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Sleep Health & Work

Sleepiness can have a serious negative impact in the work place. Excessive sleepiness comes from many causes, including:

  • sleep disorders
  • medications
  • extended work hours
  • chronic sleep deprivation

Consequences of excessive sleepiness at work

Excessive sleepiness can lead to decreased productivity, difficulty with concentration, irritability, disruption of interpersonal relationships with co-workers, increased errors, and an increased risk for serious accidents including falling asleep at the wheel while driving a motor vehicle.

Sleep disorders not only affect job performance, but certain professions have strict regulations regarding an individual’s eligibility to work if they have excessive sleepiness resulting from a sleep disorder. Truck drivers, airline pilots and workers seeking to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) are routinely screened for obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy.

Why it is important to address sleepiness in the workplace?

Addressing sleep issues can increase employee productivity and safety. These issues, as well as the costs of a sleepy company, are covered in Sleepiness in the Workplace. Moreover, approximately 25% of the American workforce works on a rotating or shift work schedule. Shift-Work Sleep Disorder is very common in this population and manifests as excessive sleepiness on the job or difficulty sleeping (insomnia) when at home and is covered in a separate section. Finally, driving a motor vehicle while sleepy can have dangerous consequences (see Sleep and Driving) leading to traffic accidents and falling asleep at the wheel while driving. The Department of Transportation (DOT) now requires screening for sleep disorders in DOT physicals. The section on DOT Evaluations covers some of these related issues.

At the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute, we are dedicated to improving public awareness of sleep and sleep disorders and strive to maximize patient safety and productivity. Sleep disorders can lead to numerous chronic health consequences, including high blood pressure and heart attack among others. We advocate a long-term treatment management plan for all patients with sleep disorders to maximize their overall general health and sense of well-being. A good night’s sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity!™.


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