Incomplete off-duty work hours and sleep quality among firefighters: a cross-sectional study, Taiwan

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2023 Mar;96(2):247-257. doi: 10.1007/s00420-022-01918-9. Epub 2022 Sep 5.


Objective: We examined whether firefighters in Taiwan have a sleep problem and investigated the related factors of poor sleep quality.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 2123 male shift firefighters in the Greater Taipei area were invited, and 37.7% of them satisfactorily completed the questionnaire online. The Chinese version of Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) was used to evaluate sleep quality. Multiple logistic and linear regression analyses were used to determine the associations among demographic characteristics, work-related characteristics, and poor sleep quality.

Results: As revealed by 801 valid questionnaires, 77.2% were poor sleepers (PSQI cutoff score > 6), and 61.2% reported incomplete off-duty in the past month. Moreover, 42.6% of incomplete off-duty workers reported extended overtime of more than 5 h on off-duty days in the past month. Poor sleep quality was associated with the following factors: (1) demographic characteristics: age, working tenure, having children, and chronotype and (2) work-related characteristics: shift schedule and incomplete off-duty. The final model for poor sleep quality as per PSQI included age, chronotype, shift schedule, and incomplete off-duty hours in the past month. Longer hours of incomplete off-duty work were associated with increased risks of overall poor sleep quality and of poor subjective sleep quality, long sleep latency, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction.

Conclusion: Firefighters are advised to have a complete off-duty day to avoid poor sleep quality, long sleep latency, short sleep duration, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction. Our results confirm the need for implementing appropriate shift schedules to ensure adequate rest time for firefighters.

Keywords: Chronotype; Firefighters; Incomplete off-duty; PSQI; Shift work.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Firefighters*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / complications
  • Sleep Quality
  • Sleep Wake Disorders*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan
  • Work Schedule Tolerance