A survey of police officers in the US and Canada finds that about 40% have a sleep disorder, and this is significantly linked
to a raised risk of adverse health, performance, and safety issues. The researchers report their findings online this week in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association
. Experts reviewing the paper suggest more studies should be done
to assess health and economic impact not only on individuals but also on society as a whole. Such research could set an example
for other occupational groups, they add.
For the study, Dr Shantha M. W. Rajaratnam of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from
surveys completed by 4,957 police officers serving in Canada and the US.
Their average age was 38.5 years, and their average length of service in the police force was 12.7 years.
Most of the respondents completed an online survey (3,693 officers), whilst a smaller contingent of 1,264 officers, from a
municipal police department and a state police department, were approached in person.
These initial surveys collected health and medical information, and because they included questions used in sleep disorder
screening, they allowed the researchers to establish which of the respondents screened positive for particular sleep disorders,
such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
A total of 3,545 of the participants also completed monthly follow up surveys between July 2005 and December 2007, and these
follow ups collected information about job performance and safety issues.
Note that all data collected was based on self reports: that is information provided by the respondents themselves, and not, for
example, by accessing their health and personnel files or talking to their doctors or supervisors.
The results showed that:
- 40.4% of the respondents screened positive for at least one sleep disorder, and in most cases this...