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Sleeping disorders affect work of police officers
December 20th, 2011
04:01 PM ET

Sleeping disorders affect work of police officers

A new study finds that many police officers might be better at their jobs, if they had more and better sleep.

Researchers screened officers for sleeping disorders and found that 40% had at least one disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia.

Those with sleeping disorders were 51% more likely to fall asleep while driving, 63% more likely to violate safety protocols, 43% more likely to make administrative errors, and 22% more likely to be injured on the job, compared to officers reporting no sleeping disorders.

People had more bad things to say, too, about police officers who happen to sleep poorly, with citizens filing 35% more complaints against those with sleeping disorders.

Nearly half of all police officers surveyed for the study reported having fallen asleep at least one time while driving, while one-quarter of all officers said that this happens once or twice a month.

"It's an extraordinarily high number of sleeping disorders," says Dr. Charles Czeisler, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "The main message is that sleep disorders are very prevalent in the police and I'm sure the general population is not far behind."

Obesity, explains Czeisler, is as essential to obstructive sleep apnea as location is to real estate, and that principle holds true in his study. About 34% of police officers reported being obese, and the same number suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, though some have one condition and not the other.

"The next step that we're going to do is an even larger sample," says Czeisler, "and find out if we can decrease these adverse consequences with screening, a treatment program, and education."

Officers with obstructive sleep apnea also showed higher rates of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety disorders.

"We've learned a lot about sleep and sleep medicine. There's an explosion of science in this field," explains Dr. Michael Grandner, a researcher at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology in the Division of Sleep Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who is not associated with the study.

"But what this paper points out is that this isn't translating to the field. It'd be interesting to see the cost-benefit analysis of investing in the police officer's health."

The 4,957 study participants were recruited from the Philadelphia Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. Of the participants, 82% were men, 85% were white, and 79% were overweight or obese.


soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. imaguard

    This just in: Sleep disorders affect ALL kinds of work. Duh. The only exception is "mattress quality control specialist."

    December 20, 2011 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. al

    hopefully one day pills will be invented to make a person sleep for 7hrs and wake up right away, with no side effects and not addictive. that will help millions of people everywhere

    December 20, 2011 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. c s

    It has a lot more to do with trying to work a night schedule than anything else. Most humans are biologically not nocturnal. A few people are really night owls that are most comfortable working nights and sleeping days. Most police works some type of rotating schedule and can not adjust to sleeping during day and being awake at night. What is really scary is that a police officer driving at highway speeds and then falling asleep. At 60 mph, a car is traveling 88 feet per second. Now you have 5000 pound unguided missile on the highway at 2:00 AM. I would guess that many police single car accidents at night are really just the driver falling asleep. Of course the police officer will never admit to falling asleep because it would probably get him fired. Traffic accidents is the second leading cause of police officers being killed in the line of duty after being murdered. According to crime in america net, in 2009 47 officers were murdered while on duty and 46 died in accidents.

    December 21, 2011 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Thinquer

    WHY do people in critical jobs of responsiblity have to do rotating SHIFT work? Air traffic controllers, nurses, firefighters, police... sure recipe for disaster. Duh.

    December 21, 2011 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Myto Senseworth

    Changes in a human's biological clock is one of the causes. They need fixed shifts. I know when I travel a lot and change time zones arround the world, I find it hard to sleep and hard to stay awake.....I wonder how much was spent to study something the rest of us already know???

    December 21, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Myto Senseworth

    This was a waste of my reading time......

    December 21, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Katie

    What a dumb article... Police are people, people are affected by lack of sleep. Who ever wrote this article should be a toilet bowl cleaner for life.

    December 21, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. jojo

    POLICE OFFICERS LIE....IN COURT UNDER OATH...IT ISN'T HARD TO READ THE PAPERS AND SEE CURRENT AND FORMER POLICE OFFICERS WHO KILL, ROB...STEAL..RAPE...SELL DRUGS AND SO ON........

    A FEW BAD APPLES SHOULDN'T SPOIL THE BARREL......BUT....THEY DO...

    TOO BAD WHEN YOU CAN'T TRUST THE POLICE...

    December 21, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. jojo

    And im sure most police get PLENTY OF SLEEP ON THE NIGHT SHIFT....after a few donuts....

    December 21, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jojo

    Got off jury duty cuz I tod the judge that, "I know several cops personaly and that they sometimes lie"..... The judge said to
    me, ........ "surely you don't think that all cops lie?"....I said, ......"All the cops that I know do."...lol... He dismissed me..lmao

    December 21, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Keirxi

      You sound like a real winner, buddy.

