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Sleep research

A female researcher places EEG electrodes on male participant's head
EEG electrodes are placed on a participant's head before an overnight sleep study

Research in our sleep labs focuses on functionality of the sleeping brain using a multimodal imaging approach.

This approach includes functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), EEG, cerebrovascular physiology and cognitive techniques.

Sleep is critical for both health and cognition. Our lab is developing ways to manipulate sleep (called sleep engineering) in order to maximise its beneficial properties.

We're working on ways to enhance memory, disarm negative emotions, and combat cognitive decline through ageing. You can visit our dedicated Neuroscience and Psychology of Sleep (NaPS) lab page to find out more about our research and ongoing projects.


Our principal investigator, Professor Penny Lewis, has authored a number of academic publications, given a TEDx talk, written a Popular Science book on sleep and edited an anthology of sleep stories.

Professor Penny (Penelope) Lewis

Professor Penny (Penelope) Lewis


+44 (0)29 2087 0467
Dr Matthias Gruber

Dr Matthias Gruber

Principal Research Fellow

+44 (0)29 2087 0079
Dr Chen Song

Dr Chen Song


+44 (0)29 2068 8910

Research staff

Research students

Tamás Földes

Research student

greco, viviana

Viviana Greco

Research student

Profile picture of Simon Leclerc

Simon Leclerc

Research student


Jay Lord

Research student

No profile image

Megan Wadon

Research student



Built for sleep studies and observations

We have five sleep bedrooms, three of which are intended for cognitive studies in healthy controls, and two of which are intended for clinical research.

Two pieces Brain Products EEG equipment
Brain Products EEG equipment

The cognitive sleep lab is hotel-style with double beds, comfortable carpeted rooms, and good sound insulation. Each bedroom also functions as a cognitive testing lab so that participants can comfortably engage in tasks before sleep and immediately after waking.

The sleep labs are equipped with the latest in EEG technology from Brain Products, and our current set-up can measure up to 64 channels at one time. This includes:

  • 3 x Brain Amp Mr Plus
  • 1 x Brain Amp ExG MR
  • 1 x Brain Amp ExG.

A control room is located next to the three bedrooms, which is arranged for EEG application and overnight researcher observation.

We promote a multi-modal approach to understanding research problems, therefore EEG can also be used simultaneously with other techniques such as fMRI. We also conduct clinical sleep studies at the Centre in our clinical research unit.

A female participant does a computer task in a sleep lab bedroom
A participant engages in cognitive testing in a sleep lab bedroom

Media highlights

Features and talks



  • 'ERCcOMICS' Blog featuring the SolutionSleep ERC-funded project on sleep and creativity

Radio interviews

News and magazine articles

Sleep research alumni

Previous PhD students

  • Martyna Rakowska - Did a PhD in long-term brain and behavioural plasticity as a result of Targeted Memory Reactivation
  • Holly Kings - Did a PhD in brain plasticity as a result of long-term closed-loop auditory stimulation
  • Mahmoud Eid Abdelhafez Abdellahi - Did a PhD on detection of replay in sleep using EEG classifiers
  • Jules Schneider – Did a PhD on the potential of auditory closed-loop stimulation to enhance sleep oscillations and overnight memory consolidation
  • Hikaru Tsujimura – Did a PhD exploring the impact of sleep on the generalisation of facial representations and competition between different identities
  • Isabel Hutchison – Did a PhD on the impact of direct current stimulation on sleep and memory
  • Nora Hennies – Did a PhD on the impact of sleep upon the formation of new semantic memories
  • James Cousins – Did a PhD on the impact of triggered replay during sleep upon overnight memory consolidation
  • Scott Cairney – Did a PhD on sleep  and emotional memory and is now a postdoc at York
  • Tia Tsimpanouli – Did a PhD on sleep, emotional memory and depression

Previous postdoctoral staff

  • Simon Durrant – Did a three year postdoc in the lab and is now a Lecturer at the University of Lincoln
  • Jakke Tamminen – Did a one year postdoc in the lab and is now a postdoc at Royal Holloway
Sleep lab bedroom at night with computer, bed and bedside lamp
One of our comfortably furnished sleep lab bedrooms at night