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Dr. Simon is a pediatric sleep psychologist with research focused on mechanisms underlying the negative cardiometabolic consequences of insufficient sleep and circadian misalignment (mismatch between the internal clock and actual clock time) in adolescents. Adolescence is a time of chronic short sleep duration and a propensity for delayed sleep timing, and short sleep duration and circadian misalignment are believed to contribute to health problems, including obesity and insulin resistance. Yet, a gap remains with little information on the relationship between sleep and circadian rhythms and health in adolescents.
As a Ludeman Center researcher, Dr. Simon studied sleep health and circadian rhythms in adolescent girls with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and found that girls with PCOS had later circadian timing than healthy girls, and that morning circadian misalignment was associated with worse insulin sensitivity.
Dr. Simon’s current research studies are examining the impact of increased sleep duration on dietary intake and insulin resistance in habitually short-sleeping adolescents, and evaluating sleep health and circadian rhythms in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. She is very interested in sex differences in sleep and circadian health in adolescents.
BIRCWH project title: Impact of Sleep Extension on Insulin Sensitivity and Dietary Intake in Adolescent Girls
Current research focus: My research broadly focuses on the negative cardiometabolic impact of insufficient sleep and circadian misalignment in youth, particularly adolescent girls.
How Dr. Simon became interested in this work: As a pediatric sleep psychologist, I regularly see teens who are dramatically short on sleep during the school year with a variety of negative consequences, including on mood, school performance, and health risk. My clinical work make me want to better understand the relationship between poor sleep health and physical health, including obesity, insulin resistance, and risk for type 2 diabetes.
Clinical significance of this research: Adolescents, parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals should be aware of the negative effects of sleeping too little or at the wrong time. Just like healthy diet and physical activity, we should be promoting sleep as a health imperative.
Relevance of this work to women's health or sex/gender differences: Females endorse more symptoms of insomnia, have under-diagnosed and under-treated obstructive sleep apnea, and are historically under-studied in sleep research compared to males. Adolescent girls in particular go to bed at the same time as boys but rise earlier. More research needs to be done to better understand these sex/gender differences in order to facilitate improved sleep health in women and girls.
Simon SL, Behn CD, Cree-Green M, et al. Too Late and Not Enough: School Year Sleep Duration, Timing, and Circadian Misalignment Are Associated with Reduced Insulin Sensitivity in Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity. J Pediatr . 2019;205:257-264.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.10.027
Simon SL, McWhirter L, Diniz Behn C, et al. Morning Circadian Misalignment Is Associated With Insulin Resistance in Girls With Obesity and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2019;104(8):3525-3534. doi:10.1210/jc.2018-02385
Simon S, Rahat H, Carreau AM, et al. Poor Sleep Is Related to Metabolic Syndrome Severity in Adolescents With PCOS and Obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2020;105(4):e1827-e1834. doi:10.1210/clinem/dgz285