Although insufficient sleep among firefighters reduces work efficiency and increases the risk of injury, little is known about the sleep quality of French firefighters in the Loire department. The aim of the FIRESLEEP study was to evaluate sleep quality and sleep disturbances among professional and voluntary French firefighters.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted between November 2018 and May 2019. Firefighters were invited to complete a questionnaire on a secure platform including clinical questions and validated questionnaires (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI], Epworth sleepiness scale [ESS], Insomnia Severity Index [ISI] and the STOP-Bang score) during their periodic medical examination.
193 firefighters were included in this study, of which 29% were of professional status and 71% were volunteer firefighters. Among them, 26.9% had poor sleep quality, 27.7% showed excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), 18.8% reported moderate-to-severe symptoms of insomnia, and 1.6% had moderate-to-high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Subgroup analysis revealed that professional firefighters had poorer sleep quality and higher sleep disturbances than volunteer firefighters. The independent risk factors associated with poor sleep quality were known sleep disorder, treated anxiety/depression, night calls, and insomnia symptoms. Moreover, the independent risk factors associated with EDS were short sleep duration, taking a nap, and insomnia symptoms; while older age was a protective factor for EDS.
Poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances are highly frequent in French firefighters and underdiagnosed. Prevention through education and systematic screening could limit the impact of sleep disturbances on firefighters’ global health.