Institute of Medical Psychology

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Eva Winnebeck

Dr. Eva Winnebeck

Project group leader “Human chronobiology and sleep”
Senior postdoctoral scientist


Institut für Medizinische Psychologie
Ludwig Maximilians Universität
Goethestrasse 31
D-80336 München

Phone: +4989218075647
Fax: 0049-(0)89-2180-75616

Work group

Human Chronobiology


Sleep ecology: Studying human sleep dynamics in real life and large numbers

Sleep remains an enigma: we don’t know what function(s) sleep actually fulfils and why it is so often altered in disease and aging. A major limit to progress in sleep research is the difficulty of recording sleep outside the sleep laboratory, thus hindering large-scale sleep studies and big-data approaches.
Importantly, sleep is not a simple uniform state but shows intriguing temporal dynamics, with many bodily processes, from brain activity to hormone levels, changing over time during a single sleep episode. Some changes are gradual, whereas others reappear in cyclical fashion commonly known as sleep cycles. It is especially these sleep dynamics that cannot be captured by simple questionnaires but depend heavily on laboratory measurements.
Using simple wrist activity recordings (similar to those in health trackers), we extract such sleep dynamics from sleepers’ movements. Using these dynamics for a first large-scale exploration of human sleep in real life, we found sleep dynamics to change markedly with age and to be altered by shift work and psychiatric disease. We now use this approach to study human sleep dynamics under the most diverse conditions, in health and disease and across all ages to identify factors altering sleep dynamics and the health impacts of such sleep dynamics.

If you want to know more:


Effect of school starting times on adolescent sleep behaviour

In many cultures, teenagers are chronically sleep deprived because their typically late sleep times conflict with the relatively early start times of theirs schools. This is a pressing problem since teenage sleep deprivation is linked with reduced performance and substantial long-term health risks including diabetes and depression.
Is a delay in school starts an effective countermeasure to teenage sleep deprivation? We study this at the Gymnasium Alsdorf, a high school close to Aachen, Germany, where a flexible school start system was introduced early 2016 for all senior students.

If you want to know more:

Individual factors influencing jetlag severity

How much the circadian system, our 24-h-body clock, influences basic body functions like sleep, metabolism or concentration and alertness becomes apparent when this system is disturbed - for example through long-distance flights across time zones. The symptoms we experience after such flights are summed under the term ‘jetlag’, a de-synchronisation of the circadian system with the external world but also internally between different organ systems.
There are huge differences in how every person is affected by jetlag. The main goal of our prospective cohort study is to identify individual factors that influence the intensity and duration of jetlag symptoms in travellers including psychosocial factors like expectation

Current students

Anna Biller, PhD student
Carmen Molenda, medical doctoral student
Max Ullrich, medical doctoral student

Ann-Sophie Loock, intern, MSc Psychology student, LMU

Former students

Ameena Khan Sullivan, BSc student, University of Surrey (work placement)
Lata Kalra, BS-MS student, IISER Mohali, India (summer research internship)

Scientific publications

Later school start times in a flexible system improve teenage sleep
Winnebeck EC, Vuori-Brodowski MT, Biller AM, Molenda C, Fischer D, Zerbini G and Roenneberg T, Sleep (2019), doi:10.1093/sleep/zsz307

The microMCTQ – an Ultra-Short Version of the Munich ChronoType Questionnaire
Ghotbi N*, Pilz LK*, Winnebeck EC, Vetter C, Zerbini G, Lenssen D, Frighetto G, Salamanca M, Costa R, Montagnese S and Roenneberg T, Journal of Biological Rhythms (2019), doi:10.1177/0748730419886986

Dynamics and Ultradian Structure of Human Sleep in Real Life
Winnebeck EC, Fischer D, Leise T, Roenneberg T, Current Biology (2018), 28:1, pp. 49-59

Asking the Clock: How to Use Information from Questionnaires for Circadian Phenotyping
Vetter C, Winnebeck EC, Roenneberg T
In: Brown S (editor), Methods in Molecular Biology, Volume 2130: Circadian Clocks – Methods and Protocols; Springer (2020). doi:10.1007/978-1-0716-0381-9, In press

Chronotype and Social Jetlag – A (Self-) Critical Review
Roenneberg T, Pilz LK, Zerbini G and Winnebeck EC, Biology (Basel) (2019), 8:3

Daylight Saving Time and Artificial Time Zones – A Battle Between Biological and Social Times
Roenneberg T, Winnebeck EC and Klerman EB, Frontiers in Physiology (2019), 10:944

Why Should We Abolish Daylight Saving Time?
Roenneberg T, Wirz-Justice A, Skene DJ, Ancoli-Israel S., Wright Jr. KP, Dijk DJ, Zee P, Gorman MR, Winnebeck EC and Klerman EB, Journal of Biological Rhythms (2019), 34:3, pp.227-230

Human Activity and Rest in situ
Roenneberg T, Keller LK, Fischer D, Matera JL, Vetter C, Winnebeck EC
In: Sehgal A (editor), Methods in Enzymology, Volume 552: Circadian Rhythms and Biological Clocks Part B, Academic Press (2015), pp. 257-283

Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Disruption in Social Jetlag and Mental Illness
Foster RG, Peirson SN, Wulff K, Winnebeck EC, Vetter C, Roenneberg T,
In: Gillette MU (editor), Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, Volume 119: Chronobiology: Biological Timing in Health and Disease, Academic Press (2013), pp. 325-346

Neuronal Circadian Clock Protein Oscillations are Similar in Behaviourally Rhythmic Forager Honeybees and in Arrhythmic Nurses
Fuchikawa T, Beer K, Linke-Winnebeck C, Ben-David R, Kotowoy A, Tsang VWK, Warman GR, Winnebeck EC*, Helfrich-Forster C*, Bloch G*, Open Biology (2017), 7:6

The Genomes of Two Bumblebee Species with Primitive Eusocial Organization
Sadd et al., International Bumblebee Genomics Consortium. Genome Biology (2015), 16:76

General Anesthesia Alters Time Perception by Phase Shifting the Circadian Clock
Cheeseman JF*, Winnebeck EC*, Millar CD, Goodwin RM, Pawley M, Bloch G, Lehmann K, Menzel R, Sleigh JW, Warman GR, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (2012), 109:18, pp. 7061-7066

Why Does Insect RNA Look Degraded?
Winnebeck EC, Millar CD, Warman GR, Journal of Insect Science (2010), 10:159

Other publications

Epidemiology of Sleep-Wake and Primary Prevention of its Disorders
Keller LK, Winnebeck EC, Roenneberg T (2020)
In: Geddes JR, Andreasen NC and Goodwin GM (eds), The New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (3rd edn.), Oxford University Press (2020). In press

Unterrichtsbeginn während der biologischen Nacht – was tun gegen den chronischen Schlafmangel von Jugendlichen?
Winnebeck EC, Reinold P, Aufleger M
In: Ruppert W (editor), Unterricht Biologie – Zeitschrift für die Sekundarstufe, Friedrich Verlag (2020); Issue 451, pp. 15-20

Sozialer Jetlag und seine Folgen - Ein Nachruf auf den Wecker und ein Weckruf für mehr Schlafbewusstsein
Roenneberg T and Winnebeck EC
Essay in: Schlaf, Schattauer Verlag (2014); Volume 3 (4), pp.216-220

Institut für Medizinische Psychologie
Goethestrasse 31
D-80336 München
Phone: +4989218075647
Fax: 0049-(0)89-2180-75616