Safety violations more common among police officers with sleep disorders: study

Chicago – Sleep disorders among police officers may be linked to health problems and poor safety performance, according to research from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

In a study of more than 5,000 police officers, approximately 40 percent screened positive for sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and shift work disorder, according to a press release from the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which the study appeared (Vol. 306, No. 23).

The most prevalent disorder was sleep apnea, detected in 33 percent of officers studied.

Researchers found that 28.5 percent reported signs of excessive sleepiness. For example, nearly 46 percent said they had nodded off while driving, in some cases one or two times a week.

In addition to falling asleep at the wheel or in meetings, police officers with sleep disorders were more likely than other officers to report committing safety violations due to fatigue, feeling uncontrolled anger toward a citizen or suspect, and absenteeism, JAMA said.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)