Daytime sleepiness a product of obesity, depression

Posted at 7:03 PM, Jun 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-13 19:03:02-04

Sleepiness has been connected to on-the-job accidents and significant health risks.

About 20% of American adults have excessive daytime sleepiness, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but researchers say don’t blame a lack of sleep.

New Penn state studies say the main causes of sleepiness are obesity and depression.

Researchers followed about 1,173 people who “were not excessively sleepy during the day.”

The health conditions, mental state and weight gain among these participants were tracked and in the end, depression was the strongest predictor of daytime sleepiness, and obesity was the next factor.

During the study, 138 people (8%), developed excessive daytime sleepiness.

The odds of developing excessive daytime sleepiness were, according to WebMD:

  • Nearly three times as high in depressed people
  • More than twice as high in obese people and people with sleep apnea

In the second study, researcher Alexandros Vgontzas found a cycle. He said that among obese people daytime sleepiness was more common, but also if weight gain was more likely if nothing was done about the sleepiness.

“Obesity and depression are significant risk factors for new-onset excessive daytime sleepiness or to keep on having it if you have it,” Vgontzas told WebMD.