Article

SISYPHE Study Group. Professional correlates of insomnia

Centre du Sommeil, Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, Paris, France.
Sleep (Impact Factor: 4.59). 03/2006; 29(2):171-8.
Source: PubMed
ABSTRACT
Insomnia is a highly prevalent disorder that affects daytime functioning, behavior, and quality of life. Several reports have shown that insomnia impacts on the workforce and is associated with an increased risk of absenteeism. However, few workplace studies have been performed. Our study attempted to evaluate the professional correlates of insomnia by comparing a group of workers with insomnia to a matched group of good sleepers. The main objective measure was absenteeism. Accidents, self-esteem at work, job satisfaction, and efficiency at work were also investigated.
Pairs of workers with insomnia (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition definition) and good sleepers, matched by age, sex, and occupational status, were interviewed by their occupational physician and also answered a self-administered questionnaire on work-related criteria. Objective data on absenteeism (number of days absent from work) were provided by the employers' health resource databases.
Paris and the Ile de France region (France).
Seven hundred eighty-five subjects completed the questionnaire. We retained 369 pair (ie, 738 subjects) for analysis. Insomniacs missed work twice as often as good sleepers. The difference between insomniacs and good sleepers in terms of absenteeism was particularly high for blue-collar workers (odds ratio = 3.0) and men (odds ratio = 2.31). Insomniacs had also a higher accident rate while driving and, strikingly, a 3-fold greater risk of having 2 or 3 serious road accidents. They also reported poor self-esteem at work, less job satisfaction, and less efficiency at work, compared with good sleepers.
Our study found an objective increase in absenteeism in insomniacs compared with good sleepers.

Full-text

Available from: Damien Leger, Jan 07, 2014
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
171
INTRODUCTION
INSOMNIACS ARE FREQUENTLY CONSIDERED AS
MERELY POOR SLEEPERS, INDEPENDENT OF THE DAY-
TIME CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR CONDITION.
1
Neverthe-
less, insomniacs themselves commonly complain of impaired
daytime functioning and cite feelings of fatigue and sleepiness
and an increased risk of making mistakes.
2-5
Even though interna-
tional sleep disorder classifications
6,7
do indeed include daytime
consequences in the definition of insomnia, there is controversy
over the true impact of insomnia on the daily lives of sufferers.
Objective studies in insomniacs (using cognitive test batteries and
Multiple Sleep Latency Tests) have not demonstrated a short-term
increase in sleepiness or decreased daytime performance after a
night of poor sleep.
2,8,9
However, it has been clearly demonstrated
that subjective sleepiness is not always associated with objective
measures but is significantly associated with worse mood and per-
formance.
10,11
As a long-term issue, insomnia may affect daytime behavior.
It seems probable that insomnia impacts on sick days and other
indicators of workplace productivity. Several preliminary studies
have suggested that insomniacs report more absenteeism at work
than do persons who sleep well.
12-14
Kupperman et al
15
have re-
ported that workers with sleep problems have poorer self-ratings
for job satisfaction and job performance. The Johnson and Spin-
weber study
16
in naval recruits also suggests a negative impact of
insomnia on the likelihood of promotion recommendations and
the pay grade attained. In general, however, there are few studies
on this subject, and those that have been published tend to have
involved insomniacs in the general population rather than a pro-
fessionally active group.
At a collective level, the impact of insomnia is far from neg-
ligible. Insomnia is highly prevalent in many countries.
1,17
The
quality of life of insomniacs is impaired,
18-22
and the direct costs
of insomnia in the United States and France have been evalu-
ated
23,24
and classified as major burdens on society. Direct costs
reflect charges for medical care or self-treatment that are borne by
patients, the government, healthcare providers, or insurance com-
panies. Indirect costs correspond to patient- and employer-borne
costs that result from insomnia-related morbidity and mortality.
These latter costs are, however, difficult to assess in the absence
of prospective studies comparing insomniacs and good sleepers.
In retrospective studies, it is difficult to know whether insomnia
is a cause or a consequence of poor health condition. The World
Health Organization international conference on insomnia em-
phasized that direct costs probably reflect only a relatively minor
portion of the total economic costs of insomnia.
3
An important
proportion of these costs appears to concern the workplace costs
of insomnia from the employers perspective. The impact of in-
somnia on workplace productivity is a crucial point that needs to
be clarified to better understand the indirect costs of this condi-
tion.
We therefore decided to conduct a study specifically designed
to explore the professional consequences of insomnia in a wide
group of workers with insomnia and matched good sleepers. The
main goal of our study was to compare the 2 groups in terms of
Professional Correlates of Insomnia
Damien Léger, MD, Biol. D
1
; Marie-Anne Massuel, MD
2
; Arnaud Metlaine MD
1
; and The SISYPHE Study Group
1
Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, Paris, France;
2
Sanofi-Aventis France, Paris, France
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
Disclosure Statement
This was an industry supported study supported by Sanofi-Synthelabo
France, from Sanofi-Aventis Group. Dr. Leger analyzed the data and wrote
the paper. Dr. Leger has also received research support from Lundbeck and
Sanofi-Aventis. Dr. Massuel is an employee of Sanofi-Aventis. Dr. Metlaine
has indicated no financial conflict of interest.
Submitted for publication December 2004
Accepted for publication October 2005
Address correspondence to
: Damien Léger, MD, Biol. D, Centre du Sommeil,
Hotel-Dieu de Paris, 1, place du parvis Notre-Dame, F-75151 Paris cedex
04, France; Tel: 00 33 1 42 34 82 43; Fax: 00 33 1 42 34 82 27; E-mail:
damien.leger@htd.ap-hop-paris.fr
INSOMNIA
Study Objectives: Insomnia is a highly prevalent disorder that affects
daytime functioning, behavior, and quality of life. Several reports have
shown that insomnia impacts on the workforce and is associated with an
increased risk of absenteeism. However, few workplace studies have been
performed. Our study attempted to evaluate the professional correlates of
insomnia by comparing a group of workers with insomnia to a matched
group of good sleepers. The main objective measure was absenteeism.
Accidents, self-esteem at work, job satisfaction, and efficiency at work
were also investigated.
Design: Pairs of workers with insomnia (according to the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition definition) and good
sleepers, matched by age, sex, and occupational status, were interviewed
by their occupational physician and also answered a self-administered
questionnaire on work-related criteria. Objective data on absenteeism
(number of days absent from work) were provided by the employers’
health resource databases.
Setting: Paris and the Ile de France region (France).
Measurements and Results: Seven hundred eighty-five subjects com
-
pleted the questionnaire. We retained 369 pair (ie, 738 subjects) for
analysis. Insomniacs missed work twice as often as good sleepers. The
difference between insomniacs and good sleepers in terms of absentee-
ism was particularly high for blue-collar workers (odds ratio = 3.0) and
men (odds ratio = 2.31). Insomniacs had also a higher accident rate while
driving and, strikingly, a 3-fold greater risk of having 2 or 3 serious road
accidents. They also reported poor self-esteem at work, less job satisfac
-
tion, and less efficiency at work, compared with good sleepers.
Conclusions: Our study found an objective increase in absenteeism in
insomniacs compared with good sleepers.
Keywords: Insomnia, occupation, absenteeism, professional advance-
ment.
Citation: Léger D; Massuel MA; Metlaine A et al. Professional correlates
of insomnia. SLEEP 2006;29(2): 171-178.
Page 1
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
172
absenteeism. Secondary goals were to compare accidents, job sat-
isfaction, self-esteem, and efficiency at work in the 2 groups.
METHODS
Subjects and Controls
To tackle the relationship between insomnia and professional
activity, we selected insomniacs in real working life, with the
help of occupational physicians. In France, occupational medi-
cine is established by law and is obliged to monitor all salaried
employees. Each worker has to visit an occupational physician at
least once a year. In companies with more than 800 employees,
the physician is directly assigned to the employer, and visits take
place at the work site or sites. Smaller companies are affiliated
with occupational medicine visiting centers, in which several doc-
tors monitor the employees of many different employers. In such
centers, each occupational physician surveys an average of 2000
to 2500 employees per year. We decided to concentrate our study
on a highly economically developed part of France: the Paris Ile
de France region (PIDFR). PIDFR includes 11 million inhabit-
ants and 6.5 million workers, with most of them (81.5%) working
in the tertiary sector (service sector).
25
In 2001, PIDFR had the
highest regional gross domestic product in the whole of Europe
(362,117 million euros).
25
We first sent an announcement explaining the aims of the study
to a group of 1615 occupational physicians in the PIDFR. In the
letter, we explained the impact of insomnia on public health and
the need to better understand the occupational consequences of
insomnia. We also specified that participation in the study was
linked to a possible direct access to the statistics of absenteeism of
workers. We received 742 answers (response rate, 46%), and 200
of these physicians agreed to participate in the study (12%). Thir-
ty-two physicians were then randomly selected from this group
and invited to a meeting where they received information about
insomnia, sleep disorders, and the study’s inclusion and exclusion
criteria, ethical rules, and methodology. Finally, 26 physicians
were in a position to select subjects and controls (the remaining 6
had no access to objective absenteeism data).
This group of 26 occupational physicians was responsible for
monitoring (on a yearly basis) a total of about 60,000 workers
in companies that were representative of the economic fabric of
the PIDFR (80% from the service sector and 80% from small-
[fewer than 50 workers] and medium-size [fewer than 1000
workers] companies). Each physician was requested to select a
similar number of insomniacs and good sleepers (an average of
26 subjects per physician). The physicians then approached all
employees sequentially until 13 insomniacs and 13 matched good
sleepers had been selected for a total of 26 subjects per physi-
cian. Employees were recruited among those who were coming
for their annual medical check-up. Subjects were matched for
age, sex, occupational category (manager, white collar. and blue
collar), and type of employer (public or private sector). The in-
somniacs were selected according to the Diagnostic and Statisti-
cal Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition definition, with
a 1-month reference period.
6
Subjects were only included if they
had had a history of insomnia over at least the previous 2 years.
Employees were only included in the study if they had worked
for the same employer for at least the last 2 years. Physicians and
subjects then each had to complete a questionnaire. The goal of
the physician questionnaire was mainly to check inclusion and ex-
clusion criteria and to describe comorbidities and the length and
causes of absenteeism. The goal of the subject questionnaire was
essentially to describe the work content and to assess the impact
of insomnia on professional life.
The study was presented by the occupational physician to the
host company’s management team and union representatives and
was also approved by the local ethics and technical committee.
Questionnaires were processed anonymously, and personal infor-
mation concerning employees was never passed back to the em-
ployer. The participants were informed about the aims and char-
acteristics of the survey and gave their written informed consent
to participate. The study was carried out in accordance with the
current version of the Declaration of Helsinki.
METHODS
The Physician Questionnaire
The physicians had first to note the subject’s age, sex, and mar-
ital and parental status and to check the inclusion criteria.
Inclusion Criteria
Insomniacs and controls were included in the study if they were
between 18 and 65 years of age, were working at least 28 hours
per week (80% of the official, full-time working week in France),
had been at the same company for at least 2 years, and belonged
to 1 of the following 3 professional categories: blue-collar work-
ers, white-collar workers, or managers. Next, the physicians had
to check whether the subjects were insomniacs or good sleepers.
Insomnia was assessed according to a questionnaire previously
used in epidemiologic surveys
26,27
and that follows the Diagnos-
tic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition
definition of insomnia.
6
Insomniacs were categorized as having at
least 1 sleep complaint (from a list notably including nonrefresh-
ing sleep, early awakening, and difficulties initiating or maintain-
ing sleep) at least 3 times a week for at least 1 month and that had
consequences on daytime functioning. The individuals were only
included in the study if they had complained of insomnia for at
least the previous 2 years. Good sleepers were defined as persons
not having experienced any sleep difficulties for at least the previ-
ous 2 years.
Exclusion Criteria
The exclusion criteria were also checked by the occupational
physicians. Subjects working less than 28 hours a week, aged
younger than 18 years or older than 65 years, or working at their
present company for less than 2 years were excluded. To accu-
rately gauge the effect of insomnia on professional activity, we
sought to eliminate pregnant subjects or those with chronic physi-
cal or mental disease—conditions that might have affected these
workers’ daily lives too dramatically. Hence, we excluded sub-
jects with an absence of more than 3 consecutive months in the
previous 3 years. It is indeed usually admitted in this country that
3 consecutive months of absence is a reasonable limit to define
chronic diseases. We therefore considered that subjects with more
than 3 months of absence were more likely to have an impact of
the disease itself than an absence due to insomnia. Women who
had been pregnant at any point in the previous 2 years were also
excluded. Finally, subjects with anxiety and depression (identified
on the basis of their medical history and current treatments) were
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
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SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
excluded from the study. Occupational physicians interviewed
the subjects about current symptoms and treatments, including
psychiatric treatments; subjects with a history of (or treated for)
nonresolved depression or anxiety were excluded from the study.
The main study criteria were the number and duration of absences
in the 2 years preceding the visit. Absenteeism data were provid-
ed by the employers human resource department. Occupational
physicians usually have access to this database: as noted above,
they were not allowed to participate in the study if this was not the
case. The cause of each absence was also noted (using the Interna-
tional Classification of Disease) with the subject’s help. On-going
drug treatments were also reported.
The Subject Questionnaire
The participants also had to fill in a self-administered ques-
tionnaire. In the first section, the diagnosis and the severity of
insomnia were assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality In-
dex Scale (PSQI)
28
and the Spiegel Sleep Inventory (SSI).
29
The
PSQI contains 19 self-rated questions and 5 questions rated by the
bedpartner or the roommate (if one is available). Only self-rated
questions are included in the scoring. The 19 self-rated items are
combined to form 7 components scores, each of which has a range
of 0 to 3 points. In all cases, a score of 0 indicates no difficulty,
whereas a score of 3 indicates severe difficulty. The 7 component
scores are then added to yield 1 global score, with a range of 0
to 21 points, with 0 indicating no difficulty and 21 indicating se-
vere difficulties. Psychometric studies support the reliability of
internal consistency and construct validity. Cronbach α were 0.80
across groups, and correlation between global and component
scores were moderate to high. PSQI scores were moderately to
highly correlated with measures of sleep quality and sleep prob-
lems and poorly correlated with unrelated constructs. Individuals
with sleep problems, poor sleep quality, and sleep restlessness had
significantly higher PSQI scores in comparison with individuals
without such problems. The SSI is a self-administered miniques-
tionnaire that inquires about the previous 2 nights via 6 questions
on sleep initiation, quality, and length; nocturnal awakenings;
dreams; and feeling refreshed in the morning. Each question has a
0 to 5 score. A total score higher than 18 indicates sleep problems,
whereas 24 and higher corresponds with severe sleep problems.
There are fewer data available on the psychometric validity of the
SSI; however, it is a very simple and easy-to-use scale, which we
used to assess the presence of insomnia in the nights preceding the
survey.
The second section included 18 items and self-anchoring (vi-
sual analog) scales investigating the professional correlates of
insomnia, in which 0 was defined as the worst possible work
condition and 10 as the top work condition for the job in ques
-
tion. These items were principally inspired by the World Health
Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire and
the Work Productivity Short Inventory (WPSI) and focused on
self-esteem at work, job satisfaction and work performance and
efficiency.
30,31
We used the Health and Work Performance items
for reduced work performance and work-related accidents and the
Work Productivity Short Inventory items on job satisfaction, in-
cidents (errors at work), and efficiency. However, we have never
used or validated these items in previous studies. The reference
period adopted depended on the item in question. For example, ef-
ficiency at work was estimated at the moment of the study, whereas
job satisfaction was assessed over the previous few years. Visual
analog scales are 10-centimeter scales that permitted the subject
to calculate a score based on the self-evaluation. The reference
(0) was usually given the negative feeling: (i.e., “I am very badly
paid for my job”), and the end (100), the positive feeling (i.e., “I
am particularly well paid for my job”).
This section also included a description of the job’s character-
istics: e.g., work schedules, driving while working, social insur-
ance coverage, transportation mode, and time spent commuting
between home and work. One part of the questionnaire included
queries about automobile accidents and sleep-related accidents.
Subjects were asked about their driving habits (annual mileage
for personal and professional reasons) and answered the follow-
ing questions: “Did you have minor accidents while driving in the
last 12 months?” (Yes or No; if Yes, how many [1, 2 or 3, more
than 3]), “How many at work or driving to or from work? (0, 1,
2 or 3, more than 3), “How many were your fault?” (0, 1, 2 or 3,
more than 3) and, “Did you have serious accidents while driving
in the last 12 months (with the same items + How many times did
you stop working after the accident work [0, 1, 2 or 3, more than
3, and how many days in total]).
32
Work-related accidents were
asked using the same questions, and errors at work were assessed
by the item: “Did you make severe errors at work in the last 12
months?” (Yes or No; if Yes, how many [1, 2 or 3, more than
3]).
Statistical Analysis
The approximate number of subjects needed to show a differ-
ence was calculated on the basis of an α risk of .05 and a power
(1-β) of 0.80. This yielded the number of 393 employees for each
group, with an estimated 2% dropout rate. We therefore calcu-
lated that we needed to select 2 groups of 400 subjects, i.e., 400
insomniacs and 400 good sleepers.
The goal was to assess a small size effect (∆/Σ = 0.2). For
monovariate analyses, quantitative data were compared using the
Student t test or, when the data compared did not have a normal
distribution, the Wilcoxon test. Within-group odds ratios (OR)
were also calculated for absenteeism and accidents. The Fisher
exact test and χ
2
were applied to qualitative data. Factorial analy-
ses were also used to test the relationship between absenteeism
and other variables. SAS v8.2 software (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary,
NC) was used for all statistical analyses.
In the first step, we made a simple description of the study
population: the observed characteristics of the subjects included
in the total group and in each of the 2 subgroups (insomniacs
and good sleepers). The descriptive statistics included continuous
data, the total number of subjects considered, the number of miss-
ing data, and the mean and SD for each variable. In the second
step, we tested the differences between the 2 groups for several
select variables. The main criteria were absenteeism and the aver-
age number of days absent from work. Within-group OR were
shown in the results to better enhance and clarify the relative risk
due to insomnia on absenteeism and accidents.
RESULTS
Seven hundred eighty-five subjects completed the question-
naire. Fifteen did not meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria,
and matched controls were not available for 32 subjects with in-
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
173
Page 3
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
somnia. Finally, data from 369 pairs (738 subjects) were retained
for analysis.
Sociodemographic Data
Of the 738 subjects, 470 (63.7%) were women, and the average
age was 43.8 ± 8.9 years; 228 were managers (30.9%), 478 white-
collar workers (64.8%), and 32 blue-collar workers (4.3%). One
hundred ninety subjects (26.0%) were not married and lived alone,
107 (14.7%) were not married but cohabited, and 413 (56.6%)
were married. Twenty individuals (2.7%) were widowed. Due to
the matched nature of this study, there were no differences be-
tween the 2 groups in terms of sex, age, caretaker responsibilities,
and socioprofessional category (i.e., there were 63.69 % women
in the insomnia group and 63.69% in the good-sleeper group
2
,
p = 1], the average age was 44.01 years for insomniacs and 43.53
for good sleepers [analysis of variance p = .459], the marital status
of insomniacs and good sleepers was not significantly different
2
, p = .206], and the number of children at home was also not
different [χ
2
, p = .481]). We also checked that there were no sig-
nificant differences between the 2 groups regarding transportation
time, the size of the companies, the existence of risk at work, the
schedule variability, and the seniority of the subjects in the same
job and in the same company.
Insomnia
The 369 insomniacs were selected according to the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition defi-
nition. The diagnosis of insomnia was, however, cross-checked
with the results of 2 questionnaires.
The total SSI score in the insomniacs was 17.4 ± 3.6 versus
25.2 ± 5.7 in good sleepers for the night before the questionnaire
(p < .001) and 16.2 ± 3.8 versus 25.2 ± 4.5 for the second to the
last night before the questionnaire (Wilcoxon, p < .001).
The PSQI score differed significantly between insomniacs
(11.7 ± 3.0) and good sleepers (4.1 ± 1.8) (p < .001), which allows
us to affirm that we correctly selected 2 different groups in terms
of insomnia status (Wilcoxon, p < .001).
Professional Activity
The vast majority of the study population (359 subjects, 49.0%)
worked in companies with more than 500 employees, with 167
(22.9%) in companies with 101 to 500 employees, 89 (12.2%)
in companies with 21 to 100 employees, 79 (10.8%) in compa-
nies with 5 to 20 employees, and 38 subjects (5.2%) in companies
with fewer than 5 employees. Subjects and controls had held the
same occupation for an average of 86.9 ± 89.1 months and had
been working in the same company for an average of 16.4 ± 10.1
years. We did not have a means of determining whether this job
distribution is representative of the industrial fabric of the PIDFR.
Nevertheless, the 2 groups did not differ in this respect.
Comorbidities
The difference of the absenteeism rate between insomniacs and
good sleepers could be explained by a difference of comorbidity
within the 2 groups. This is why we compared the comorbidities
in the 2 groups, based on the main categories of treatments used
by the subjects. The results are shown in Table 1. We found no dif-
ference between the 2 groups regarding rates of subjects currently
taking medication for the treatment of digestive and metabolic,
cardiovascular, genitourinary, musculoskeletal and respiratory
disorders or the use of sex hormones. Insomniacs were more like
-
ly to be taking medications that act on the central nervous system
(11.9% vs 0.8%;
χ
2
, p < .001) and systemic hormone preparations
(4.6% vs 1.9%; χ
2
, p = .038).
Absenteeism at Work
The results for absenteeism in the 2 groups are given in Table
2. Considering the percentage of subjects with at least 1 work
absence in the last 2 years, insomniacs had an almost 2-fold
higher rate of absenteeism than did good sleepers: 50% of in-
somniacs and 34% of good sleepers had an absence during this
period (OR = 1.93). The difference between insomniacs and
good sleepers was particularly marked for blue-collar workers
(64% of insomniacs versus 38% of good sleepers [OR = 3.0]).
In managers, 40% of insomniacs versus 23 % of good sleepers
had at least 1 absence (OR =2.29), and, in white-collar workers,
54% versus 40% (OR = 1.77).
There was also a significantly different absenteeism rate be-
tween insomniacs and good sleepers in both sexes: insomniac
men, 44%, versus 25% of good sleepers (OR = 2.31); insomniac
women, 55%, versus 40% of good sleepers (OR = 1.89). The
difference between the 2 groups in regard to average duration of
absenteeism in the past 2 years was confirmed, with an average
11.65 ± 22.26 days of absence in the insomnia group versus 4.84
± 10.38 days in the good-sleeper group (Wilcoxon, p < .001).
The duration of absence was significantly longer in women and
managers with insomnia but was not significantly different in
the other subgroups (white-collar and blue-collar workers and
men).
