Sleeping on the job?

 - 
10/19/2010

Well this is a new one. In a recent "ask the doctor" column I stumbled across, someone wrote in about a co-worker who claims a case of  "partial sleep apnea." As a result of this diagnosis, this co-worker "needs" to nap anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour during the work day (it doesn't say how many of these naps per day he must take).

You can imagine the consternation this has caused among fellow workers who must "pick up the slack." From the letter, however, it is clear that, despite claims of widespread information/awareness of sleep apnea, many folks—sufferers, family members and co-workers alike–don't know too much about the condition.

In this case, the writer says his co-worker has never "fainted." Well, replies the doc, fainting is actually not a symptom. But also, the coworker with the "partial" sleep apnea sounds like he has prescribed himself a treatment of sleeping on the job (disclaimer: executive editor Mike Moran likes to nap in his cube but as long as he doesn't snore, the rest of us are OK with it).

Seriously, while this person may actually have, or believe he has, some form of sleep apnea, he does himself, his co-workers and millions of folks who suffer from condition, a great disservice by his action (inaction?).

Theresa Flaherty

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