Sleep duration during weekdays affects hippocampal gray matter volume in healthy children

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Abstract

Sleep is essential for living beings, and sleep loss has been shown to affect hippocampal structure and function in rats by inhibiting cell proliferation and neurogenesis in this region of the brain. We aimed to analyze the correlation between sleep duration and the hippocampal volume using brain magnetic resonance images of 290 healthy children aged 5–18 years. We examined the volume of gray matter, white matter, and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space in the brain using a fully automated and established neuroimaging technique, voxel-based morphometry, which enabled global analysis of brain structure without bias towards any specific brain region while permitting the identification of potential differences or abnormalities in brain structures. We found that the regional gray matter volume of the bilateral hippocampal body was significantly positively correlated with sleep duration during weekdays after adjusting for age, sex, and intracranial volume. Our results indicated that sleep duration affects the hippocampal regional gray matter volume of healthy children. These findings advance our understanding of the importance of sleep habits in the daily lives of healthy children.

Highlights

□ Sleep duration was positively correlated with gray matter volume in children. □ Those correlations were found in the bilateral hippocampus. □ Those correlations were found in sleep duration during weekdays, not weekends.

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