Transportation
For the study population as a whole, 169 subjects (22.9%) had
to drive as part of their work activities, but only 3% of the total
sample drove a truck. Eighty-three subjects (51.2%) had to drive
at work every day, with 28 (17.3%) driving 2 to 3 times a week,
19 (11.7%) once a week, and 32 (19.8%) less than once a week.
In terms of travel to work, 114 (15.4%) subjects took the train,
174
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
Table 1—Main Categories of Current Drug Treatments in
Insomniacs and Good Sleepers
Medical Condition Currently Subjects, no. (%) p value
a
Treated With Medication Good sleepers Insomniacs
n = 369 n = 369
Digestive tract and metabolism 19 (5.1) 26 (7.0) .282
Cardiovascular system 41 (11.1) 49 (13.3) .368
Genitourinary system and sex 43 (11.6) 45 (12.2) .820
hormones
Musculoskeletal system 5 (1.4) 7 (1.9) .560
Nervous system 3 (0.8) 44 (11.9) < .001
Respiratory system 9 (2.4) 14 (3.8) .290
Systemic hormone preparations 7 (1.9) 17 (4.6) .038
excluding sex hormones
a
The χ
2
test was used to test the difference between the groups. Treat-
ments with fewer than 5 subjects per each group are not shown.
Page 4
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
347 (47.0%) took a bus, 325 (44.0%) drove a car, 207 (28.0%)
walked, and 32 (4.3%) had other means of transportation. The
average total time spent commuting to and from work was 66.9
± 46.1 minutes per day. There were no significant between-group
differences concerning driving habits at work or driving to work.
Insomniacs drove an average of 3244
± 6437 km for professional
purposes, versus 3728 ± 7413 km for good sleepers ( Wilcoxon, p
= .989) and 8948 ± 11509 km for personal purposes, versus 8955
± 13735 km for good sleepers (Wilcoxon, p = .725). Thus, we
did not observe any differences between the 2 groups in terms of
overall driving habits (annual mileage).
Accidents
Table 3 indicates the proportion of subjects reporting a minor
or a major accident in the last 12 months. For minor accidents,
there was no difference between the groups, except that insom
-
niacs were more likely to report several minor accidents (2 or
3) than good sleepers (17 [31.5%] vs 7 [14.9%],
χ
2
= .051, OR =
2.48). For major accidents, insomniacs had a higher accident rate
and a 3-fold higher risk of having 2 or 3 serious major accidents
(OR =3.08) (but there was no significant difference between in
-
somniacs and good sleepers, 22 [6.4%] vs 13 [3.6%] χ
2
, p = .593,
due to the small sample size). Fifty percent of the good sleepers
involved in a serious accident said they were responsible, versus
45.4% of the insomnia group (
χ
2
, p = .800). Conversely, insomni-
acs reported a longer absence at work after these accidents than
good sleepers: 34.4
± 34.3 days for insomniacs versus 4.0 ± 1.0
for good sleepers (Wilcoxon, p = .068).
Errors at Work
Forty-four percent of insomniacs (vs.31.3% of good sleep-
ers; χ
2
, p < .001) remembered having made errors at work (and
that might have resulted in serious consequences) over the last
2 years (OR = 1.72). For 29.3% of insomniacs versus 23.8% of
good sleepers, these errors occurred more than 3 times during the
previous 2 years. This difference was not significant (χ
2
,
p = .35).
175
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
Self-esteem, Job Satisfaction and Efficiency at Work
Self-Esteem
Of the insomnia group, 20.4%, versus 15.3% of good sleep-
ers (χ
2
, p = .046,) considered that their professional qualifications
were undervalued by their employer. When subjects evaluated
their potential ability to work in a more responsible post than their
current position, the insomnia group scored an average of 46.5 ±
17.4, versus 50.5 ± 17.9 for good sleepers
2
,
p = .025) (Figure 1,
item 1).
Professional Training
Of insomniacs, 50.9%, versus 63.7% of good sleepers, (χ
2
, p <
.001) stated that they had received sufficient training at work over
the previous 5 years. The insomniacs estimated their knowledge
Table 2—Absenteeism at Work
Subjects Insomniacs, n = 369 Good sleepers, n = 369 p value Odds ratio (95% CI)
Subjects with at least 1 work absence in the last 2 years, %
a
Total 50 34 < .001 1.93 (1.44-2.61)
Managers (n = 114 pair) 40 23 < .001 2.29 (1.29-4.07)
White-collar workers (n = 251 pair) 54 40 < .001 1.77 (1.24-2.56)
Blue-collar workers (n = 14 pair) 64 38 < .001 3.0 (0.68-13.31)
Women (n = 235 pair) 55 40 < .001 1.89 (1.31-2.72)
Men (n = 134 pair) 44 25 < .001 2.31(1.38-3.88)
Duration of absenteeism in the last 2 years
b
Total 11.65 ± 22.26 4.84 ± 10.38 < .001
Managers (n = 114 pair) 8.25 ± 19.24 3.19 ± 8.57 < .001
White-collar workers (n = 251 pair) 13.18 ± 23.79 5.53 ± 13.18 < .001
Blue-collar workers (n = 14 pair) 13.06 ± 16.01 6.31 ± 12.93 < .001
Women (n = 235 pair) 12.21 ± 20.68 5.41 ± 10.40 < .001
Men (n = 134 pair) 10.68 ± 24.83 3.84 ± 10.30 < .001
a
The χ
2
test was used to test the difference between these qualitative variables, and within-group odds ratios were also calculated to better enhance
the relative risk of being insomniac.
b
The mean ± SD duration of absenteeism (total number of days absent) by category was compared between the 2 groups using the Wilcoxon test.
CI refers to confidence interval.
