“Sleepers” Public Health Documentary: Addressing Occupational Sleep Apnea (OSA) in American Truck Drivers - Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center

“Sleepers” Public Health Documentary: Addressing Occupational Sleep Apnea (OSA) in American Truck Drivers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled sleep deprivation as a public health epidemic.


Poor sleep quality and shortened sleeping hours have been common among Americans for quite some time now, and the health consequences have been communicated far and wide to diverse audiences. However, little has been done to address public safety due to fatigue. One serious consequence is that many people drive when overtired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 48% of drivers nod off between the driving hours of 9pm and 6am and that drowsy driving accounted for 803 fatalities in 2016. These are preventable crashes. These are preventable deaths. This is a public health issue.

Truck drivers are disproportionately blamed for crashes. Although this may not be warranted, commercial truck drivers do have a social responsibility since more than 90% of their work day is on a public roadway. This is what intrigued University of Minnesota alum, Sarah Moon, to find out more about commercial truck drivers’ relationship with sleep.

“Sleepers” Public Health Documentary

In a mini-documentary format, Sarah aimed to take a multi-disciplinary public health approach to the issue of poor sleep in drivers. Experts in sleep, economics, trucker health, and life on the road were all interviewed on a broad range of questions regarding working conditions, health trade-offs, and policy implications surrounding sleep disorders and deprivation.

The following video clips are highlights from the Sleepers documentary.
The full documentary is available below the clips.







Sarah Moon is a filmmaker and a public health professional who has a passion for health communication and scientific literacy. Sleepers is the product of her masters project researching the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea, personal health, and public health and safety.

Sarah promotes her research findings through public presentations to a diverse audience of stakeholders including physicians, business owners, drivers, and researchers in order to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to prevention efforts. Sarah has an MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Biology from the University of St. Thomas.

Sarah is currently working with the Minneapolis VA Health Care System to provide OSA specific training materials for their volunteer drivers’ orientation. She partnered with Pat McGovern, PhD, MPH, BSN (Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing Program Director) and Steve Kirkhorn, MD, MPH (Director, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Academic Training Program and Director, Occupational Health, Minneapolis VA Health Care System).