Ageing-related changes in grey matter result in changes in the intensity and topography of sleep neural activity. However, it is unclear whether these findings can be explained by ageing-related differences in sleep pressure or circadian influence. The current study used high-density electroencephalography to assess how grey matter volume differences between young and older adults mediate and moderate neuroscillatory activity differences during a midday nap following a motor sequencing task. Delta, theta, and sigma amplitude were reduced in older relative to young adults, especially over frontocentral scalp, leading to increases in relative delta frontality and relative sigma lateral centroposteriority. Delta reductions in older adults were mediated by grey matter loss in frontal medial cortex, primary motor cortex, thalamus, caudate, putamen, and pallidum, and were moderated by putamen grey matter volume. Theta reductions were mediated by grey matter loss in primary motor cortex, thalamus, and caudate, and were moderated by putamen and pallidum grey matter volume. Sigma changes were moderated by putamen and pallidum grey matter volume. Moderation results suggested that across frequencies, young adults with more grey matter had increased activity, whereas older adults with more grey matter had unchanged or decreased activity. These results provide a critical extension of previous findings from overnight sleep in a midday nap, indicating that they are not driven by sleep pressure or circadian confounds. Moreover, these results suggest brain regions associated with motor sequence learning contribute to sleep neural activity following a motor sequencing task.
Keywords: ageing; delta; grey matter; sigma; sleep; theta.
© 2021 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.