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Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep deprivation is simply defined as the condition of not having enough sleep - quality sleep. Is is recommended that the average adult get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Now if you're thinking...who the hell sleeps that much, there's no way - listen up because the consequences could be deadly.

It can be acute meaning a short term issue or chronic which is ongoing. Sleep deprivation can cause: impaired cognitive function, weakened immune system, extreme fatigue, memory loss, increased reaction time, irritability, depression, hallucinations, muscle soreness, weight loss or gain and in increased chance of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure to name a few.

Studies show that those who work in law enforcement, especially officers are some of the worst offenders of lack of adequate sleep. A large number of officer collisions and even critical Incidents resulting in death or injury can be attributed to sleep deprivation. Long shifts, shift work, overtime, stress and irregular schedules are primary contributing factors.

Here are 5 tips to help get more sleep and better quality sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime
  • Make your bedroom a sleep inducing environment: a cool, dark and quiet room is ideal - avoid having or using the TV and other electronics in the room
  • Stick with a sleep schedule and establish a pre sleep routine - wind down with a shower, reading a book or other non stimulating activities
  • Avoid big meals, alcohol and excessive amounts of water before bed
  • Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it's done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. This is fine, unless you're trying to fall asleep. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.

So if you've mastered the art of Tactical napping at 0300 behind 7-Eleven or are loading up on coffee, prepwork and energy drinks daily - you might be suffering from sleep deprivation. 

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