Results show that individuals with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to have experienced multiple involuntary job losses. Compared to participants who did not have sleep apnea, those with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea were more than twice as likely to have a history of multiple job layoffs or firings.
‘Sleep apnea can impair physical and mental functioning, which may affect job performance.’
“These results suggest that undetected obstructive sleep apnea could have long-term, negative effects on vocational functioning,” said principal investigator Patricia Haynes, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that involves the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Common warning signs include snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and impairments in cognitive functioning.
This analysis of data from the ongoing, prospective Assessing Daily Activity Patterns through occupational Transitions (ADAPT) study involved 261 participants with an average age of 41 years; 58% were women. Seventy-three percent received hourly wages rather than a salary, and about 45% of participants had a history of multiple job losses. Breathing during sleep was evaluated with a home sleep apnea test, which revealed that 42% percent had at least mild sleep apnea.
After a propensity score analysis, 39 matched pairs (78 participants) remained for the logistic regression model. Results were controlled for potential confounders such as age, sex, race, and job payment type.
The authors noted that one limitation of the study was the inability to include body mass index in the analysis.