Table 3—Minor and Serious Driving Accidents in the Previous 12
Months Among Insomniacs and Good Sleepers
Accident in Insomniacs Good p value
a
Odds ratio
previous 12 n = 369 sleepers (95% CI)
months n = 369
Subjects reporting, %
Minor
Total 54 47 .328 1.17 (0.77-1.78)
Number of accidents 37 40 .752 1.11 (0.69-1.78)
1 17 7 .051 2.48 (1.01-6.06)
2 or 3 26 19 .842 1.40 (0.76-2.58)
At work 26 20 .839 1.32 (0.72-2.41)
Serious
Total 22 13 .096 1.74 (0.86-3.51)
Number of accidents
1 19 12 .075 1.62 (0.77-3.39)
2 or 3 3 1 .593 3.08 (0.32-29.75)
At work 13 8 .850 1.65 (0.68-4.03)
Due to own fault 12 6 .800 2.03 (0.75-5.47)
Leading to absence 6 3 .721 2.02 (0.50-8.14)
at work
CI refers to confidence interval.
Page 5
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
level at 53.70 ± 18.8 versus 57.9 ± 15.9 for good sleepers (Wil-
coxon, p = .002) and, therefore, considered that they had received
less knowledge at work than their colleagues.
Job Satisfaction
The insomnia group did not differ from the good-sleeper group
in terms of opinion on the suitability of pay levels. When individ-
uals rated their actual wage against what they thought they should
receive, the insomnia group scored 41.6 ± 18.5, versus 39.7 ± 18.2
for good sleepers
2
, p = .198). However, 43.5% of insomniacs
(vs 31.4% of good sleepers) considered that their career advance-
ment had been blocked or was insufficient over the previous 5
years
2
, p = .004). When they compared their actual professional
qualifications to those they estimated to have, the insomniacs rat-
ed 50.2± 20.4 versus 53.7 ± 19.4 for good sleepers (Wilcoxon, p =
.013) (Figure 1, item 2). Insomniacs also estimated that they had
less energy at work than did good sleepers (56.8 ± 22.0 vs 76.2 ±
16.9, Wilcoxon p < .001) (Figure 1, item 3).
Efficiency at Work
Of the insomnia group, 26.1% (vs 10.3% of good sleepers) esti-
mated they were not efficient enough at work (χ
2
, p < .001). When
rating their work efficiency, the insomniacs scored 62.3 ± 19.8,
versus 69.9 ± 15.1 for good sleepers (Wilcoxon, p < .001) (Figure
1, item 4). When rating their achievement of annual professional
objectives, the insomniacs and good sleepers scores did not differ
significantly (73.0 ± 20.1 versus 75.5 ± 22.1, respectively, Wil-
coxon, p = .278) (Figure 1, item 5).
Experience of unemployment did not differ significantly be-
tween the groups: 3% of the insomniacs versus 2.4% of good
sleepers had been dismissed in the previous 5 years ( χ
2
, p = .421),
with an average duration of unemployment of 11 ± 4.9 months for
the insomnia group versus 9 ± 5.3 months for the good-sleeper
group (Wilcoxon, p = .96)
DISCUSSION
Even though there is broad consensus on the fact that daytime
impact is a major criterion in the definition of insomnia,
6,7
the pre-
cise nature of this impact remains subject to debate. In a review
of insomnia and daytime functioning, Riedel and Lichstein sug-
gested that the lack of objective findings in the literature might be
explained by (1) a focus on variables that are not impaired (rather
than areas of actual impairment) and (2) methodologic problems
(such as nonhomogenous groups of subjects), which may have
hidden actual differences between insomniacs and good sleep-
ers.
33
Daytime sleepiness has received the most attention, but it is
becoming clear that a large number of insomniacs are not sleepy
during the day.
2,5
Bonnet and colleagues
5
have even used Multiple
Sleep Latency Tests to demonstrate that insomniacs are more alert
in the daytime than are good sleepers. However, the absence of an
objective somnolence deficit does not mean that insomniacs are
not impaired during the daytime.
Riedel and Lichstein
33
have also recommended using objective
measures of work performance (e.g., absenteeism, promotion) to
clarify the impact of insomnia on daytime functioning. Insomnia
is not a visible handicap in the workplace, and it is difficult for
insomniacs to explain to their colleagues and managers that they
have had a poor night and that they need to rest. Insomniacs have
to face a regular work load, and they often complain of difficul
-
ties in their professional life.
8,9,20
However, there are few data as-
sessing the true impact of insomnia on daily work. The goal of
this study was to try to evaluate the impact of insomnia on absen-
teeism and other work measures in a real setting.
Absenteeism
The main goal of our study was to observe absenteeism. In eco-
nomic and epidemiologic studies, overall measures of the respon-
dent’s health have appeared to be the most important covariate
of absenteeism.
14,34
Paringer
34
was one of the first to demonstrate
that health variables are more strongly associated with absentee-
ism than are economic ones. In a large, cross-sectional, national
probability sample of 1308 workers in the United States, Leigh
14
demonstrated that complaining of insomnia was the most predict-
able factor of absenteeism from among 36 variables. In a study
comparing 80 insomniacs at work with 135 good sleepers, it was
found that insomniacs had double the control rate of absentee-
ism.
19
However, these preliminary studies
20,37,4,18,14,19,35
were based
on general population samples; insomnia was not always clearly
defined and the groups of insomniacs were heterogeneous. More-
over, the absenteeism data were mainly based on the patients’
declaration and not on objective data.
In our study, insomniacs showed almost twice as much absen-
teeism as good sleepers. The difference between insomniacs and
good sleepers was particularly high for blue-collar workers (OR
= 3.0) and women (OR = 2.31). For managers, the OR was also
high: 2.29. We believe that this study is of particular interest be-
cause (1) we processed objective (rather than subjective) data on
absenteeism, (2) insomnia was defined according to international
classifications, (3) subjects with depression and anxiety were ex-
cluded, (4) subjects were all full-time workers and representative
of the active population in the area, and (5) subjects with chronic
disease (which may interfere with sleep) and pregnant women
5.
