Understanding the role of sleep behaviors in white matter hyperintensity

  • In a study of UK Biobank participants (n=26,354), a ‘U-shaped’ relationship between sleep duration and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) were observed, with the lowest WMH observed at 7.7 hours per night.
  • Late chronotype, excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, and sleep durations of >8 hours or <7 hours were associated with increased WMH.
  • The authors concluded that unhealthy sleep behaviors were associated with increased WMH and poorer white matter microstructure. The findings indicate the possibility of improving white matter integrity through improved sleep behavior.