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Screening for sleep disorders in North American police officers.

Rajaratnam S; Barger L; Lockley S; Cade B; O'Brien C; White D; Czeisler C
Sleep 2007 Jun; 30(Abstract Suppl):A209
Introduction: Sleep disorders are common, costly, and treatable, but often remain undiagnosed and untreated. Unrecognized sleep disorders adversely affect personal health and may lead to chronic sleep loss, which in turn increases the risk of accidents and injuries. These problems are exacerbated in shift workers, who may experience chronic sleep loss due to their work schedules and also show a high incidence of sleep disorders. The present study sought to examine the incidence of major sleep disorders in a sample of North American police officers. Methods: Police officers (n=4,471) completed a self-report survey that included screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) alone or for OSA and all of the following: insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), and narcolepsy with cataplexy. Validated screening questionnaires were used for all sleep disorders except for SWSD. For SWSD, the screening questions were based on the International Classification of Sleep Disorders-II diagnostic criteria, but required participants show both insomnia and excessive sleepiness that are temporally associated with a recurring work schedule that overlaps the usual sleep time. Participants were recruited through invitation letters to law enforcement agencies and through visits to police stations during which an education session about sleep and health was presented to officers. Participants who screened positive for one or more sleep disorder were referred to a sleep clinic for formal evaluation. The evaluation was verified in a subset of participants. Results: The percentage who screened positive for any sleep disorder was 38.4%. The percentages for each disorder were as follows: OSA 35.1%, insomnia 6.8%, RLS 0.7%, SWSD 2.0%, and narcolepsy 0.5%. Conclusion: Based on these data, sleep disorders appear to be highly prevalent in the present sample of police officers. Sleep disorder screening and treatment programs may potentially improve police officer health, safety and productivity.
Sleep-deprivation; Sleep-disorders; Shift-work; Circadian-rhythms; Psychomotor-function; Workers; Work-environment; Work-capability; Work-performance; Demographic-characteristics; Questionnaires; Humans; Men; Women; Accidents; Injuries; Police-officers; Law-enforcement-workers; Education
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Brigham and Women's Hospital - Boston, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division