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The Prevalence and Characteristics Associated With Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Among Australian Workers

Liviya NG, Winda BMedSc(Hons); Freak-Poli, Rosanne BSc, BHSc, PhD; Peeters, Anna BSc(Hons), PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 9 - p 935–945
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000150
Original Articles

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and its associated factors in a mixed population of employed Australian workers.

Methods: Study participants (n = 707) were volunteers from various Melbourne workplaces, participating in a workplace physical activity program in 2008. Daytime sleepiness was assessed using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), with EDS defined as ESS scores >10.

Results: In this population of adult employees (40.0% male; mean age 40.2 ± 10.4 years), prevalence of EDS was 16.0%. Characteristics associated with EDS and higher ESS scores were age, higher body mass index, markers of poorer diet, and markers of poorer mental health.

Conclusions: Excessive daytime sleepiness is potentially an important contributor to lower productivity and poorer mental health in the workplace. Our finding suggests that workplace health programs aimed at improving diet and body weight may also help alleviate EDS.

From the Obesity and Population Health Unit, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.

Address correspondence to: Anna Peeters, BSc(Hons), PhD, The Alfred Centre, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Level 4, 99 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia (

WNG is supported by a Monash Graduate Scholarship, a Monash Faculty of Medicine International Postgraduate Scholarship, and a Monash International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. RFP is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and a Monash/Baker IDI Departmental Scholarship. AP is funded by an NHMRC Fellowship and an NHMRC Career Development Award.

This study was conducted in accordance with Monash University Human Research Ethics approval, specifically by the Standing Committee on Ethics in Research Involving Humans; Low Impact Research Project Involving Humans (Authorization number: CF08/0271- 2008000125).

The authors received project grant funding for this study from the Australian Research Council and the Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention, which is associated with the Global Corporate Challenge. The study design, analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the manuscript, and the decision to submit the manuscript for publication were solely at the discretion of the researchers, independent of GCCR or the foundation's involvement.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine