Depression, anxiety and emotional burnout were higher in the sleep-disorder group as well, the investigators found.
A positive screening for obstructive sleep apnea was also associated with a diagnosis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high caffeine consumption, the study reported. Czeisler said excess weight, common in those with sleep apnea, likely plays a role.
He said sleep problems are likely higher in the emergency worker population and shift work can interfere with healthy sleep patterns, the research suggests. But, "the American population is probably not that far behind. We know the U.S. adult population has been gaining weight. Two-thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese," Czeisler added.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Joseph Ojile, founder and managing director of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, said, "What they uncovered is true to what we see in our office every day. These are the people we see -- our family, friends and neighbors who work in the field of law. It's a large, rigorous study. It's very helpful for us to be able to say this issue is real, here's data to back it up," he added.
"My personal hope is that this will allow us to start to have a conversation with police chiefs and city councils and say, 'Let us help you work with these individuals,'" said Ojile, who said he's talked with interested local police and the city's bus authorities, but that mass sleep-disorders screenings have not been conducted so far.
Sleep expert Dr. Michael Grandner, who co-wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal, said he was surprised by the high rate of undiagnosed sleep disorders among police officers.
He pointed out that the association between poor sleep and poor job performance was also a concern. "Fallin
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