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A longitudinal observational population-based study of brain volume associated with changes in sleep timing from middle to late-life.

  • Kim, Regina E Y1, 2
  • Kim, Hyeon Jin3
  • Kim, Soriul1
  • Abbott, Robert D1
  • Thomas, Robert J4
  • Yun, Chang-Ho5
  • Lee, Hyang Woon3, 6
  • Shin, Chol1
  • 1 College of Medicine, Korea University, Republic of Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 2 College of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
  • 3 Department of Neurology and Medical Science, School of Medicine, Ewha Woman University School of Medicine and Ewha Medical Research Institute, Seoul, Republic of Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 4 Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Department of Radiology, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. , (Israel)
  • 5 Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Republic of Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 6 Department of Computational Medicine, System Health & Engineering Major in Graduate School (BK21 Plus Program), Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. , (North Korea)
Published Article
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Apr 09, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsaa233
PMID: 33170277


Sleep behaviors are related to brain structure and function, but the impact of long-term changes in sleep timing on brain health has not been clearly addressed. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of longitudinal changes in sleep timing from middle to late-life with gray matter volume (GMV), an important marker of brain aging. We enrolled 1798 adults (aged 49-82 years, men 54.6%) who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) between 2011 and 2014. Midsleep time (MST) on free days corrected for sleep debt on workdays was adopted as a marker of sleep timing. Data on MST were available at the time of MRI assessment and at examinations that were given 9 years earlier (2003-2004). Longitudinal changes in MST over the 9-year period were derived and categorized into quartiles. Subjects in quartile 1 were defined as "advancers" (MST advanced ≥ 1 h) while those in quartile 4 were defined as "delayers" (MST delayed ≥ 0.2 h). Quartiles 2-3 defined a reference group (MST change was considered modest). The relationship of GMV with MST changes over 9 years was investigated. Nine-year change in MST were significantly associated with GMV. Compared to the reference group, advancers had smaller GMVs in the frontal and temporal regions. A delay in MST was also associated with smaller cerebellar GMV. In middle-to-late adulthood, the direction of change in MST is associated with GMV. While advancers and delayers in MST tend to present lower GMV, associations appear to differ across brain regions. © Sleep Research Society 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Sleep Research Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail [email protected]

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