Torbjörn Åkerstedt's research group

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Sleep and fatigue

The main focus of Torbjörn Åkerstedt’s research group is causes of disturbed sleep (especially stress and work hours), the role of sleep in physciological and psychological recovery, measurement of sleep quality, effects of short/impired sleep, measurement of sleepiness/fatigue, the relation between sleep and health (dementia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes).

Torbjörn Åkerstedt’s group has a link to the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University and he is the director of Stockholm Stress Center (a center of excellence for research on work stress and health) which is a joint venture of Stockholm University and Karolinska institutet.

The research group has at its disposal (via the Stress Research Institute) a laboratory for sleep studies, including polysomnography, climate controlled and sound insulated sleep units.

Research projects

  • Women’s sleep quality, studied through polysomnography (EEG, EOG, EMG), reported sleep quality, reported helath, sleepiness and with a special focus on aging.
  • Differences between the sleep of men and women – why do women complain more about sleep problems?
  • Effects of aging on sleep and fatigue.
  • The sleepy brain - Sleepiness and brain imaging in relation to sleep reduction, sleep fragmentation, stress and exhaustion.
  • Day-to-day relations between sleep, stress, fatigue, and reported health.
  • The effect of stress on physiological and reported sleep quality.
  • Severe sleepiness at the wheel. Night time driving on the road and in simulators with focus on driving performance, EEG, EOG and reported sleepiness.
  • Exposure to shift work and health (cancer, dementia, and other diseases).
  • What constitutes ”good” and ”bad” work schedules?
  • The relation between work conditions and insomnia, disability pension, disease and mortality.

Selected publications

Having to stop driving at night because of dangerous sleepiness--awareness, physiology and behaviour.
Akerstedt T, Hallvig D, Anund A, Fors C, Schwarz J, Kecklund G
J Sleep Res 2013 Aug;22(4):380-8

Insomnia in sweden: a population-based survey.
Mallon L, Broman J, Akerstedt T, Hetta J
Sleep Disord 2014 ;2014():843126

Stress vulnerability and the effects of moderate daily stress on sleep polysomnography and subjective sleepiness.
Petersen H, Kecklund G, D'Onofrio P, Nilsson J, Åkerstedt T
J Sleep Res 2013 Feb;22(1):50-7

Predicting sleep quality from stress and prior sleep--a study of day-to-day covariation across six weeks.
Åkerstedt T, Orsini N, Petersen H, Axelsson J, Lekander M, Kecklund G
Sleep Med. 2012 Jun;13(6):674-9

Shift work at young age is associated with increased risk for multiple sclerosis.
Hedström A, Åkerstedt T, Hillert J, Olsson T, Alfredsson L
Ann. Neurol. 2011 Nov;70(5):733-41

(To see all the published articles between 2013 and 2015, click here.)

Group members

Andreas GerhardssonAssociated
Göran KecklundAssociated
Aleksander PerskiAssociated, Senior Lecturer
Helena PetersenGraduate Student
Johanna SchwarzAssociated
Torbjörn ÅkerstedtResearch team leader, Professor, senior