ABE Laboratory

International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (WPI-IIIS)

University of Tsukuba

Understanding how sleep relates to the human mind and behavior



Our laboratory studies human sleep and sleepiness in the fields of experimental psychology, psychophysiology, and neuroscience. Currently, we are conducting research on three main topics: (1) understanding the psychological functions of emotional process during human REM sleep, (2) understanding and mitigating performance deficits from sleep loss, and (3) developing non-invasive methods to promote psychological functions of sleep.



(1) Understanding the functions of emotional process during human REM sleep


Cover figure for Clinical Neurophysiology, 119 (9)

The functional role of sleep has not been fully understood. We study the psychological function of sleep using behavioral and physiological measures. In particular, we found a novel brain potential which occurs before the rapid eye movements during human REM sleep. We named this potential pre-rapid-eye-movement negativity (PRN) (Abe et al., 2004). Current sources of this potential were estimated at the medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala (Abe et al., 2004; 2008). Because these regions regulate emotion, we assume that the PRN reflects emotional processes during human REM sleep. We use this marker to elucidate the psychological function of human REM sleep (Abe et al., 2012).


当研究室では,睡眠の心理学的機能を解明することを目的とした研究を行っています。特に,我々は,ヒトのレム睡眠中の急速眼球運動の直前に出現する脳電位を発見し,この電位を急速眼球運動前陰性電位(pre-rapid-eye-movement negativity; PRN) と名付けました(Abe et al., 2004)。この脳電位の発生源を求めたところ,内側前頭前野や扁桃体に推定されました(Abe et al., 2004; 2008)。これらの脳部位は情動調節に関与していることから,PRNはレム睡眠中の情動過程に関与した脳活動であると考えています。この脳電位を指標として,ヒトのレム睡眠の機能を解明することを目指した検討を進めています(Abe et al., 2012)。

(2) Understanding and mitigating performance deficits from sleep loss


Our research goal is to understand and mitigate neurobehavioral performance deficits from sleep loss in order to prevent accidents and human errors associated with sleep loss (Abe et al., 2010,2011).

It is well known that sleep loss causes fluctuations in response times. This phenomenon is called “state instability” (Doran, Van Dongen, and Dinges, 2001). However, the neural and physiological basis of state instability is not yet fully understood. We are conducting studies to elucidate the characteristics of state instability and the neural and physiological basis of this phenomenon (Abe et al., 2020).

We also aim to establish a novel method that evaluates and predicts neurobehavioral responses to sleep loss based on an accurate and unobtrusive measure of alertness. We have found novel markers measuring vigilant attention and developed a new algorithm detecting multilevel vigilance by integrating these new markers (Abe et al., 2020). We will improve the accuracy of our new algorithm and apply it to several settings by conducting feasibility studies.


当研究室では,「眠気」に伴うパフォーマンス低下を防止することを目的として,睡眠学と工学・情報学を融合した研究・技術開発を行っています。そのうちの一つとして,私達は,簡便かつ正確に睡眠不足による注意力の低下を評価・予測するシステムの新規開発を行っています。これまでの研究で,私達は注意力の指標となるいくつかの新たな指標を発見しました。さらに,これらの指標の測定値を統合し,注意力の度合いを推定できる新しいアルゴリズムもすでに開発しています(Abe et al., 2020)。この新しいアルゴリズムの改良を続け,実用化を目指した研究を行っています。また,睡眠不足によるパフォーマンスの低下を理解し,それに基づいて注意低下の新しい評価手法を開発します。「眠気」に伴うパフォーマンス低下を防止する方法の検討も行っています。これらの研究・技術開発により,睡眠不足が関わる事故やヒューマンエラー(Abe et al., 2010,2011)を未然に防ぐことを目指しています。

(3) Developing non-invasive methods to promote psychological functions of sleep


We are investigating non-invasive and non-pharmacological methods to promote psychological functions of sleep by administering stimuli during sleep.



Join our lab / 大学院生・学振研究員を募集しています。

As a postdoctoral fellow: Please feel free to send us a message to abe.lab.inquiry@gmail.com for further information.

As a graduate student: If you have interest in joining our lab as a graduate student, please apply to the Master's and Doctoral Programs in Neuroscience, Ph.D. Program in Human Biology, or Ph.D. Program in Humanics.