The common denominators of sleep, obesity, and psychopathology

Curr Opin Psychol. 2020 Aug;34:84-88. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.11.003. Epub 2019 Dec 2.


Sleep is an important contributor to mental and physical health. Insomnia, nightmares, and other sleep disturbances are closely linked to depression, anxiety, weight gain, diabetes, and progression of cardiometabolic disease. The high comorbidity between sleep problems, obesity, and mental illness suggest that common mechanisms are at work between them. This review discusses the presence of bivariate relations between sleep, obesity, and psychopathology, as well as the limited evidence suggesting interactions among all three. While the review identifies obstructive sleep apnea, food intake, and inflammation as potential linking mechanisms, the dearth of current literature limits strong conclusions. More data is needed to evaluate the potential moderating/mediating influences between sleep, obesity, and mental health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Psychopathology
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders*