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Obesity and Depression Seen as Main Culprits of Daytime Sleepiness

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Once in a while, we experience feeling lethargic and sleepy during daytime for several different reasons, including spending late-night movie marathon with friends; nursing a sick baby; completing an important school project; or due to that insomnia you’ve been battling since time immemorial. All these events would usually lead to sleep deprivation, which according to existing studies, is one of the most common culprit of daytime sleepiness – along with sleep apnea.  But before you keep blaming the two offenders, a new study from Penn State University found that obesity and emotional stress also play a critical role in excessive daytime drowsiness.

Researchers examined 1,741 adults to identify what affects daytime sleepiness and fatigue over the course of three studies. Seven and a half years later, a follow up interview was conducted and revealed that weight gain was the biggest culprit on adults whose excessive daytime sleepiness remained.

An additional study showed that some of the participants who did not have excessive daytime sleepiness at the start of study did eventually develop excessive sleepiness due to depression and obesity.

Health experts often advised that daytime sleepiness and lack of sleep should not be taken lightly as they can result to more serious health problems in the long run. People who are in the habit of not getting sufficient sleep are at high risk of developing high blood pressure, heart diseases, and diabetes. Similarly, lack of quality sleep can affect your job performance, everyday activities, and overall moods.

The new studies highlight new approaches for intervention, as well as encourage health providers to educate and help people lose weight.