OBJECTIVES: Poor sleep is associated with multiple age-related neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions. The hippocampus plays a special role in sleep and sleep-dependent cognition, and accelerated hippocampal atrophy is typically seen with higher age. Hence, it is critical to establish how the relationship between sleep and hippocampal volume loss unfolds across the adult lifespan. METHODS: Self-reported sleep measures and MRI-derived hippocampal volumes were obtained from 3105 cognitively normal participants (18-90 years) from major European brain studies in the Lifebrain consortium. Hippocampal volume change was estimated from 5116 MRIs from 1299 participants for whom longitudinal MRIs were available, followed up to 11 years with a mean interval of 3.3 years. Cross-sectional analyses were repeated in a sample of 21390 participants from the UK Biobank. RESULTS: No cross-sectional sleep - hippocampal volume relationships were found. However, worse sleep quality, efficiency, problems, and daytime tiredness were related to greater hippocampal volume loss over time, with high scorers showing 0.22% greater annual loss than low scorers. The relationship between sleep and hippocampal atrophy did not vary across age. Simulations showed that the observed longitudinal effects were too small to be detected as age-interactions in the cross-sectional analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Worse self-reported sleep is associated with higher rates of hippocampal volume decline across the adult lifespan. This suggests that sleep is relevant to understand individual differences in hippocampal atrophy, but limited effect sizes call for cautious interpretation.
aging, hippocampus, lifespan, longitudinal, self-report, sleep