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Entries in Tired (2)

Wednesday
Dec212011

Sleep Deprivation May Affect Police Performance, Safety

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Sleep deprivation may affect up to 4 in 10 police officers, leading to higher rates of safety violations, anger toward suspects, falling asleep while driving and other dangerous situations, new research suggests.

In a study published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston surveyed nearly 5,000 police officers in North America. They found that 40 percent of the cops studied had a sleep disorder, many undiagnosed and untreated. The disorders, added the researchers, had implications for the officers' health and performance, and subsequently for public safety.

"Excessive sleepiness" is "common in police officers," study authors noted. "This is despite police officers apparently recognizing the dangers associated with drowsy driving; in a survey of North American police officers, almost 90 percent regarded drowsy driving to be as dangerous as drunk driving."

Demanding schedules may be to blame.

"Many police officers are at an even greater risk of poor outcomes because they are often required to work overnight, on rotating shifts, or both," they wrote.

Police officers are far from alone in sleep troubles.  At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders each year; an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.  Undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders interfere with personal health and lead to sleep deprivation, which leads to an increase in the risk of accidents and injuries.

After two years of monthly follow-ups, the study found that the officers also had a higher rate of reporting serious administrative errors, making safety violations attributed to fatigue, exhibiting anger toward suspects, falling asleep while driving or during meetings, and absenteeism.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar032011

Researchers Say Change in Voice Indicates Level of Fatigue

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- You might think a cup of coffee or a quick walk before heading to your job will cover up your exhaustion from long working hours and little sleep.  That is, until your co-worker outs you by saying, "You sound tired."

Although it's a common phrase used to describe someone who might sound lethargic, many researchers say a closer look into how someone sounds can reveal how dangerous a sleep-deprived person might be.

Researchers at a Pennsylvania State University psychology lab are going beyond what the human ear can detect to measure how changes in speech could detect sleepiness.  They found everything from voice inflection to letter pronunciation can indicate how tired you are and whether you may be better off sitting out of work than trying to stay productive.

In one study at the lab, researchers compared the speech of a small group of normal students with groups that were sleep deprived for 36 hours and 48 hours.  They found the longer the students stayed awake, the more likely the analysis showed dramatic changes in energy, speech patterns and pronunciation.

"Police" sounded more like "Bolice."  Higher energy letters such as T, P and K sounded more like D, B and G, respectively.

Some of the changes researchers found may be unclear to the normal human ear, said Cynthia LaJambe, a visiting scientist and sleep researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

"We don't know if [sounding tired] means there's a handful of precise speech indicators of sleepiness, or whether [a person is finding] some general change in speech," said LaJambe.

The lab's analysis found that a sleep-deprived voice can suggest anything from fatigue to exhaustion that can result in dangerous behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio