admin May 15, 2019

Sleep deprivation (SD) has been reported to severely affect executive function, and interindividual differences in these effects may contribute to the SD-associated cognition impairment. However, it is unclear how individual differences in chronotypes (morning-type, MT; evening-type, ET) influence neurobehavioral functions after SD. To address this question, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to evaluate whether 24 h of SD differentially affect response inhibition, a core component of executive function, in MT and ET individuals. Accordingly, MT and ET participants were instructed to follow their preferred 7-9-hour sleep schedule for two weeks at home both prior to and throughout the course of the study, and then performed a go/no-go task during fMRI scanning at 08:00 a.m. both at rested wakefulness (RW) and following SD. We also examined whether the neurobehavioral inhibition differences in the chronotypes in each session can be predicted by subjective ratings (sleepiness, mood, and task) or objective attention. Behaviorally, SD led to an increased response time of go trials (hit RT), more attentional lapses, higher subjective sleepiness, and worse mood indices, but it did not impair the accuracy of go trials (hit rate) and no-go trials (stop rate). Regardless of the presence of SD, ET individuals exhibited a lower stop rate, higher subjective ratings of sleepiness, exhausted mood, and task difficulty in comparison with MT individuals. On the neural level, SD resulted in decreased inhibition-related activation of the right lateral inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG) in MT individuals and increased rIFG activation in ET individuals. Moreover, the rIFG activation in ET individuals after SD was positively correlated to the subjective ratings of sleepiness and effort put into the task, which was considered as a compensatory response to the adverse effects of SD. These findings suggest that individual differences in inhibition-related cerebral activation after SD are influenced by chronotypes. In addition, ET individuals may be vulnerable to response inhibition. Thus, it is essential to take into consideration the chronotype in SD research and sleep medicine.

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