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Body clock show brings Sir Terry Wogan to Surrey

Broadcaster’s sleeping patterns analysed by University of Surrey sleep experts for new TV programme.

Sir Terry Wogan with Professor Debra Skene

Sir Terry Wogan has paid a visit to the University of Surrey campus to film a new BBC TV show about the human body clock.

As part of the show, Sir Terry kept a sleep diary, wore an actiwatch (which monitors light exposure, activity during the day and movement during sleep) and provided saliva samples so his levels of the body clock hormone melatonin could be monitored.

The data was then analysed by Professor Debra Skene, Professor of Neuroendocrinology, and colleagues from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, to reveal whether the broadcaster — famous for his long-running stint hosting the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show and for fronting major primetime TV programmes such as Children in Need and The Eurovision Song Contest —is a morning lark or a night owl.

Sir Terry said: “When I was asked to do the show I thought it sounded really interesting – but I never really realised just how bizarre the body clock is. It tells us when to sleep, when to wake, when to do everything. So we’re not in control at all!

“It’s been a lovely day here and I’ve learned a great deal about myself – some of which is a little frightening!”

Professor Skene said: “The programme is looking at the body clock and how disruptions to the body clock affect sleep, health and wellbeing, which is exactly the research we do here at Surrey.

“We showed Sir Terry his results today so he could see where his melatonin rhythm sits compared to other people, whether his results suggest he is a morning type or evening type person, and what his sleep/wake patterns looked like. We also showed him how we monitor our volunteers, who usually spend 48 hours or more in our clinical labs.”

The programme is due to be broadcast later this year on BBC 1. 

Find out more about our sleep research.

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