The sleep nullifying apparatus: A highly efficient method of sleep depriving drosophila

Krishna Melnattur, Ellen Morgan, Vincent Duong, Arjan Kalra, Paul J. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sleep homeostasis, the increase in sleep observed following sleep loss, is one of the defining criteria used to identify sleep throughout the animal kingdom. As a consequence, sleep deprivation and sleep restriction are powerful tools that are commonly used to provide insight into sleep function. Nonetheless, sleep deprivation experiments are inherently problematic in that the deprivation stimulus itself may be the cause of observed changes in physiology and behavior. Accordingly, successful sleep deprivation techniques should keep animals awake and, ideally, result in a robust sleep rebound without also inducing a large number of unintended consequences. Here, we describe a sleep deprivation technique for Drosophila melanogaster. The Sleep Nullifying Apparatus (SNAP) administers a stimulus every 10s to induce negative geotaxis. Although the stimulus is predictable, the SNAP effectively prevents >95% of nighttime sleep even in flies with high sleep drive. Importantly, the subsequent homeostatic response is very similar to that achieved using hand-deprivation. The timing and spacing of the stimuli can be modified to minimize sleep loss and thus examine non-specific effects of the stimulus on physiology and behavior. The SNAP can also be used for sleep restriction and to assess arousal thresholds. The SNAP is a powerful sleep disruption technique that can be used to better understand sleep function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62105
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number166
StatePublished - Dec 2020


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