      December 21, 2011 at 20:17 | Report abuse |
    • IAB

      And you sound like a real cop. Don't lie..

      December 22, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
  11. long arm of the law

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/19/nyregion/3-ex-officers-plead-guilty-in-fbi-sting.html

    NOTHING NEW ......BEEN GOIN ON FOR A LONG TIME.......AND WILL CONTINUE TO GO ON INTO THE FUTURE........

    WHILE A CRIME AGAINST A COP IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY......

    CRIMES COMMITTED BY COPS ARE TREATED LIKE ORDINARY CRIMES........ THEY ARE NOT ORDINARY, THEY ARE EVEN MORE DISGUSTING. AND DO HARM TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.......BUT IM GLAD TO SEE THAT IT COMES AROUND. THANKS TO THE FEDS. AT LEAST THEY HAVE HONOR

    December 21, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Portland tony

    I think anybody who has constantly changing work hours is probably under more job related stress than your 9 to 5(er). To some it's a nightmare, to others it's just inconvenient. But being a cop, you have to find that comfort zone whenever you're working, Where, when, and with whom are they working. If somebody's shooting at you, you'll need answers.

    December 21, 2011 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mr No It All

    Switching from night shift to day shift alternately would always make somebody numb: half asleep, half awake all day and fused that way – I had some police misconduct complaints myself and could not sleep so I would type out these intrusive thought trains into a book at night during the blocks of hours it was impossible to sleep. I ended up with a book for the loss of sleep and was able to catagorize and lose the source of sleeplessness

    December 21, 2011 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. CLARA

    What they need to do is outlaw the shifts that rotate every month from days to evening to nights...this is what is causing exhaustion on people. People can adapt better if the shifts do not change all the durn time.

    December 21, 2011 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mike stanek

    Nurses work 12 hour nights like myself.730 pm to 8am been at it 27 years it screws you up not just cops.

    December 22, 2011 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sandy

    I don't know how the situation is in the larger cities, but in the small municipalities in some areas, a large number of officers hold second jobs and even own a side business. The fact that they work changing shifts, and even when the shifts are stationary, makes them able to do this. Sleep seems to take a back seat to money.

    December 22, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. cops_are_jerks

    who cares about the police

    December 22, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. jenn

    This is so true. My husband was recently terminated from the position he held for 13 years (Sherriff dept) because he has obstructive right side sleep apnea and it has caused him to nod off 3 times last year. He worked 3rd(graveyard) shift. It's a real shame, and according to some quite illegal, but what can you really do.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cops_are_jerks

      HA!

      December 22, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • IAB

      Sue the crap out of the department for wrongful termination due to a medical condition that can be treated. They should have at least made a reasonable accommodation for based on his disability.

      In New York City he would have gotten a disability retirement 85% of his pay, tax free for the rest of his life. Even if they find him running the NYC Marathon or Triathalon. LOL now say that cops are not crooks with a straight face. Good luck and get a good lawyer.

      December 22, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
    • IAB

      That is of of course assuming that the department doesn't LIE about the reason for his termination.

      December 22, 2011 at 20:19 | Report abuse |
  19. Jataka

    They made the choice to become cops. Deal with it.

    December 22, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. DCRed

    Maybe they have guilty consciences.

    December 22, 2011 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. IAB

    79%. Overweight or obese

    Enough said. LMFAO

    December 22, 2011 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. ken

    In reading the article, I think I saw that obese people can't sleep and have major health problems. So cops should be fired if they become obese? This applies to all occupations. Obese people should be fired. They can't sleep, they have too many health problems, and they can't concentrate at work. They hurt the medical insurance plan of their employer. Now isn't that obvious?

    December 22, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Love Sleep

    One word: Ambien. It'll put you right out and let you sleep at least 5 hrs uninterrupted and often 7 to 8 hrs with no problem. If you have sleep apnea, use a CPAP with the Ambien. Then you will have a restful night's sleep. Any profession..

    December 22, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Katie

    After seeing how my young son has been profiled by cops – excessively ticketed (2 of which were dismissed) and harassed by cops (dogs sniffing his car for drugs – there was none), I really don't have much sympathy. They should push back on the quotas. Maybe if they did, they could reclaim some of the lost respect.

    December 22, 2011 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. cyclobrown

    another excuse to be a bad cop

    December 23, 2011 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. drew

    Truth be told........

    December 23, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Odalice Feliz

    Those with sleeping disorders were 51% more likely to fall asleep while driving, 63% more likely to violate safety protocols, 43% more likely to make administrative errors, and 22% more likely to be injured on the job, compared to officers reporting no sleeping disorders.

