The Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (CNL) is a multidisciplinary research laboratory that studies the neural underpinnings of human behavior primarily using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Our two focus areas are cognition in the setting of sleep and sleep deprivation, and the cognitive neuroscience of aging. In addition to our own research, we support a number of other investigators.

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Sign-ups now open for Need for Sleep 5!

If you are between 15-19 years old, join us this December holiday to learn how your sleep habits can affect your health and performance, see science in action, and most importantly - have fun and make new friends! Participation is FREE, and you will be reimbursed for your time!

Check out our FAQs for more information.

Sign-up for our introductory briefing session HERE

If you have any concerns or queries, do not hesitate to email us at You can also follow us on instagram (@needforsleepstudy) for more updates!

What is Need For Sleep 5 about?

Need For Sleep is a series of sleep research camps conducted by our lab to investigate the relationships between restricted sleep, health and cognitive outcomes in adolescents. Previously, we found that a 1.5 hour afternoon nap could improve performance in sleep-deprived adolescents. Need for Sleep 5 will aim to explore whether napping is still beneficial when participants are getting enough sleep overall, but splitting the total amount between naps and night-time sleep.

Participants will stay at a dormitory for 14 nights, keeping to a fixed sleep schedule, and undergo a variety of cognitive tasks during the day.


Commentary: Always tired yet can’t fall asleep? It’s a wake-up call to sleep better

Insomnia can persist and when entrenched can be a misery. So start sleeping better now, says Duke-NUS Medical School’s Michael Chee.

Read more here.


ST Podcast: Why sleep habits need to be formed when young

Are we sleeping more than our neighbours in the region? We all know we should prioritise sleep but many of us don't get a full night's sleep. Can we make up for the lack of sleep on weekends, or by taking afternoon naps? What causes insomnia and is it normal for the elderly to have poor sleep? These and other questions have been answered by Prof. Michael Chee in this podcast.

The podcast can be accessed here.

ST Podcast, episode 2: Can schools and parents help boost the cognition and well-being of sleep-deprived Singaporean teenagers?

What can be done to help teenagers - inundated with homework, curricular activities, enrichment classes and tuition after school - sleep more? Could shorter sleep increase the risk of diabetes among young Singaporeans? How can students manage better sleep strategy during intense examination periods? In this podcast, Prof. Michael Chee continues answering important questions about healthy sleep habits.

The podcast can be accessed here.


The results of Need for Sleep 4 are published!

Many adolescents are exposed to sleep restriction on school nights. We assessed how different apportionment of restricted sleep (continuous versus split sleep) influences neurobehavioral function and glucose levels.

The article can be accessed here.


Recent Publications

12 February 2019

Many adolescents are exposed to sleep restriction on school nights. We assessed how different apportionment of restricted sleep (continuous versus split sleep) influences neurobehavioral function and glucose levels.

View full article

6 February 2019


The electroencephalographic power spectra of non‐rapid eye movement sleep in adults demonstrate trait‐like consistency within participants across multiple nights, even when prior sleep deprivation is present. Here, we examined the extent to which this finding applies to adolescents who are habitually sleep restricted on school‐days and sleep longer on weekends. We evaluated 78 adolescents across three sleep restriction groups who underwent different permutations of adequate sleep (9 hr time‐in‐bed), sleep restriction (5 hr time‐in‐bed), afternoon naps (1 hr afternoon) and recovery sleep (9 hr time‐in‐bed) that simulate behaviour on school‐days and weekends. The control group comprised a further 22 adolescents who had 9 hr of sleep opportunity each night. Intra‐class correlation coefficients showed moderate to almost perfect within‐subject stability in electroencephalographic power spectra across multiple nights in both sleep restriction and control groups, even when changes to sleep macrostructure were observed. While nocturnal intra‐class correlation metrics were lower in the low‐frequency and spindle frequency bins in the sleep restriction compared with the control group, hierarchical clustering measures could still identify multi‐night electroencephalographic spectra as originating from the same individual. The trait‐like characteristics of electroencephalographic spectra from an adolescent remain identifiable despite the disruptive effects of multi‐night sleep restriction to sleep architecture.

View the full article here.

