I’ve recently been examining the issue of sleep — well, more accurately, the issue of sleep deprivation — as it relates to human performance and officer safety.
“Airline pilots and long haul truck drivers can have a direct influence on the safety and wellbeing of the general public,” PoliceOne Contributor Blake told me recently. “As a result, each has rules and regulations regarding the amount of rest (non-work hours) that exist between work hours or shifts.”
Blake spearheaded a new study on the matter, and I encourage anyone who has any degree of difficulty in getting adequate sleep to check out Blake’s findings, detailed in my column entitled How lack of sleep may cause deadly police errors.
A survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that among officers in the United States and Canada:
• 53 percent get less than 6.5 hours of sleep daily (compared to 30 percent of civilians)
• 91 percent report feeling fatigued “routinely”
• 04 percent are tired when they start their work shift
• 85 percent drive while “drowsy”
• 39 percent have fallen asleep at the wheel
A PoliceOne Member recently emailed me intriguing inquiry, and I pass it along in this space. Are there any police departments who actually allow their officers to take naps while on duty? If so, who are they?
In 1992, Dr. Claudio Stampi published a book called Why We Nap. Stampi is noted for proffering the conclusion that “sleep-deprived humans are better off snoozing like most animals — in brief, precisely timed naps,” according to an article by Outside Magazine.
“Over the years, Stampi has attracted a diverse clientele, from NASA astronauts and long-haul truckers to jet-lagged CEOs,” the article said.
So, what about cops? Does your PD have a policy on ‘tactical napping?’
I’ve created a special email address — firstname.lastname@example.org — which will allow you to send a note to this individual member and myself. If your agency has any such policy in place, we would both very much like to hear from you on the topic.
One last item on the topic of sleep and officer safety: I’ve recently spoken with Dr. Richard Shane — Behavioral Sleep Consultant for the Sleep Center of Exempla-Lutheran Medical Center in Denver — who says he’s developed a “simple, medication-free, learn-at-home program to help people sleep well.”
I cannot attest to the efficacy of his technique to get quickly to sleep as I’ve not yet tried the method personally, but if you’re interested in learning more about his program, you can check out this 35-minute video.