64
5
.
0
5
2.0
5
7.3
5
8
.
6
5
2
.
67
3.26
9.
96
37
5
.
57
)4
.
71(
)9
.
71(
)
4
.9
1
(
)
4
.
02(
)2
2
(
)
9
.
6
1
(
)
8
.
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)1
.
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)1
.
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0
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I
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ee
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eS
(
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)
5
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0
.
=
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o
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sse
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r
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o
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SG
I
S
G
I
Figure 1—Self-esteem, job efficiency, and job satisfaction evaluated
on a 0- to 100-point visual analogic scale in 369 insomniacs (I) and
369 good sleepers (GS). The Wilcoxon test was used to compared
these quantitative variables. Data are shown as mean (SD).
176
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
Page 6
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
were excluded from the study. Hence, in the group studied here,
it seems more probable that significant differences between in-
somniacs and good sleepers reflect the impact of insomnia itself,
rather than the effects of comorbidities.
The small sample of blue-collar workers in our study has to
been underlined. It was a surprise for us to see how rare blue-
collar workers were in the population surveyed by occupational
physicians. In the tertiary sector, mainly represented in the PID-
FR, there was an overrepresentation on white-collar workers and
managers, compared with the economic fabric of the country.
However, even in a small group, we found significant differences
between insomniacs and good sleepers. This is why we did not
excluded blue-collar workers from our study.
In fact, there were few intergroup differences regarding comor-
bidities when we consider the medications taken on regular basis
by our subjects during the study period (Table 1). Even though
insomniacs took more nervous system medications than did good
sleepers (which is perhaps not surprising), other medication pat
-
terns did not differ between the insomniac and good-sleeper
groups. Several large-scale studies
11-13,20,36-39
have demonstrated
clinical correlates of insomnia. Recently, Katz et al
36
calculated
the OR between patients with chronic diseases and complaints of
insomnia. Severe insomnia was strongly linked to current depres-
sion (OR = 8.2), as well as to congestive heart failure (OR = 2.5),
obstructive airway disease (OR = 1.6), and prostate problems (OR
= 1.6). They also found that men with systemic hypertension,
bronchitis, diabetes, or rheumatic diseases complained of sleep
difficulties more than healthy men did (p < .05). In our study,
there were no differences observed in the other-treatment catego-
ries (especially for cardiovascular disease). One explanation may
be the exclusion of subjects with severe diseases and absentee-
ism (i.e., more than 3 consecutive months of absence in the last
2 years) from our group. Another possibility is that insomniacs
with severe comorbidities may be sufficiently impaired to prevent
them from working, which would thus have excluded them from
our sample. However, understanding the impact of insomnia on
other diseases is a very difficult field, and the present study did
not generate enough data in this respect to allow us to draw con-
clusions.
Considering the extension of our results to other groups of in-
somniacs, one may argue that, even though this sample is prob-
ably representative of the Paris area, it may not be representative
of insomniacs in general—in France or indeed in other countries.
The PIDFR region is a highly economically developed part of Eu-
rope, with a high percentage of people working in the service sec-
tor, and is thus unlikely to reflect the general population of insom-
niacs. Housing (which is expensive), noise, and security problems
may also impact sleep quality. The average time spent traveling to
and from work was high in our sample (66.9 ± 46.1 minutes per
day) and, thus, may impact sleep quality due to early awakening
and fatigue. However, we found no statistical differences between
the groups in terms of travel duration and conditions. Of equal
importance, the potential influence of environmental and socio
-
cultural factors on absenteeism was not taken into consideration,
although we can hypothesize that this influence is the same in
insomniacs and good sleepers. As stated above, it has been dem-
onstrated that health variables are more strongly associated with
absenteeism than are economic ones,
34
and so we may assume that
the difference found in the Paris area would probably be the same
in other groups. However, this remains to be established statisti-
cally.
Other Occupational Characteristics
The impact of sleep disorders on automobile accidents is a
crucial issue from a public health point of view. However, this
mostly reflects the risk due to sleepiness rather than the risk due
to insomnia. Occupational accidents are also often due to sleepi-
ness: a recent case-control study conducted on 880 male workers
who had experienced at least 1 occupational injury over a 2-year
period and 880 controls found that the presence of a sleep dis-
order was one of the most powerful independent factors in ac-
cidents in the construction industry.
36
In our study, we observed
that there was no significant difference between the insomnia and
good-sleeper groups for single minor accidents or for major and
repeated (2 or 3) accidents. However, our sample only allowed a
limited analysis of these features; admitting to having had recent
accidents and errors is probably sometimes difficult.
Our findings also suggest that insomniacs are less satisfied
with their jobs, compared with good sleepers. Here, insom-
niacs complained of lack of consideration at work and lack of
professional training. They considered that their career advance-
ment was blocked or insufficient and that they were not efficient
enough at work. These difficulties in the workplace have also
been emphasized by other authors in the same field (but with
smaller samples); Lavie
35
has also reported lower job satisfaction
and job productivity in insomniacs. The most original study on
this point was conducted by Johnson and Spinweber,
16
who dem-
onstrated that insomniacs in the navy are slower at work and have
poorer career advancement than do good sleepers. The difficulty
of comparing the respective work of insomniacs and good sleep-
ers is a major concern in the discussion of our results. We cannot
be sure that the matched pairs of subjects had exactly the same
kind of job during the day. In the future, one solution might be
to take insomniacs and good sleepers who are performing a very
similar task and to try to compare how impaired the 2 groups are.
However, it is very difficult to assess these parameters in a real-
life setting.
