Poor Sleep Disturbs Mood, Quality of Life in Obese

December 9, 2013

Poor sleep quality is strongly associated with mood disturbance and lower quality of life in persons who are extremely obese, a study says.

Poor sleep quality is strongly associated with mood disturbance and lower quality of life in persons who are extremely obese, according to a new study.

Araghi and associates at the University of Birmingham, UK, and other centers studied 270 patients (mean body mass index [BMI], 47.0 kg/m2; mean age, 43 years) who were consecutively enrolled in a regional specialist weight management service. They used standardized questionnaires to assess sleep disturbance, daytime sleepiness, mood, and quality of life.

Three-fourths of the study patients were poor sleepers (mean self-reported sleep duration, 6 hours and 20 minutes); 52% were anxious, and 43% were depressed. After controlling for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obstructive sleep apnea, sleep quality and daytime sleepiness were significantly associated with mood disturbance and quality of life impairment.

Sleep’s potential role in the health and well-being of persons who have severe obesity is underappreciated, according to the authors. The study results suggest that early detection of disturbed sleep could prevent the development and perpetuation of psychological problems among persons with extreme obesity.

Physicians involved with the care of obese patients often do not ask about sleep problems, it was noted. They focus on treating the obesity and its consequences rather than address its underlying cause, which may be psychological.

“This study emphasizes the need for physicians to conduct routine screenings for sleep problems among people with severe obesity,” American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr M. Safwan Badr stated. “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.”

More than one-third of US adults are obese, with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher, according to the CDC, which estimates the annual medical cost of obesity in the United States at $147 billion in 2008 dollars.

Thestudy results appear in the December issue of the journal Sleep.