New research indicates that exercise can help alleviate excessive daytime sleepiness among depressed individuals.
Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care looked into blood samples that identified two biological markers for hypersomnia, which is characterized by sleeping too much at night as well as excessive daytime sleepiness in those with Major Depressive Disorder. Exercise reduced the levels of the two biomarker proteins, resulting in reduced excessive sleepiness.
“Hypersomnia, as well as insomnia, have been linked in the development, treatment, and recurrence of depression. Sleep disturbances are also some of the most persistent symptoms in depression. Identifying these biomarkers, combined with new understanding of the important role of exercise in reducing hypersomnia, have potential implications in the treatment of major depressive disorder,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Madhukar Trivedi.
People with hypersomnia are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or in conversation. They often have difficulty waking from a long sleep, and may feel disoriented upon waking, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other symptoms may include anxiety, increased irritation, decreased energy, restlessness, slow thinking, slow speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, and memory difficulty. Some patients lose the ability to function in family, social, occupational, or other settings.
Researchers had previously found a negative loop in which sleep, inflammation and depression interact and progressively worsen. The results of the current and previous research on insomnia suggest that exercise may be resetting this negative feedback loop.