November 13, 2014
Science Daily/Brigham and Women's Hospital
In a national sample of almost 7,000 firefighters, researchers examined the prevalence of common sleep disorders and their association with adverse health and safety outcomes and found that sleep disorders are highly prevalent, and associated with substantially increased risk of motor vehicle crashes and cardio-metabolic diseases among firefighters.
"Our findings demonstrate the impact of common sleep disorders on firefighter health and safety, and their connection to the two leading causes of death among firefighters," said Barger. "Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of firefighters who screened positive for a common sleep disorder were undiagnosed and untreated."
Researchers found that a total of 37.2 percent of firefighters screened positive for sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder and restless leg syndrome. Firefighters with a sleep disorder were more likely to report a motor vehicle crash and were more likely to report falling asleep while driving than those who did not screen positive. Additionally, firefighters with sleep disorders were more likely to report having cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety, and to report poorer health status, compared with those who did not screen positive.