Untreated sleep disorders among police officers may be adversely affecting their health and safety and posing a risk to the public, a study in the Dec. 21 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reported. Nearly 5,000 officers were surveyed, with 40 percent screening positive for at least one sleep disorder, most of them previously undiagnosed. Two years of follow-up surveys showed that those screened positive for a sleep disorder had higher rates serious administrative errors, falling asleep while driving, making an error or safety violation attributed to fatigue other adverse work-related outcomes, including uncontrolled anger toward suspects, absenteeism and falling asleep during meetings.

Of the 4,608 police officer who completed the sleepiness scale, 28.5 percent reported excessive sleepiness, and 1,294 (26.1 percent) of those officers reported falling asleep while driving at least once each month. Officers who screened positive for obstructive sleep apnea or any sleep disorder also had a higher prevalence of physical and mental health conditions, including diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

Read article abstract in JAMA