Poor sleep quality linked to mood problems in extremely obese

A new study reports that poor sleep is strongly linked to mood disturbances in people who are extremely obese.

Researchers from the Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. found that problems with regular sleeping patterns also lead to daytime sleepiness and a poorer quality of life.

Study reveals a direct link

For the study, 270 patients with a mean body mass index of 47 kg/m2 were examined and surveyed about their sleep habits.

Results showed that 74.8 percent of the subjects were "poor" sleepers, with their average sleep duration lasting only about six hours. More than half of the patients were also depressed. In general, the researchers found that sleep quality was significantly linked to mood problems and impairments in maintaining a high quality of life.

"There was a clear association between the sleep problems such as short sleep duration and the psychological disorders and with quality of life," said Dr. G. Neil Thomas, lead study author. "These associations remained significant even after adjusting for a range of potential confounders."

Routine screenings needed

The researchers said that the role sleep plays in the lives of obese individuals is generally underrated by physicians and health experts.

"Despite the very high levels of problems in these patients, those involved with their care usually don't ask about sleep problems and often pay little heed to the psychological issues underlying the obesity," said Thomas.

Based on the findings, doctors should be regularly surveying their obese patients about their sleep patterns and any problems associated with getting regular sleep.

"Improving sleep quality and quantity will provide a physical, mental and emotional boost for people who are making the difficult lifestyle changes involved in managing obesity," Thomas concluded.

Results of the study appear in the December issue of the journal Sleep.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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