Samantha Bramich


Dream big

I'm from: Tasmania, Australia
Current Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Position: PhD Candidate, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania
Field of research/work: Medical/Sleep Science
YTS Years: 2024

Samantha's Notable career moments

  • Finished high school and moved to Poland for a year

  • Started studying psychology at UTAS to become a psychologist (whilst working in a fish & chip shop)

  • Finished studying psychology and no longer wanted to be a psychologist

  • Landed a job as a sleep study assistant in Latrobe

  • 6 months later, started work as a paediatric sleep technician at the LGH

  • Completed a Master of Science in Sleep Medicine (a fancy course all about sleep!)

  • Joined the Wicking Centre at UTAS to research sleep and brain diseases

  • Still researching and presenting to schools and community groups about the importance of sleep for your brain!

About Samantha Bramich

Have you ever thought about your dreams? You’ve probably had some very weird and wonderful dreams that make you wonder what is going on in your brain when you’re sleeping. And this is completely normal! Dreaming happens mainly when we are in a period of sleep called REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, and it’s called this because people’s eyes will often move around under their eyelids when they’re dreaming (this can look pretty creepy if you’ve seen someone dreaming with their eyes half open!). This period of sleep is really important because it helps our brain process all the things we have seen and learnt during the day, strengthening our memories and creative thoughts overnight. And because it does this, some of the things we have experienced during the day can end up in our dreams, which is why we might have dreams that feel very real but include some very strange or whimsical features, like flying or standing naked in front of a crowd.
But did you know that dreams can actually change a lot as we get older and sometimes people actually ‘act out’ what they’re dreaming, like punching and kicking? This is what I’m researching: a sleep disorder called isolated REM sleep behaviour disorder or iRBD. We think that it is pretty rare, but a lot of people with iRBD go on to have some memory and movement problems as they get older. So I want to find out what is happening in the brain that causes these changes. That’s why I get to stick dots and wires to people to measure their brains and bodies to find out if they do have iRBD, and then look at what’s happening to their memory and movements to hopefully improve their health as they get older.

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