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.
Insomnia is a curse of modern generations, and millions of people around the globe suffer from this type of sleep disorders. In many cases, insomnia turns into a chronic condition, bringing such effects as constant restlessness, headaches, fatigue, inability to focus and maximize our performance, and so on. Form the scientific point of view, not too much is known about the most common causes, mechanisms and effects of this sleep disorder. That is why insomnia and chemical processes that accompany this condition become a focus of numerous current researches and studies very often.
In particular, one of the studies carried out this summer and reported in September has shown that such condition as insomnia has very strong influence of heredity. This factor plays a great role, and if your mom, dad or other close relatives suffer from this health condition, you have quite high chances to suffer from it too. The group of scientists of Universite Laval’s School of Psychology, who carried out this research and worked on analyzing the data on about 3,500 participants, came up with the conclusions that those who have a history of chronic insomnia in their family can be exposed to up to 76 per cent higher risks of suffering from this sleep disorder at one or another stage of their life.
The participants were asked to answer some questions about their sleep patterns, their sleep problems and sleep problems of the close relatives like mother, father or siblings. The study included also monitoring possible changes of sleep patterns withing 12 months, with occasional interviewing the participants. It turned out that almost 40 per cent of people who had a family member suffering from insomnia displayed the signs of the same sleep disorder. At that, 76 per cent of those participants had only one relative suffering from insomnia, and 21 per cent had two and more family members affected by the same condition.
Dr. Charles M. Morin of Universite Laval’s School of Psychology, one of the study leaders and the author of the report, commented on the findings of his colleagues as the following: “There is very probably a genetic factor behind the family aggregation we observed. However, we don’t know if the mechanism is a physiological process that interferes with sleep or a predisposition to anxiety.” He also said that there are options of early psychological and related types of treatments for those who have elevated risks of insomnia caused by such factor as heredity.
It is a known fact that having a good and peaceful sleep is sometimes priceless. And if you are the one who is regularly having good and sufficient amount of sleep – you are a lucky one! According to the findings of a recent research, carried out by a group of British specialists, it turned out that the majority of modern British people value an hour of a good sleep more than an hour of good sex. Amazing??!! Unbelievable!
The scientists interviewed about 8,500 British men and women, and it became clear that most of them have regular problems with sleep, and many suffer from serious sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or insomnia. Only 8% of the participants said that they sleep about 8 hours a day, and 40% of the participants are convinced that they can not do they work and daily activities effectively if the had ha less than 7 hours of sleep.
It became apparent that every 7 of 10 men and women have serious sleep disorders, and every one of 4 people have to fight against regular insomnia. Finally, about 79% of the participants of this research expressed their opinion that they would rather have an hour of a good and peaceful sleep than have an hour of good sexual pleasure.
Specialists go on warning us that chronic lack of sleep is closely linked to very serious problems and diseases, like hypertension, cardio-vascular diseases and other illnesses. Also, many modern people need extra concentration and focusing at work, but constant lack of good sleep causes ineffectiveness, failures and lack of professional success. The experts underline that an average person needs not less than 7.5 hours of sleep a day for normal function and maximum effectiveness at work.
• Increased sleepiness in the daytime.
• Regular loud snoring at night, especially accompanied with high blood pressure, problems with lungs and diabetes.
• Frequent short periods of breathing cessation during sleep.
• Dissatisfaction with the quality of sleep:
«I need more than 30 minutes to fall asleep»
«I frequently wake up at night»
«I wake up very early in the morning and can not sleep anymore».
• Using sleeping pills for long time.
• Problems with sleep caused by traveling and time zone change.
• Unpleasant feelings in legs or arms, causing irresistible urge to move the legs or arms during sleep.
• Episodes of sudden body muscle weakness when experiencing strong emotions (joy, anger, hate, etc.), frequently accompanied by fainting.
• Regular nightmares and scary dreams.
• Attacks, paroxysm, unusual behavior during sleep (sleepwalking, urge to eat, grinding of the teeth, etc.)
We spend about one third of our life sleeping, and having good regular sleeps is absolutely essential for everyone. Sleeping helps us to refresh our mind, have some rest after hard working days and maintain good health. However, nowadays not many of us can have regular healthy sleep. There are certain physiological conditions which bring to problems for people to breathe freely and easily during sleep. There is a great deal of sleep disturbances which do not allow people to recover and regain their mental and physical strength. Day by day such people are getting weaker and more depressed. Sooner or later, they have to forget about such natural things as a good spirit, excellent work capacity and mental abilities, ideal memory and appearance, which can only be stimulated by regular good sleep.
Sleep disturbances and disorders are very frequent in our times and almost everyone knows their signs and reasons. One of the prevailing reasons of problems with sleep is usual neglect of our biorhythms. Very often we extend our waking ours with the help of various stimulants or willpower, and certainly, it can be done only at the expense of our time for sleeping. Another leading reason is chronic pains or psychological disturbances, such as stresses or depression. Sleep disorders cause tiredness, weakness, impaired motor skills, inability to focus or concentrate, weaker immune system and slowed down metabolism, as well as other unwanted consequences.
There are periodic, temporary and chronic sleep disorders. Serious ones, like narcolepsy, parasomnias, sleep apnea and others, usually require medical treatment and immediate changes in daily behavior. If you are suffering from chronic insomnia or other disturbance, see a specialist in order to diagnose your problem correctly. Only doctor can recognize the type of disorder and recommend the most effective treatment. For example, sleeping pills and tranquilizers are the most effective medications for insomniacs, and effective antidepressants and stimulants must be prescribed to the people who have hypersomnia (extreme sleepiness).
Nevertheless, in the majority of the situations your relief from problems with sleep is in your own hands. If you started having regular periods of insomnia, difficulties when falling asleep or waking up, as well as seeing scary or disturbing dreams, you can begin with making slight changes in your daytime behavior and sleep habits. Every day go to sleep at the same time, sleep in comfortable bed and in comfortable environment. Spend your time before going to bed in doing something calm and monotonous, or take a shower. Do not start using sleeping pills until your doctor did not recommend you to do so. And one more rule: set your mind for good sleep, and stay wrapped in slumber deep and sweet all night long.