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.
The importance of regular good night’s sleep is very well known. Those who regularly sleep good have much better abilities to focus, improved memory, improved blood pressure, lower risks of developing many serious diseases, as well as other health benefits. And many of us want to know what is the best position to sleep? Some of us feel comfortable sleeping on the back, some like falling asleep laying in the side position, and some enjoy stomach-sleeping. Is there any recommended position which is considered the most comfortable and the healthiest to sleep?
According to the findings of a recent study, sleeping on the back should be considered the best position to sleep. This position allows total relaxation of our neck and spine, it helps us to find the most comfortable position for our head as well. Also, experts say that this is the best position to slow down formation of wrinkles on our face and prevent acid reflux. However, those who suffer from such sleep disorders as snoring or sleep apnea should avoid sleeping on the back because this position is not favorable for the mentioned conditions and can contribute in making then even worse.
Side-sleeping is also considered a great position for a good night’s sleep. This best position to sleep allows us stretch and completely relax our spine, prevent back or neck pains, decrease snoring and prevent acid reflux. The position on the side is recommended to pregnant women as it helps to improve blood flow to the baby. Specialists suggest that women on the latest stages of pregnancy should choose to sleep on the left side. At the same time, side-sleeping is linked to increased pressure on the shoulders, therefore, those who like sleeping on the side should stretch their shoulders in order to prevent pains and muscle soreness.
As the study have shown, stomach-sleeping should be considered the worst position to sleep. Those who like sleeping this way have minimized risks of suffer from snoring and sleep apnea, but along with that, stomach-sleeping is liked to elevated chances to suffer from neck and back pains, tightness, stiffness and numbness, higher risks to develop wrinkles and breast sagging. This position is not recommended due to extra pressure to the digestive system, too, and it can lead to irritated nerves and other unwanted health conditions.
It is a known fact that about 25% of men and women above 45 suffer from serious snoring and sleep apnea. At that, about 3% of those experience gasping and numerous interruptions in breathing, which eventually lead to constant sleep interruption at night. Recently, a group of British specialists carried out a series of researches, which ended up with some disappointing findings. They registered new scientific evidence of the fact that snoring affects our brain activity and increases the risks of having a stroke.
The sleep of 13 volunteers (12 male and 1 female) with heavy forms of snoring (obstructive apnea) was under close observation of the scientists. It was found out that there are certain bio-chemical changes that occur in the brain under effect of snoring. Most likely, the brain is affected by a lack of oxygen caused even by a short interruption of breathing, which occurs in people with sleep apnea. Negative effect of such interruptions in breathing is very strong, that is why the specialists suggest to revise our attitude toward snoring and not to delay treatment of this ailment.
Moreover, obstructive apnea and hypopnea proved to cause decreased blood flow to brain, as well as create extra pressure on the chest and heart. The scientists say that every night the people with obstructive apnea have to fight for breathing with the same efforts as the ones they would have to spend for breathing with a hand over their nose and mouth. According to Dr. Kingman P. Strohl of Case Western Reserve University, reduced blood flow to the brain caused by severe snoring increases risks for stroke.