New Study: Sleep Disorders, Health, and Safety in Police Officers

new study of Police Officers in the U.S and Canada found 40% of police officers had symptoms of a sleep disorder, the most common being obstructive sleep apnea.  The officers were more likely to be burned out, depressed or have an anxiety disorder. They committed more administrative errors and safety violations and were more prone to falling asleep at the wheel than sound sleepers.  They were also 40% to 60% more likely to report making serious administrative errors, falling asleep while driving or committing a fatigue-related error or safety violation during work. Poor sleepers reported more citizen complaints and more often showed uncontrolled anger toward a suspect or citizen….. all while carrying a GUN!

“You have people who are sleep deprived, which means that their ability to make good decisions, to respond effectively, to drive emergency vehicles well … all of those things are impaired,” said Bryan Vila, a criminal justice professor who studies sleep and performance in cops at Washington State University in Spokane but wasn’t involved in the study.”

And the culture that surrounds police work perpetuates the problem.

“In general we have this cultural attitude of, sleep is for the weak,” said Dr. Michael Grandner, from the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  “When you’re in an environment where signs of weakness are particularly discouraged, there may be a social pressure to not address sleep problems or to shrug them off.”

After many years of treating obstructive sleep apnea and listening to patients concerns and complaints, I think there is more at work here than the macho statement “sleep is for the weak”!

The reason most do not seek care is because of the treatment that is most commonly recommended for the disorder…CPAP! Almost everyone knows somebody that either wears a CPAP or has tried and just can’t do it and haven’t been given any alternative treatment.  They come to my office and say “what do you have, because I’m not going to wear that mask when I sleep”! When I inform them that there is another recommended treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that is covered by most all medical insurance carriers they commonly say, “Why didn’t my doctor tell me about this!”  When they discover they can manage their condition without CPAP and oral appliance therapy is a covered benefit of their specific medical plan, their next statement is usually, “can we get started today?”

Don’t let the threat of CPAP keep you from getting the sleep you crave.

As Albert Einstein said,

“Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, is insanity”.

Don’t go insane! Visit The Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders to find solutions for a happier, longer, safer life!

 

 

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Posted in: CPAP, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Oral Appliance Therapy, Recommended Therapies, Sleep Disorders

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