[en] Background. The locus coeruleus (LC) is the primary source of norepinephrine in the brain and regulates arousal and sleep. Animal research shows that it plays important roles in the transition between sleep and wakefulness, and between slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep (REMS). It is unclear, however, whether the activity of the LC predicts sleep variability in humans. Methods. We used 7 Tesla functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, sleep electroencephalography (EEG) and a sleep questionnaire to test whether the LC activity during wakefulness was associated with sleep quality in 33 healthy younger (~22y; 28 women) and 19 older (~61y; 14 women) individuals. Results. We found that, in older, but not in younger participants, higher LC activity, as probed during an auditory attentional task, was associated with worse subjective sleep quality and with lower power over the EEG theta band during REMS. The results remained robust even when accounting for the age-related changes in the integrity of the LC. Conclusion. These findings suggest that LC activity correlates with the perception of the sleep quality and an essential oscillatory mode of REMS, and that the LC may be an important target in the treatment of sleep and age-related diseases.