Sleep, Circadian Rhythms and Mental Health in Schools (SCRAMS)

Adolescence is a key developmental stage for the onset of mental illness. It is also a time when getting enough sleep becomes a major challenge. Disrupted sleep represents an important potential risk factor for mental ill-health in young people but this is an area that has not yet been properly investigated. The SCRAMS project builds on already well-established links with schools in Scotland (the Schools Health and Wellbeing Improvement Research Network, SHINE) to develop a UK-wide research collaboration focused on investigating sleep and mental health within schools. With input from pupils, parents and teachers, a programme of public engagement focused on sleep and mental health within schools will be designed and carried out. A series of small-scale feasibility studies will be conducted that will help us to design more comprehensive studies in the future.

SCRAMS aims:

  1. To build a UK-wide multidisciplinary research consortium to investigate sleep, light exposure, circadian function and mental health in adolescents within schools.
  2. To co-design and conduct pilot and feasibility studies that will inform future large-scale schools-based research on sleep, circadian function and mental health in young people.
  3. To contribute to a growth in UK capacity for schools-based mental health research by working collaboratively with other research groups, young people, parents, teachers and policymakers.

SCRAMS created a comic book, 'Enlighten your clock: How your body tells time' that provides a light-hearted, funny and scientifically grounded introduction to our biological clock, sleep, and how these are affected by the light we are exposed to. It is suitable for all readers from the age of 13 years.

SCRAMS is funded by an MRC/AHRC/ESRC Engagement Award as part of Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind programme.

Visit the SCRAMS website.


Lyall, L. M. et al. (2020) Accelerometry-assessed sleep duration and timing in late childhood and adolescence in Scottish schoolchildren: a feasibility study. PLoS ONE, 15(12), e0242080. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242080) (PMID:33259503) (PMCID:PMC7707491)

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