Completed Studies

Sleep Disruptions and Risk in Adolescence: Physiological Underpinnings

Funded by Auburn University (Intramural Grants Program)

El-Sheikh, M. (Co-PI)
4/1/2014 — 3/31/2016

To investigate consequences of short sleep on the developing brain, we examined the neurophysiological consequence of a single night of sleep restriction in 20 young adolescents through ultra-high field (7T) functional neuroimaging. Using a crossover within-subjects design, we demonstrated that brain regions involved in the default mode and limbic regulatory centers are disrupted following sleep restriction (4 hrs) compared to “normal” sleep (8 hrs). In addition, we found atypical functional connectivity patterns in fronto-limbic circuity following sleep restriction. Findings indicate that even a single night of short sleep can have detrimental effects on key brain regions associated with learning, attention, and emotional processes responses, and identify a pathophysiological mechanism underlying the effects of sleep deprivation in adolescents.

Sleep Brain image

Networks in the brain that are different after a night of normal sleep (shown in red) compared to a night of restricted sleep, while blue colors indicate brain networks that are more active following sleep restriction.

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NSF video

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