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HHS HealthBeat (February 20, 2012)

Sleeping and shift work

Policeman poses in full gear
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Crime never sleeps, so police can’t, either. And with night and overnight shifts, officers can have sleep disorders.

Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at data on about 5,000 officers over two years. About 40 percent had signs of sleep disorders. The most common was obstructive sleep apnea, in which there can be abnormal pauses in breathing while sleeping.

Dr. Czeisler:

“Officers with obstructive sleep apnea had a doubling of the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, an increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel and an increased risk of depression.” (11 seconds)

The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 21, 2012