Incidence of and risk factors for nodding off at scientific sessions

CMAJ. 2004 Dec 7;171(12):1443-5. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.1041570.


We conducted a surreptitious, prospective, cohort study to explore how often physicians nod off during scientific meetings and to examine risk factors for nodding off. After counting the number of heads falling forward during 2 days of lectures, we calculated the incidence density curves for nodding-off episodes per lecture (NOELs) and assessed risk factors using logistic regression analysis. In this article we report our eye-opening results and suggest ways speakers can try to avoid losing their audience.

MeSH terms

  • Boredom*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Humans
  • Physicians
  • Sleep
  • Wit and Humor as Topic*