Sleep disorders can be considered a group of professional diseases of modern police officers. According to the findings of experts from the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, up to 40 per cent of today’s police officers in the United States and Canada suffer from chronic sleep disorders like chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, and many more. In addition to that, the cops who displayed the signs of mentioned sleep disorders also suffered from such psychological problems as depression, anxiety disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and so on. As a result, they were more prone to making constant professional errors and showing incompetence in one or another issue related to fulfilling various administrative tasks.
In the report about the study published two months ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Michael Grandner, one of the study leaders, says that the discovered phenomena can be explained by constant social pressure and too stressful environment that modern cops have to work in. Also, it is quite common for today’s police officers to support their image of ‘tough guys’ and always behave with courage and braveness, that’s what can cause sleep disorders, chronic insomnia and related health problems. Dr. Michael Grandner underlines that the mentioned problem can soon grow into a great public concern as it would play a role in jeopardizing public safety. This is why every each police department should do everything possible to assist the officers in treating their sleep disorders.
The study involved analyzing health condition, specifically psychological health and sleep problems, of over 5,000 police officers aged 38-39, from such regions as Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and some regions of Canada. According to the published information, about 40 per cent of the participants have shown positive results as to at least one of the most common sleep disorders. At that, regular observation and working with questionnaires demonstrated that up to 60 per cent of those who were suffering from sleep apnea or chronic insomnia were regularly displaying fatigue-related errors like falling asleep while driving, and so on.
At that, the scientists noticed that police officers from Massachusetts had relatively low incidence of sleep disorders like sleep apnea. It turned out that those police officers had one hour exercise time (paid) for every shift. Besides, it was a common practice to undergo special fitness tests, including such exercises like chasing a suspect, dragging a body, and so on, and the results of such tests were taken into account when determining the amount of financial bonus for the job. Experts point on such program as a very effective model for all national police departments.