The connectivity links between brain areas provided a neural basis for the relationship between depression and poor sleep quality, according to study findings.

“The widespread use of the [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index] has shown that subjective sleep disturbances are associated with depression. Moreover, there is a genetic component to the association between poor sleep quality and depression, and this makes it especially interesting to search for possible neural mechanisms that may mediate the association,” Wei Cheng, PhD, of the Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-Inspired Intelligence, Fudan University, China, and colleagues wrote. “Advances in our understanding of the neural bases of depression, and how they may be associated with poor sleep quality, are key areas for investigation.”

To determine the brain areas that mediate the link between depressive symptoms and poor sleep quality, researchers examined data from 1,017 participants in the Human Connectome Project on self-reported depressive problems via scores on the Adult Self-Report of Depressive Problems, sleep quality via survey and resting-state functional MRI. The investigators also conducted a cross-validation of the sleep findings in 8,718 participants from the UK Biobank.