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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764


RIBAS, Valdenilson Ribeiro et al. Brazilian air traffic controllers exhibit excessive sleepiness. Dement. neuropsychol. [online]. 2011, vol.5, n.3, pp.209-215. ISSN 1980-5764.

Excessive sleepiness (ES) is an increased tendency to initiate involuntary sleep for naps at inappropriate times.


The objective of this study was to assess ES in air traffic controllers (ATCo).


45 flight protection professionals were evaluated, comprising 30 ATCo, subdivided into ATCo with ten or more years in the profession (ATCo³10, n=15) and ATCo with less than ten years in the profession (ATCo<10, n=15) and 15 aeronautical information services operators (AIS), subdivided into AIS with ten years or more in the profession (AIS³10, n=8) and AIS with less than ten years in the profession (AIS<10, n=7), who were included as the control group. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale and Maintenance of Wakefulness Test were used for evaluating subjective and objective excessive sleepiness. Kruskal-Wallis was used for ES and Mann-Whitney for sleep latency (SL), collection time in minutes (mins), and expressed as Median (Minimum-Maximum), p<0.05.


ATCo³10 12 (6-14) mins and ATCo<10 10 (1-15) mins showed greater sleepiness compared to CONTROL1 7 (3-8) mins and CONTROL2 6 (4-6) mins, p=0.001*. A total of 77.27% of the ATCo and 16.67% of the AIS had an SL of less than 20 minutes. The ATCo presented an SL of 16.59 (3.25-40), lower than that of the AIS of 31.71 (10.63-40) mins, p<0.05*.


Brazilian air traffic controllers exhibit excessive sleepiness.

Keywords : somnolence; sleep latency; air traffic controllers.

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