It may be a “perfect storm” of mental and physical health plagues.
In three new studies, researchers at Penn State University have reported that obesity and depression are the two main culprits contributing to day-to-day excessive sleepiness and fatigue.
“The ‘epidemic’ of sleepiness parallels an ‘epidemic’ of obesity and psychosocial stress,” said Alexandros Vgontzas, MD, the principal investigator for three Penn State studies. “Weight loss, depression and sleep disorders should be our priorities in terms of preventing the medical complications and public safety hazards associated with this excessive sleepiness.”
The Penn State researchers, who presented their findings at the Boston Sleep 2012 conference in June, examined a random population of 1,741 adults and determined that obesity and emotional stress are the main culprits of the current national “epidemic” of sleepiness and fatigue. In addition, insufficient sleep and obstructive sleep apnea play a role and have been linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, depression, diabetes, obesity and accidents.
Two-hundred and twenty-two of the 1,721 participants in the Penn State study initially reported excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and, for those whose EDS persisted at the time of follow-up – seven and a half years later – weight gain was the strongest predicting factor. “In fact, our results showed that in individuals who lost weight, excessive sleepiness improved,” Vgontzas reported.
In a second follow-up – seven and a half years later – researchers found that depression and obesity are the strongest risk factors for new-onset excessive sleepiness, a finding confirmed by a third study – this time of 103 research volunteers.
“The primary finding connecting our three studies are that depression and obesity are the main risk factors for both new-onset and persistent excessive sleepiness,” Vgontzas said.
The findings regarding EDS are important because it is linked to significant health risks and on-the-job accidents.
The bottom line: sleep disorders are just a “little problem.” Their accompanied by or cause a wide range of often life-threatening problems. If the persists beyond a difficult night or two, address them or risk being drowned in your own sleep-related “perfect storm.”
The Brain Training Centers of Florida are helping people improve their sleep without medication utilizing brain wave optimization seven days a week. Please contact us at 305-412-5050 with any questions.