This POSTnote introduces robotic technology and the main ways it has been developed for use in social care. It reviews evidence on the impact of robotics on the costs and quality of social care and its workforce, and explores the main ethical, social and regulatory challenges to its use in social care.

A POSTbrief that describes the research examining the long-term health outcomes associated with disruptions to sleep and the circadian rhythm. Long-term sleep problems are associated with a range of poor health outcomes including increased risk for mental health conditions, obesity and type 2 diabetes, amongst others.

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    A POSTnote that describes how working outside of daytime hours – shift work – affects physical and mental health and performance through its impact on sleep and circadian timing. It highlights the latest research, explains the implications for policy and how research can inform the design of interventions to improve shift workers' sleep and overall health.

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    A POSTnote that explains what is known about sleep and sleep disorders, the effects of poor sleep on performance, and on physical and mental health. It also describes the role of sleep in the context of public and occupational health, road safety, education and the consumer technology market.

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    Non-academic skills exist alongside academic knowledge and abilities, and can include empathy, communication, and resilience. They have also been called 'life', 'non-cognitive' or 'essential' skills. Non-academic skills are associated with a range of positive outcomes across education, work, health and wellbeing, such as higher academic attainment, improved employability, and better physical and mental health. This POSTnote reviews evidence on the outcomes associated with non-academic skills and effective educational approaches to developing these skills in and out of the school environment.

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    This POSTnote looks at the numbers of unpaid carers across the UK, and the amount and type of care provided. It examines the impacts of providing unpaid care on carers’ education, employment, finances, health and wellbeing, and personal and social relationships. The note reviews the different types of support available for carers and examines evidence on their effectiveness.

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    Biometric technologies identify individuals based on their distinguishing physical and behavioural attributes, such as fingerprints, face, and voice. Unlike passwords or traditional identity documents, biometric attributes are inherently linked to a person and cannot usually be lost or forgotten, potentially providing greater security and convenience. This briefing focuses on how these technologies work, their applications, and the policy challenges raised by their use.

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    Teaching about relationships and sex in UK schools often focuses on the biology of reproduction. Stakeholders have called for lessons to cover a broader range of issues, such as healthy relationships and the risks posed by using digital technology. The subject Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will become statutory in all secondary schools in England in the near future. There is ongoing consultation into what will be included in the statutory guidance for RSE. This POSTnote reviews evidence on the potential outcomes of RSE in schools and how to maximise its effectiveness.

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    Parental Alcohol Misuse (PAM) can negatively affect children’s physical and mental health, and other outcomes including educational attainment and behaviour. Effects can be acute when experienced in conjunction with other adverse experiences such as domestic abuse, marital conflict, and deprivation. PAM is a common feature in child protection and care proceedings, and places a considerable burden on social services.