Are you overweight and having trouble keeping your eyes open at work? Do you find yourself nodding off during class? According to a study presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies annual meeting in Boston, your daytime sleepiness may be caused by your weight. Apparently, people who are obese may feel more tired and sleepy than others.

Researchers conducted two studies involving 1,741 subjects, of which 1,173 didn’t report or exhibit daytime sleepiness. After 7.5 years, however, researchers detected a change in their sleepiness rate. New-onset excessive sleepiness was reported by 8 percent, while the rate of persistent daytime sleepiness was 38 percent. But when the obese participants lost weight, they also lost their daytime sleepiness.

According to Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington DC, "Obesity and weight gain affect sleep, and poor sleep affects weight from a physiological and behavioral perspective.” It becomes a vicious cycle. Daytime sleepiness also comes with a host of other problems. For example, those with daytime sleepiness are less likely to take care of their health and are also more prone to sleep apnea. And while daytime sleepiness may not seem like too big a problem, it can lead to accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Avoiding daytime sleepiness may be another reason to start slimming down. The health benefits are certainly worth an hour of exercise or at least a smaller helping of dessert.

(Photo by Timothy Krause via Flickr Creative Commons)

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