Depression, Obesity May Worsen Sleep

Insomnia and daytime sleepiness may be worsened by obsesity and depression

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Why is it so hard for some people to get a good night's sleep? The causes are complex, but new data suggests weight gain and clinical depression worsen daytime sleepiness.

Three studies just published link being seriously overweight or clinically depressed with problematic daytime sleepiness. While many of us feel a bit drowsy during the day, more serious lack of sleep can compromise work and other responsibilities.

Sleep disorders can negatively affect work and productivity, distressing individuals and costing billions of dollars to the economy. Overall, sleep quality seems to be affected by a number of neurological, emotional, behavioral, and environmental factors. Lighting levels, stress, alcohol, caffeine intake and genetics likely play some role. 

In recent years increasing attention has been given to additional factors influencing sleep quality. By researching the sleep life of 1,741 adults, teams led by Alexandros Vgontzas, MD found noteworthy associations between body fat levels and daytime sleepiness. THere was also an assoication between incidence of clinical depression and poor quality sleep.

How would body fat level make it harder to get a good night's sleep? Why should a certain intensity of prolonged sadness negatively affect restorative slumber? These are unknown currently. Sleep is a mysterious phenomenon, only very partially understood by psychologists, neurologists, and doctors.

While the biological and psychological connections between sleep, obesity, and depression remain elusive, the plausibility of the links are reinforced by the size of the sample. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 11, 2012
Last Updated:
June 12, 2012