By Billy J. Grogan, Top Cop Leadership
A good night’s sleep is priceless.
For first responders, sleep is especially important because the lives of others are in our hands. As a first responder or someone serving in the military, do you believe it enough to apply that statement to your life and the lives of those you lead?
If you do, your health, your outlook on life and your ability to lead will improve dramatically.
Chronic sleep loss can lead to a variety of issues that negatively affect first responders.
Here are a few of the recent findings from some of these studies.
Sleepiness Causes Accidents
A lack of sleep and/or sleep deprivation was a contributing factor in many of the world’s worse disasters and accidents. The investigations surrounding Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, the Challenger Explosion, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and American Airlines Flight 1420 Crash, all made reference to fatigue or lack of sleep being a factor in these accidents.
Sleep Deprivation can Lead to Serious Health Problems
Many studies clearly make a connection between chronic sleep loss and health issues. Some of the common health concerns include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, anxiety and depression.
Sleepiness Makes You Forgetful
A study conducted in the United Kingdom of 1,000 adults revealed that 25% of those who slept less than five hours a night were more forgetful.
Forgetfulness can be problematic for first responders. Our jobs require attention to detail and to be able to recall facts as accurately as practicable.
Sleep Loss Impairs Judgement
First responders and those in the military must make split-second judgments and take the appropriate actions based on those judgments.
These life and death decisions leave little room for error.
You cannot address a problem if you don’t recognize that it is a problem. Chronic sleep loss can be damaging to you, those you work with, the department and the community you serve.
Guard against this problem by first making sure you get enough sleep yourself and then by making sure conditions exist that encourage those you work with to get enough sleep.
Billy J. Grogan is the Chief of Police of the Dunwoody Police Department and a 36-year law enforcement leader, who currently writes articles for http://www.topcopleadership.com, a go-to resource for aspiring police chiefs and current police chiefs alike. He also currently serves on the Human and Civil Rights Committee of the IACP and is the Immediate Past President of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.