4 February 2019


Chronic sleep restriction in adolescents is widespread, yet we know little about how to apportion the limited amount of sleep obtained to minimize cognitive impairment: should sleep occur only nocturnally, or be split across separate nocturnal and daytime nap periods? This is particularly relevant to hippocampal-dependent cognitive functions that underpin several aspects of learning. View full article

29 January 2019


Sleep benefits prospective memory in young adults probably in part due to its well-established role in enhancing declarative memory, thereby facilitating retrieval of the intention content. In prior work on adolescents, we did not detect differences in prospective memory comparing 5 nights of sleep restriction and adequate sleep. Here, we examined whether this might be attributed to a limited role of sleep in benefiting the declarative content in this age group, and whether a sleep benefit on prospective memory would be uncovered with a shorter retention interval. View full article

11 January 2019


Previous studies have shown that sleep benefits prospective memory by facilitating spontaneous retrieval processes. Here, we investigated the sleep features supporting such a benefit. View full article


Click here for more publications

Of Interest

Adolescent Sleep and Educational Performance

We know that sleep is fundamental for learning, memory consolidation and information processing, alongside restoration and repair of the body. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to sleep disruption around puberty, as both physical and behavioural changes impact upon sleep, which, in turn, can influence their ability to engage in the classroom and learn.

Impact : Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching | Feb 2018

F1: How crashing out helps win races

"F1 drivers are looking for every edge, every advantage and sleep is one of the tools they can use to make sure they are at optimal performance." - Steven Lockley, Harvard Medical School

CNN | 14 Sep 2017

Sleep regularity is important for the happiness and well-being of college students

We found that week-long irregular sleep schedules are significantly associated with lower self-reported morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness during the week even after controlling for weekly average sleep duration," said lead author Akane Sano, PhD, research scientist in the Media Lab Affective Computing Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Medical Xpress | 5 Jun 2017

Later school start times in the U.S. : An economic analysis

Recent report by RAND corporation showed that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy.

RAND Corporation | 31 Aug 2017

Fatigue and Training Gaps Spell Disaster at Sea, Sailors Warn

In interviews, more than a dozen current and former ship commanders who served in the western Pacific said the strain on the Navy's fleet there had caused maintenance gaps and training shortfalls that had not been remedied or had received only cursory attention as leaders focused on immediate missions.

The New York Times | 27 Aug 2017

NeuroImage is third ranked in the category of Health and Medical Sciences under the subcategory of Neurology and is 64 in the overall list. Within NeuroImage, one of our better-known works within the last 5 years is our piece on functional connectivity in sleep deprived persons (De Havas).

Google Scholar Metrics 2017

Parenting Made Easy - Good Sleep Habits
Sleep hygiene and encouraging good sleeping habits is our focus this week. The importance of children getting enough sleep. How can this help children learn better, and lead a healthy lifestyle?

Parenting Made Easy | 2 Jun 2017

Voices Of Youth : No downside to starting school late

"I am more awake in class and able to concentrate better. I can last longer before feeling tired."

The Straits Times | 19 Jul 2017

More schools should take leaf out of Nanyang's book

I support Professor Michael Chee's call for more schools to emulate Nanyang Girls' High School by implementing a later start time. Given the scientific evidence in favour of this, there is no time to lose. The scale-up of such a scheme, however, can succeed only if the interests of other stakeholders, such as parents, teachers and transport operators, are also considered.

TODAY | 2 Jun 2017

Letting students sleep in is a move worth emulating

Despite numerous medical studies supporting links between short sleep duration and diabetes, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome, many doctors are largely unaware or indifferent to these findings. The focus of medicine in Singapore is on screening, early diagnosis, early and cost-effective treatment, not prevention. As such, there is widespread ignorance of well-established facts like the mid-adolescent shift in preference for later sleep times and its subsequent reversal in early adulthood.

TODAY | 29 May 2017

Do parents' support behaviours predict whether or not their children get sufficient sleep? A cross-sectional study

Pyper et al. found that on weekdays, enforcing rules about child bedtime was a significant positive predictor of children meeting sleep guidelines. Furthermore, the importance of children getting a good night's sleep, and the capacity of parents to help them do so, should be emphasized in public health efforts promoting healthy child development.

BMC Public Health | 24 May 2017

A big difference in students, after Nanyang Girls starts school later at 8.15am

"At the end of the day I would find myself losing focus and not really catching what the teacher was saying. But now, for my last lesson, I'll still be paying attention"

Channel NewsAsia | 10 May 2017

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