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Sleep Disorders Linked to Poor Health and Reduced Occupational Performance in Police Officers

December 21, 2011

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital’s Division of Sleep Medicine published new findings that sleep disorders are common among police officers and are associated with poor safety and performance outcomes. The team, lead by Dr. Charles Czeisler, chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine, gathered data from almost 5,000 police officers from North America by screening them onsite at police facilities or surveying them online. 40 percent of the officers had a chronic sleep problem, usually undiagnosed. Those with sleep disorders were more likely to have depression, anxiety, and job burnout, and were more likely to fall asleep at the wheel. Massachusetts State Police officers had lower rates of sleep problems than the average, due in part to implementation of a fitness regimen that encourages them to exercise and pass a fitness test.

These findings are published in the December 21, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors hope that their results will encourage police departments to address sleep disorders to improve safety on the job, and are planning a follow-up study to explore sleep apnea rates within police departments.

Related Links
Read about this study in the Boston Globe

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