Work-Related Sleep Disorders: Causes and Impacts

Elen Gusman*, Jordan Standlee, Kathryn J. Reid, Lisa F. Wolfe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Insufficient sleep syndrome, shift work disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) not only significantly impact the health of affected individuals, but also pose a threat to public safety. This article describes the clinical manifestations and impact of these sleep disorders, particularly as they pertain to workers' health and those with safety-sensitive positions. Sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm disruptions, and excessive daytime sleepiness-hallmarks of insufficient sleep, shift work disorder, and OSA, respectively-all lead to a series of cognitive deficits and impaired concentration that affect workers in a wide variety of fields. We describe the health consequences of these disorders along with treatment strategies, with a focus on current regulatory standards and the under-recognition of OSA in commercial drivers. Given its large scale, there is a need for improved guidelines and regulations for the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and long-term follow-up of OSA in commercial motor vehicle drivers. Increased recognition of the ways in which these sleep disorders impact workers will pave the way for significant improvements in occupational health and safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 10 2023


  • commercial motor vehicle drivers
  • insufficient sleep syndrome
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • occupational health and safety
  • shift work disorder
  • sleep disorders in workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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