    People had more bad things to say, too, about police officers who happen to sleep poorly, with citizens filing 35% more complaints against those with sleeping disorders.

    Nearly half of all police officers surveyed for the study reported having fallen asleep at least one time while driving, while one-quarter of all officers said that this happens once or twice a month.

    "It's an extraordinarily high number of sleeping disorders," says Dr. Charles Czeisler, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "The main message is that sleep disorders are very prevalent in the police and I'm sure the general population is not far behind."
    Officers with obstructive sleep apnea also showed higher rates of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety disorders.

    September 22, 2017 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Odalice Feliz

    Where is all your conscience at? The police is being targeted and ambushed by crazy schizophath, who view them as easy targets. Please stop being cruel to them. They are human just as u and me. Respect police. Help police out. They earn a honest living. I love police. I love Americans. These police killing has to stop and we gotta find out how. Protect our police just as they serve to protect us. We as Americans deserved respect. Venezuela needs to bow down to Americans and stop degrading Americans. Miami Dade police is one of the best police stations in the world. Help out by donating money, and time.... We owe the police, because they keep us safe at night.

    December 10, 2017 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Odalice Feliz

    Donate money to your police department. Don't wait for leaders to do it. Help out by donating money and time. God bless you this Christmas Mr. Mrs. Ms. Police Officer. With all do respect R.I.P to all our fallen Heroes. 911 it's an emergency cops are being murder in a fast paste. They need us to help them. 911 or call non emergency number. 911 Hammocks police stations is one of the best police station in the world. Love the police there here to serve and protect us. 157 ave

    December 10, 2017 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Odalice Feliz

    Dear Mr. Barack Obama Help the police out. Dear Mr. Donald Trump. Help these poor fallen officers family, By donating money to create safer communities. Get our mentality. Thank you officer Juan Perez from the Miami Dade Police Department. God bless and keep you safe.

    December 10, 2017 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Odalice Feliz

    Make love not war. Peace with the middle East. Love you Mr. Police officer

    December 10, 2017 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. odalice feliz

    Police – She Will Wait Quietly For Me – Poem by Paul Warren

    I know she will wait quietly for me
    At the front of the station near the Gum Tree
    She doesn't know what I have done or where I've been
    And I don't want to tell her of what I have seen

    But that's my other life where you have to be strong
    Always in control and know what can go wrong
    So I keep up the mask and know it hides the fear
    Of being a copper then returning to those I hold dear.

    © Paul Warren Poetry

    December 10, 2017 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. odalice feliz

    Police – The Drive In – Poem by Paul Warren

    Drive in theatres in 1976 were the rage
    When couples met in summers made
    And Whyalla had its own one too
    On Fridays and Saturdays audiences it drew

    One Saturday night the crowd was good
    With the takings on the night as it should
    The manager was contented with his lot
    And was counting the money in his office spot

    Suddenly a car drove down the driveway at speed
    The two men in the car jumped out to do the deed
    With a rifle demanding money as their crime
    And they wanted the takings in express time

    The manager pushed the alarm button call
    The police cruiser was near and they gave its all
    Arriving whilst the robbers were still there
    The robbers panicked and shot without care

    With one of the police officers going down
    Shot in the stomach falling to the ground
    In the confusion the malefactors made their escape
    Finally being cornered they were arrested in their fate

    When prison for four years was their punishment enduring
    And the wounded copper spent a long time recovering
    But the public did not care what had occurred
    And the police officer was forgotten as they erred.

    © Paul Warren Poetry
    Police – The Drive In
    Paul Warren

    I ❤ The Police

    December 10, 2017 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. odalice feliz

    One afternoon
    just after returning from work
    there was a knock on the front door

    and three military policemen
    with flat orange hats,
    and orange arm flashes

    demanded to come in
    and wanted to search my place
    as somebody had told them
    that I was a friend of someone

    for whom they had an arrest warrant
    for not turning up to camp
    and the simpletons thought
    that I was hiding him.

