Exercise reduces the levels of two proteins, resulting in reduced excessive sleepiness, the findings showed.
The study involved people with hypersomnia, which is characterised by sleeping too much at night as well as excessive daytime sleepiness.
“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 study senior author Madhukar Trivedi from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the US.
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 US 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.
The researchers looked at blood sample provided by study participants who were randomly assigned to two types of aerobic exercise to determine the effects of exercise on their depression.
More than 100 adults ages 18 to 70 who had major depression disorder participated.
Researchers found that reductions in two biomarkers – brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and Interleukin-1 beta – are related to reductions in hypersomnia.
The findings appeared in the journal Translational Psychiatry.