Prevalence of sleep disorders among first responders for medical emergencies: A meta-analysis

Garry Huang, Tso Ying Lee, Kondwani Joseph Banda, Li Chung Pien, Hsiu Ju Jen, Ruey Chen, Doresses Liu, Shu Tai Shen Hsiao, Kuei Ru Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Shift work and irregular work schedules among first responders have been associated with physical and psychological problems such as sleep disorders. We conducted the first meta-analysis to explore and estimate the prevalence of sleep disorders among first responders for medical emergencies. Methods: We searched four databases: Web of Science, Psych Info, CINAHL, and PubMed. The Generalized Linear Mixed model (GLMM) was used to estimate the prevalence estimates of sleep disorders in R software and the DerSimonian-Lard random-effects model in Comprehensive Meta-Analysis was used to explore associated comorbidities for OSA and insomnia, presented as odds ratios (ORs) and confidence intervals (CIs). The Cochran's Q, τ2, and the statistics were used to assess heterogeneity and the moderator analysis was conducted to identify moderator variables. Results: Twenty-eight studies with 100 080 first responders were included from the total of 1119 studies retrieved from the databases. The prevalence rates for sleep disorders were 31% (95% CI = 15%-53%) for shift work disorder (SWD), 30% (95% CI = 18%-46%) for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 28% (95% CI = 19%-39%) for insomnia, 28% (95% CI = 24%-33%) for excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), 2% (95% CI = 1%-4%) for restless leg syndrome, and 1% (95% CI = 0%-5%) for narcolepsy. Anxiety (OR = 2.46; 95% CI = 1.99%-3.03%), cardiovascular disease (CVD) (OR = 2.03; 95% CI = 1.43-2.88), diabetes mellitus (DM) (OR = 1.93; 95% CI = 1.41-2.65), depression (OR = 1.89; 95% CI = 1.01-3.56), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (OR = 1.83; 95% CI = 150-2.22), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (OR = 1.78; 95% CI = 1.33-2.39) were associated with OSA. Depression (OR = 9.74; 95% CI = 4.67-20.3), anxiety (OR = 9.22; 95% CI = 3.81-22.3), and PTSD (OR = 7.13; 95% CI = 6.27-8.10) were associated with insomnia. Age, gender, first responders, continent, study quality, study design, and assessment tool were significant moderator variables for OSA, insomnia, and EDS. Conclusions: This meta-analysis found a substantially high prevalence of sleep disorders including SWD, OSA, insomnia, and EDS among first responders for medical emergencies. Early assessment and management of sleep disorders among first responders is necessary to promote good, quality sleep to help prevent anxiety, depression, CVD, DM, GERD, and PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4092
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Global Health
Publication statusPublished - Oct 20 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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