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Improving Sleep Quality in EMS Shift Workers


Clinical trial finds that sleep health education improved sleep in EMS shift workers

In the emergency medical services (EMS) department, where clinicians work in shifts, it's common for many to face problems like poor sleep, fatigue, and not having enough time to recover between shifts.

Sleep is essential for cognitive function, clear thinking, and sound decision-making during high-pressure emergencies. Adequate rest maintains alertness and reduces the risk of errors. It also fosters emotional resilience, helping EMS personnel cope with traumatic situations.

Physical performance and patient safety depend on well-rested clinicians who are less prone to accidents and possess the stamina required for their physically demanding tasks. Long-term health is at stake, too, as chronic sleep deprivation can lead to various health issues. Managing shift work challenges and promoting good sleep hygiene are vital for sustaining EMS workers' effectiveness and job satisfaction.

Clinical Trial

clinical trial examined whether tailored sleep health education could be a potent remedy, ultimately fostering enhanced sleep quality and diminished fatigue levels among EMS clinicians over three months. A meticulous cluster-randomized, two-arm, wait-list control study was designed to achieve the research goals. A nationwide recruitment effort engaged EMS agencies as the primary units of analysis.

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Researchers used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to assess sleep quality. The primary outcome measurement centered on the PSQI, employed during a comprehensive follow-up assessment three months after the study's commencement. The online educational modules were thoughtfully curated to address the intricacies of fatigue mitigation, aligning with the guidelines prescribed by the American College of Occupational Environmental Medicine.


Thirty-six EMS agencies with 678 participants enrolled in the study. Attrition rates at the three-month mark exhibited no significant discrepancy between the intervention and wait-list control groups.

No substantial differences were observed in PSQI scores and fatigue levels between the two study groups. However, the researchers found that engagement with the educational modules resulted in notable improvements in sleep quality. Furthermore, these highly engaged participants experienced a significant reduction in fatigue levels.


This study highlights the potential benefits of sleep health education, particularly for specific subgroups of EMS clinician shift workers. These insights hold the promise of informing and enhancing fatigue risk management programs, ultimately fortifying the well-being and performance of these essential healthcare professionals.
Sleep Health, Feb-23

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.