    Being in the citizens force,
    I intensely disliked the military police
    and knew that he was quite safe from them
    and showed them the gate
    which made them really angry,

    but they were furious
    when I told them that I knew
    where to find him

    and that they could go
    to the local police station
    where he was on duty.
    The Military Police
    Gert Strydom

    December 10, 2017 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. odalice feliz

    no wander there getting killed. . the felons deserve respect and police deserve disrespect. its backwardPolice are nothing more than rapists actually is the fellons acting up again

    Agree or disagree with the statement above?
    You tell me
    Do you not believe as I believe?
    All these so called good guys in blue do is just
    Take, take, take
    Whatever they want
    Whenever they want
    Without regard or care for anyone outside of their own little warped circles

    Break in someone's door
    Pull out their badges and weapons
    Throw around all that weight and power
    Slapping one another high fives
    As they down doughnut after doughnut
    And coffee after coffee
    Junkies high on the thrill of bringing pain and loss to the innocent
    Letting the guily go free
    If they get their greedy little palms greased just right

    Never been so ashamed
    Never felt so sickened
    Not in my whole life
    Hate them and hate myself more
    For being so damned scared
    Too damned scared
    To stand up for myself and speak up against these monsters

    Nothing but trouble
    Poison
    Pure and simple
    No denying it
    They're the bad boys, bad boys
    Now what are we gonna do
    When once more our rights they try to screw

    America, I'm leaving that one up to you!

    2009 Ramona Thompson
    Police Are Rapists
    Ramona Thompsons the fellons are the rapest
    Police are nothing more than rapists
    Agree or disagree with the statement above?
    You tell me
    Do you not believe as I believe?
    All these so called good guys in blue do is just
    Take, take, take
    Whatever they want
    Whenever they want
    Without regard or care for anyone outside of their own little warped circles

    Break in someone's door
    Pull out their badges and weapons
    Throw around all that weight and power
    Slapping one another high fives
    As they down doughnut after doughnut
    And coffee after coffee
    Junkies high on the thrill of bringing pain and loss to the innocent
    Letting the guily go free
    If they get their greedy little palms greased just right

    Never been so ashamed
    Never felt so sickened
    Not in my whole life
    Hate them and hate myself more
    For being so damned scared
    Too damned scared
    To stand up for myself and speak up against these monsters

    Nothing but trouble
    Poison
    Pure and simple
    No denying it
    They're the bad boys, bad boys
    Now what are we gonna do
    When once more our rights they try to screw

    America, I'm leaving that one up to you!

    2009 Ramona Thompson
    Police Are Rapists
    Ramona Thompson
    Police are nothing more than rapists
    Agree or disagree with the statement above?
    You tell me
    Do you not believe as I believe?
    All these so called good guys in blue do is just
    Take, take, take
    Whatever they want
    Whenever they want
    Without regard or care for anyone outside of their own little warped circles

    Break in someone's door
    Pull out their badges and weapons
    Throw around all that weight and power
    Slapping one another high fives
    As they down doughnut after doughnut
    And coffee after coffee
    Junkies high on the thrill of bringing pain and loss to the innocent
    Letting the guily go free
    If they get their greedy little palms greased just right

    Never been so ashamed
    Never felt so sickened
    Not in my whole life
    Hate them and hate myself more
    For being so damned scared
    Too damned scared
    To stand up for myself and speak up against these monsters

    Nothing but trouble
    Poison
    Pure and simple
    No denying it
    They're the bad boys, bad boys
    Now what are we gonna do
    When once more our rights they try to screw

    America, I'm leaving that one up to you!

    2009 Ramona Thompson
    Police Are Rapists
    Ramona Thompson

    December 10, 2017 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. odalice feliz

    He goes to work early everyday
    For him to be safe is what I pray
    He often works late, not a set time
    He stays busy on the streets, fighting crime
    He has a whole family that loves him too
    The most honorable man that I ever knew
    Lots of people are bad, must protect the city
    Catching crooks isn't fun or very pretty
    His job makes us feel safe in our home
    He makes a point to find them, where ever they roam
    So please dear god, keep him safe tonight
    And let him not have to get into a fight
    A policemans wife's worry will never cease
    Until he retires and can live in peace!
    The Police Officer's Wife
    Donna Nimmo

    December 10, 2017 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. odalice feliz

    (limerick) Police Stations Down At The Pier – Poem by WES Vogler

    The toilets have been stolen, I fear,
    From police stations down at the pier.
    What a distraction!
    Oh such inaction!
    They've nothing to GO on, I hear.

    (please rate this, mate)
    (limerick) Police Stations Down At The Pier
    WES Vogler

    December 10, 2017 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. odalice feliz

    I ❤ Hispanics
    I ❤ Police

    December 10, 2017 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. odalice feliz

    Donald Trump and the republican party , needs to help make better strategies to help and keep our street safe. Police officers deserve RESPECT. They are making a honest living.
    I ❤ my community so therefor I'm making a donation
    http://citizenscrimewatch.com/make-donation

    December 10, 2017 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. odalice feliz

    I love my police officer so I'm willing to make a donaton!

    http://citizenscrimewatch.com/make-donation

    December 10, 2017 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply

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