Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The sleep-deprived brain has principally been characterized by examining dysfunction during cognitive task performance. However, far less attention has been afforded the possibility that sleep deprivation may be as, if not more, accurately characterized on the basis of abnormal resting-state brain activity. Here we report that one night of sleep deprivation significantly disrupts the canonical signature of task-related deactivation, resulting in a double dissociation within anterior as well as posterior midline regions of the default network. Indeed, deactivation within these regions alone discriminated sleep-deprived from sleep-control subjects with a 93% degree of sensitivity and 92% specificity. In addition, the relative balance of deactivation within these default nodes significantly correlated with the amount of prior sleep in the control group (and not extended time awake in the deprivation group). Therefore, the stability and the balance of task-related deactivation in key default-mode regions may be dependent on prior sleep, such that a lack thereof disrupts this signature pattern of brain activity, findings that may offer explanatory insights into conditions associated with sleep loss at both a clinical as well as societal level.