Thursday, January 31, 2008

Really sleepy all day? This might be why

If you just can't suppress the daytime yawning and you can barely keep your eyes open in those long meetings, it may be more than a sign of disturbed or inadequate sleep.

Reuters and MedPage Today report that a new study from Pennsylvania State University concludes that excessive daytime sleepiness could also be a signal of depression or diabetes--even among those who just don't sleep well at night or suffer from sleep apnea.

The researchers randomly chose a sample of 16,500 men and women from central Pennsylvania who ranged in age from 20 to 100 years old. Of these, 8.7 percent suffered from excessive daytime sleepiness. Although the researchers considered a number of reasons why these people were so sleepy during the day, they found that it was most strongly associated with depression, obesity and metabolic factors, rather than sleep disruption during the night.

Among those with excessive daytime sleepiness, depression was by far the most significant risk factor. The likelihood of being excessively sleepy during the daytime was more than three times higher in those who reported they were being treated for depression, reports Reuters. There was also a strong link between daytime sleepiness and diabetes; diabetics were almost twice as likely to report excessive daytime sleepiness as non-diabetics.

Obesity and smoking also boosted the likelihood of being sleepy during the day. There was a "dramatic increase" in the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness when the body mass index reached 28, the researchers reported. A BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight, while 30 or higher signals obesity. Excessive daytime sleepiness was also more common in people under age 30 and those over 75.

The study findings were reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.


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