity, and dietary intakes or eating behaviors in children 6–12 years old: A systematic review with evidence mapping. Nutrition Reviews. Published online 13 January 2021. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa125

Ward AL, Reynolds AN, Kuroko S, Fangupo LJ, Galland BC, Taylor RW. Bidirectional associations between sleep and dietary intake in 0-5 year old children: A systematic review with evidence mapping. Sleep Med Rev. 2020 Feb;49:101231.

Ward AL, Galland BC, Haszard JJ, Meredith-Jones K, Morrison S, McIntosh DR, Jackson R, Beebe DW, Fangupo L, Richards R, Te Morenga L, Smith C, Elder DE, Taylor RW. The effect of mild sleep deprivation on diet and eating behaviour in children: protocol for the Daily Rest, Eating, and Activity Monitoring (DREAM) randomized cross-over trial. BMC Public Health. 2019 Oct 22;19(1):1347.