Division of Sleep Research

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Sleep Building

Division of Sleep Research is an integral component of the Comprehensive Center for Sleep Disorders (CCSD). It aims to explore the basic mechanisms and to conduct translational research in emerging aspects of sleep regulation for improving human health. The unique feature of this laboratory is that the knowledge gained from animal experiments would be applied to cure various sleep disorders in human. The research laboratory works in close collaboration with the Sleep Clinic in identifying the unresolved puzzles of sleep disorders and seeks to find a solution to those human maladies. This most modern research laboratory is equipped with the latest instruments and technology to conduct basic sleep research in animal models and human subjects. A PhD program in Neuroscience is initiated to look into the various aspects of sleep loss on cognition (anxiety, learning & memory), developmental plasticity in neural networks, interrelationship of sleep and thermoregulation, and inflammatory markers.


Sleep Research Laboratory unit of the CCSD looks into the unresolved questions related to sleep and its functions. The mechanisms for sleep regulation are studied in rat models. Telemetric system is used for recording sleep, body temperature and blood pressure in rats. Different types of transmitters for recording sleep, temperature, blood pressure are chronically implanted into animal's body for recording these parameters in unrestricted natural state. EEG electrodes are implanted using stereotaxic instrument. Along with visual scoring, SleepSign software is employed for analyzing various components of sleep. Simulation studies are carried out in an environmental chamber which provides meticulously controlled experimental conditions essential for study involving interaction of sleep and thermoregulation.

Telemetric system: Recording of sleep, body temperature & blood pressure

Individual rats subcutaneously implanted with specific transmitter are placed in polypropylene cages over the receiver to acquire signal for EEG, EOG, EMG, temperature or blood pressure.

Telmetric System
Environmental chamber for simulation studies in rats

The environmental chamber is a sound-proof chamber in which temperature, humidity and light can be controlled from outside using software in PC. The sleep in animal is telemetrically recorded in the temperature simulation protocols without disturbing the animal. A transparent plexiglas door in front panel permits behavioral monitoring of the animals either through eyes or using video recording. In this environmental chamber, 4 animals can be simultaneously monitored in one simulation protocol.

Environmental Chamber - Rat
Single unit recording (extra-cellular) system

Sleep Research laboratory has single units recording setup both in anesthetized and un-anesthetized rats. In anesthetized state, single units are recorded simultaneously with sleep-wakefulness. Glass microelectrodes are prepared using microelectrode puller (Narishige Model PE 22) and lowered in the desired area of brain using micromanipulator fitted to stereotaxic instrument (Kopf).

Multichannel Field potential recording system

Sleep induced neuronal plasticity is studied by recording field potentials and performing the theta activity coherence from hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex using 16-channel brain electrical scanning system (BESS) in rats.

Cognitive behavior testing

The effects of sleep manipulation on the various cognitive parameters including anxiety, emotions, learning and memory are studied employing various behavioral tests in animals. The effect of sleep restriction on spatial memory is tested using the radial arm maze (8 arms). Treatment induced anxiety is measured using elevated plus-maze, open field and light-dark chamber test. The different variables (e.g., total locomotion in the open field and closed-arm entries in the plus-maze, time spent in light and dark chamber etc) are analyzed using ANYMAZE software with videotracking system.

Neonatal anxiety testing: USV recorder

The effect of prenatal sleep deprivation on offspring is tested through recording their anxiety calls. The Ultrasonic vocalizations in neonates are used to quantify the emotional state in growing pups to study developmental plasticity.

Ambulatory PSG and temperature monitoring in human

Wireless setup for sleep and multi-channel temperature recordings in human is soon coming up. The ambulatory PSG simultaneous with temperature monitoring from various sites of body are designed to understand interrelationship between sleep and body temperatures during normal and acute insomnia conditions. This would help in establishing the optimal ambient temperature required in eliciting and maintaining a good night's sleep. The study design translates into a potential non-pharmacological intervention in management of primary insomnia in different age groups.


Educational Activities: To organize workshops and conferences in area of Sleep

National Sleep Medicine workshop, NMSC2010 was conducted to provide introduction to basic sleep science, the technical and clinical aspects of sleep medicine. The program was organized for general practitioners, neurotechnicians and basic scientists in Kerala and southern India to bring awareness for Sleep Medicine and Research.

National Sleep Medicine Cource - 2010

To organize Conferences on Sleep in order to generate wide-spread interest among Neuro-biologists and clinicians to take up research programmes to improve the basic knowledge of human sleep and sleep disorders in our country. These activities at national forum are aimed to promote Sleep Research, generate interdisciplinary teams to develop important diagnostic and effective therapeutic strategies at low cost for masses.

The effects of maternal sleep deprivation (restriction) on cognition in the offspring in an animal model.
To investigate the role of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during development in regulation of sexual arousal and erectile events in adult rats.
To investigate the effects of acute sleep restriction on sleep and body temperature interactions in different age groups of healthy subjects.
To investigate the effects of short- and long-term administration of alpha-asarone on oxidative stress and anxiety alleviation in insomnia model in rats.
Scientific evaluation of the sleep-wake altering property of a-asarone, an active principle of Acorus Calamus.

Basic Research: To study neural dynamics in brain after sleep deprivation using animal models and simulation protocols in human. To identify the role of sleep during different phases of development in cognitive programming. To look for mechanism that interlinks sleep-body temperature in conditions of sleep restriction and scientific evaluation of Ayurvedic principles for regulation of sleep.

Translational Research: Evaluation of ambient temperature manipulation as a non-pharmacological intervention for treatment of primary insomnia and to find inflammatory markers after acute and chronic sleep deprivation.

To design, fabricate and evaluate prototype models of oral mandibular advancement device for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.


Gulia KK (2012). Dynamism in activity of the neural networks in brain is the basis of sleep-wakefulness oscillations. Front. Neurol. In press

Kumar VM (2010). Sleep is neither a passive nor an active phenomenon. Sleep Biol Rhythms. 8: 163-169.

Kumar VM (2008). Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. 50: 131-137.

Kumar VM, Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN (2007). Noradrenergic afferents and receptors in the medial preoptic area: neuroanatomical and neurochemical links between the regulation of sleep and body temperature. Neurochem Int. 50 :783-90.

Research collaborators:

Prof. V Mohan Kumar, Visiting Professor, SCTIMST

Prof Jaya Kumari N (Biochemistry), SCTIMST

Dr Niranjan Kambatte (Instrumentation Lab), SCTIMST

Dr Roy Joseph (Polymer Processing Laboratory), SCTIMST

Dr Ashalatha Radhakrishnan (Neurology), SCTIMST