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Neural connectivity moderates the association between sleep and impulsivity in adolescents.

  • Author(s): Tashjian, Sarah M
  • Goldenberg, Diane
  • Galván, Adriana
  • et al.

Adolescence is characterized by chronic insufficient sleep and extensive brain development, but the relation between adolescent sleep and brain function remains unclear. We report the first functional magnetic resonance imaging study to investigate functional connectivity as a moderator between sleep and impulsivity, a problematic behavior during this developmental period. Naturalistic differences in sleep have not yet been explored as treatable contributors to adolescent impulsivity. Although public and scientific attention focuses on sleep duration, we report individual differences in sleep quality, not duration, in fifty-five adolescents (ages 14-18) yielded significant differences in functional connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and default mode network. Poor sleep quality was related to greater affect-related impulsivity among adolescents with low, but not high, connectivity, suggesting neural functioning relates to individual differences linking sleep quality and impulsivity. Response inhibition and cognitive impulsivity were not related to sleep quality, suggesting that sleep has a greater impact on affect-related impulsivity. Exploring environmental contributors of poor sleep quality, we demonstrated pillow comfort was uniquely related to sleep quality over age, sex, and income, a promising advance ripe for intervention.

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