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The prevalence of sleep disorders among police officers – and why we should be concerned

A joint US/Canadian survey found that an astonishing 40% of police officers suffer from a sleep disorder.

Of the close to 5,000 participants, a third tested positive for sleep apnea, 6.5% tested positive for moderate to severe insomnia, 5.4% tested positive for shift work disorder and 28.5% reported excessive daytime sleepiness.

Perhaps even more worrying, a quarter of the officers reported falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the past month.

These findings shouldn't only disturb police officers - regular civilians should also be concerned; sleep deprived officers were found to be 40-60% more likely to make serious errors or safety violations whilst at work, were more likely to show uncontrolled anger towards suspects and citizens and also reported more citizen complaints made against them.

It sounds as though police forces need to do a better job both screening for sleep problems and supporting those who suffer from them.

Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association

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Last updated: March 13, 2012

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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