Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours

Sleep deprivation

man holding stomach

Sleep deprivation increases your risk for health problems (even ones you have never experienced), such as disturbed mood, gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting), headaches and joint  pain, blood sugar and insulin system disruption, high blood pressure, seizures, and hallucinations. Sleep deprivation can also create problems during sleep, causing sleep apnea, restless legs, and other sleep disorder symptoms (getting enough sleep will correct these problems).

  • If you routinely need more than 8 hours of sleep a day or are more vulnerable to sleep loss, then working long hours while deployed will be difficult if you do not have enough time to sleep as long as you need.
  • Some people show more decline in performance than others, which may reflect an inherited trait or sensitivity to sleep loss.

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Page last reviewed: April 1, 2020