Robert Ogilvie

Professor, Ph.D. (Cambridge)


From the earliest moments of human thought, people have wondered about the relationship between waking and sleeping. That fundamental concern drives my research program here at Brock. As a Sleep Researcher and Psychophysiologist, most of my studies are theoretically based, aimed at understanding sleep/wake (S/W) interrelationships at several levels – typically while looking at electrophysiological, behavioural and subjective indices. Some have practical implications for simplifying S/W monitoring and identifying drowsiness during critical task performance (i.e., driving).

What follows is a series of issues we are addressing in the Brock Sleep Lab these days: How do CNS control mechanisms change as we enter and leave sleep? Are there systematic changes in EEG activity during the sleep onset process? How about event related potentials – do they change predictably before and during sleep? Are behavioural indices of wakefulness and sleep useful supplements to physiological measures? How can this information help us build better models of sleep?

Do subjective, behavioural and physiological changes prior to sleep intercorrelate? What can they tell us about S/W processes? How closely do simple indices of drowsiness, like head-nodding, rolling eye movements and depressed respiratory activity relate to changes in awareness?

Are there physiological markers for interesting events during dreaming? Is the lucid dreamer in a physiologically unique state or does the lucid dream exist in “normal” REM sleep?

Why ask such questions? Because the relationship between mind and brain holds the key to understanding many fundamental psychological processes and sleep is often an optimal time to study them. Consider this an invitation to pose such questions in a well-equipped research environment where opportunities for creative research on sleep and related processes are limited only by your imagination and energy.

Sleep research – human

  • sleep onset/offset mechanisms
  • falling asleep; unintended and pathological (insomnia)
  • voluntary control of sleep parameters; dreaming time; emotionality in lucid dreams
  • sleep deprivation and circadian effects on mood and performance
  • sleep and dreams

Ogilvie, R.D. The process of falling asleep. Sleep Medicine Reviews. Provisionally accepted, Feb. 2000; final revisions in progress.

Alloway, C.E.D., Ogilvie, R.D., & Shapiro, C.M. (1999). The electrophysiology of the sleep-onset period in narcoleptics and normals. Sleep, 22, 191-203.

Fukuda, K., Ogilvie, R.D., Chilcott, L., Vendittelli, A. (1998). The prevalence of sleep paralysis among Canadian and Japanese college students. Dreaming, 8, 59-66.

Ogilvie, R.D., & Harsh, J.R. (Eds). (1995). Sleep Onset: Normal and Abnormal Processes. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.