How Employers Can Benefit from Screening Employees for Sleep Apnea

Sleeping on the Job

Both businesses that operate heavy machinery and businesses that operate from offices can increase profits by screening employees for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

If you own or run a company that operates machinery or has any risk of on-the-job injury, then OSA screening may decrease your risk of injury. On the opposite end of the work spectrum, untreated OSA can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, resulting in impaired cognitive function and decreased employee productivity. Most businesses live by the motto ‘decreased spending to increase profits’. Screening and treating workers for OSA can save any business, whether you own a construction company or an IT company, a substantial amount of money through higher productivity and less spending.

Decrease Occupational Injury

Researchers from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, recently completed a study that used objective criteria to identify both occupational injuries and their relation to obstructive sleep apnea. The study was conducted to determine whether patients with sleep apnea were more at risk of occupational injury than the average person. The study is the largest of its kind, and tells us how sleep apnea affects real life tasks, people, and business. The study proved that people suffering from untreated OSA were nearly twice (95%) more likely to get hurt on the job than someone without OSA. We know that sleep apnea increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents, but now we have a large, reliable study to illustrate how OSA also affects us on the job by increasing occupational hazards. Read more about the study on MedPage Today.

Increase Employee Productivity

A study that compares excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and work performance in the general population among heavy snorers and patients with OSA found that snorers and OSA patients are exceedingly more likely to have EDS and consequently have decreased work performance. Snorers in the general population where 4 times more likely to experience EDS, and OSA patients were 40 times more likely. Learn more about the study on PubMed.

Asleep at Work

Untreated OSA in the General Workplace

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea impacts your workday by impairing cognitive functions including decision-making, mood and outlook, and more. Furthermore, having apneas and hypopneas throughout the night offset your sleep cycle thus making REM sleep occur less often or not at all. According to the National Sleep Foundation, REM sleep plays the following roles within the sleep stages:

  • Provides energy to brain and body
  • Supports daytime performance
  • Brain is active and dreams occur
  • Eyes dart back and forth
  • Body becomes immobile and relaxed, as muscles are turned off

REM sleep plays a role in creativity, learning, and memory. Inconveniently, REM sleep stage is the stage most disrupted by sleep apnea. The apneas or hypopneas experienced by untreated OSA also affect motor skills and processing speed due to the lower levels of blood oxygen they create. Sleep apnea impairs intellectual and executive functions affecting processes such as concentration, reaction, alertness, and more. Testing employees for OSA can help them and in turn help you with higher productivity on the job. Get the most out of your employees and help them live happier healthier lives with treatment for sleep apnea.

If you are worried about the cost of Sleep Apnea screening, learn more about our insurance coverage on the Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine Insurance Coverage webpage, or give us a call at 724.935.6670 to find out if we accept your businesses insurance.


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