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Circadian phenotype impacts the brain’s resting state functional connectivity, attentional performance and sleepiness

Facer-Childs, Elise R, Campos, Brunno M, Middleton, Benita, Skene, Debra J and Bagshaw, Andrew P (2019) Circadian phenotype impacts the brain’s resting state functional connectivity, attentional performance and sleepiness Sleep, 42 (5), zsz033.

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Functional connectivity (FC) of the human brain’s intrinsically connected networks underpins cognitive functioning and disruptions of FC are associated with sleep and neurological disorders. However, there is limited research on the impact of circadian phenotype and time of day on FC.


The aim of this study was to investigate resting state FC of the default mode network (DMN) in Early and Late circadian phenotypes over a socially constrained day.


38 healthy individuals (14 male, 22.7 ± 4.2 years) categorised as Early (n =16) or Late (n = 22) using the Munich ChronoType Questionnaire took part. Following a two week baseline of actigraphy coupled with saliva samples for melatonin and cortisol rhythms, participants underwent testing at 14.00 h, 20.00 h and 08.00 h the following morning. Testing consisted of resting state functional MRI, a structural T1 scan, attentional cognitive performance tasks and self-reported daytime sleepiness. Seed based FC analysis from the medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices of the DMN was performed, compared between groups and linked with behavioural data.


Fundamental differences in the DMN were observed between Early and Late circadian phenotypes. Resting state FC of the DMN predicted individual differences in attention and subjective ratings of sleepiness.


Differences in FC of the DMN may underlie the compromised attentional performance and increased sleepiness commonly associated with Late types when they conform to a societally constrained day that does not match their intrinsic circadian phenotype.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Facer-Childs, Elise R
Campos, Brunno M
Skene, Debra
Bagshaw, Andrew P
Date : May 2019
Funders : Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Wellcome Trust
DOI : 10.1093/sleep/zsz033
Copyright Disclaimer : © Sleep Research Society 2019. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of the Sleep Research Society]. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Circadian phenotype; Sleep; Default mode network; Attentional performance; Sleepiness; Circadian rhythms; Phenotype; Drowsiness; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Cognitive ability
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 15 Feb 2019 12:17
Last Modified : 06 Sep 2019 11:32

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