CONCLUSION
Our comparison between a large group of working insomniacs
and matched good sleepers suggests that insomnia is a significant
factor in absenteeism at work. Insomniacs also have the feeling
that they are significantly impaired at work, compared with good
sleepers. Elsewhere, we present estimates of the indirect costs
of insomnia for this same study population. An additional step
would be to better understand how insomnia itself affects work
efficiency. It would also be interesting to compare the influence
of insomnia with that of other chronic diseases with the type of
instruments used here and to clarify how insomnia affects the risk
of automobile and work accidents.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The SISYPHE Group: C. Agboklu, O. Attrait, F. Beaugeri.e., R.
Bessard, C. Collard, C. Costa, C. Delaunay, M. Evrard, I. Flejou,
N. Honorat-Juglair, D.J. Horlait, D. Horreard, G. Le Taillandier, I.
Leprince, M.L. Louanguannasy, C. Michel-Panichi, M. Ollagnier,
177
Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
Page 7
SLEEP, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006
S. Picart, E. Prevot, C. Prunet, S. Rondet, C. Sabah-Magnan, B.
Siben, H. Stakowski, A. Thevenin-Pailloux and to Sanofi Synthe-
labo France, Groupe Sanofi Aventis.
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Professional Correlates of Insomnia—Léger et al
Page 8
  • Source
    • "All rights reserved. on accidents (Leger et al., 2006; Shahly et al., 2012). Several studies analyzing the effect of various insomnia symptoms on the risk of accidents have produced mixed results. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background The relationship between a composite measure of insomnia and occupational or fatal accidents has been investigated previously; however, little is known regarding the effect of various insomnia symptoms on minor non-fatal accidents during work and leisure time. Objective We investigated the predicting role of insomnia symptoms on minor non-fatal accidents during work and leisure time. Methods Data from the 2005 Taiwan Social Development Trend Survey of 36,473 Taiwanese aged ≥18 years were analyzed in 2013. Insomnia symptoms, including difficulty in initiating sleep (DIS), difficulty in maintaining sleep (DMS), early morning awakening (EMA), and nonrestorative sleep (NRS) were investigated. A minor non-fatal accident was defined as any mishap such as forgetting to turn off the gas or faucets, accidental falls, and abrasions or cuts occurring during work and leisure time in the past month that do not require immediate medical attention. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess the odds ratios (ORs) and associated 95% confidence interval (CI) of minor non-fatal accidents (as a binary variable) for each insomnia symptom compared with those of people presenting no symptoms, while controlling for possible confounders. Results EMA and NRS increased the odds of minor non-fatal accidents occurring during work and leisure time (adjusted OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.08–1.32 and adjusted OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.17–1.37, respectively). Conclusion EMA and NRS are two symptoms that are significantly associated with an increased likelihood of minor non-fatal accidents during work and leisure time after adjusting for of a range of covariates.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Accident Analysis & Prevention
  • Source
    • "Il constitue un important facteur de protection de l'e ´ tat de santé . A ` l'inverse, les troubles du sommeil ont des consé quences sur le fonctionnement de l'organisme et du psychisme, et de ce fait sur la vie sociale et professionnelle, telles que l'absenté isme ou les accidents de la route et du travail lié s a ` la somnolence (Lé ger et al., 2002 ; Godet-Cayre et al., 2006 ; Lé ger et al., 2006). Si une majorité des Français dort environ sept heures par jour (Lé ger et al., 2011), cette duré e ne peut toutefois pas e ˆtre considé ré e comme une norme prophylactique, dans la mesure où certains individus ont besoin de neuf heures de sommeil quotidien, lorsque d'autres, plus rarement, peuvent se contenter de cinq heures sans retentissement particulier sur la journé e suivante. "
    Full-text · Dataset · Dec 2013
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    • "Il constitue un important facteur de protection de l'e ´ tat de santé . A ` l'inverse, les troubles du sommeil ont des consé quences sur le fonctionnement de l'organisme et du psychisme, et de ce fait sur la vie sociale et professionnelle, telles que l'absenté isme ou les accidents de la route et du travail lié s a ` la somnolence (Lé ger et al., 2002 ; Godet-Cayre et al., 2006 ; Lé ger et al., 2006). Si une majorité des Français dort environ sept heures par jour (Lé ger et al., 2011), cette duré e ne peut toutefois pas e ˆtre considé ré e comme une norme prophylactique, dans la mesure où certains individus ont besoin de neuf heures de sommeil quotidien, lorsque d'autres, plus rarement, peuvent se contenter de cinq heures sans retentissement particulier sur la journé e suivante. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sleep is considered as a major protective factor for good health and quality of life. The epidemiology of chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders has recently been developed in France. The aim of this study was to evaluate total sleep time and the prevalence of chronic insomnia in the general population aged 15 to 85years. It was also to investigate factors associated with sleep disorders. Within the framework of the Health Barometer 2010, a French general population survey, 27,653 15 to 85-year-old individuals were questioned about their health behaviors and attitudes, in particular about their sleeping time and habits. The average sleeping time of the 15 to 85-year-old was 7hours 13minutes. It was higher for women than for men (7hours 18minutes vs 7hours 07minutes; P<0.001), whereas 15.8 % of the population presented criteria for chronic insomnia, 19.3 % of women and 11.9 % of men (P<0.001). The prevalence of chronic insomnia was stable with age among women, around 19 %, whereas it increased for men from 3 % in the 15-19-year age range to 18 % in the 45-54-year age range, before decreasing to 8 % beyond 65years. Chronic insomnia was also found to be related to precarious situations and to several difficult events of life such as violence or chronic alcohol abuse, whereas the relationship observed with tobacco smoking was no longer found after logistic regression adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics. Since the beginning of 1990s, a single-question inquiry on "sleeping problems present during the last 8days" has been asked in the Health Barometer. The rate of subjects concerned increased from 1995, with a prevalence stabilized at a high level since 2000. Based on these data, we think that the surveillance of sleep disorders is an important public health issue and that prevention and health educational initiatives should be launched in the general population to promote a better quality of sleep.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Revue Neurologique
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