First Responder

Why First Responders Suffer from Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation and First Responders

Sleep deprivation is quietly becoming a national epidemic according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 In 2016, it was reported that one-third of adults fail to get the recommended seven hours of sleep.2 The nationwide impact of sleep loss may do more than lead to daytime fatigue, it can also affect your safety.

The Troubling Numbers of First Responders with Sleep Deprivation

Among those suffering from sleep deprivation our first responders, ranging from police officers and firefighters to paramedics and emergency room hospital staff and active military service members. Among Americans working in protective service and military, about half reported short sleep in 2018, followed by 45% in health care support occupations.3 The crisis of sleep deprivation harms first responders’ health and safety as well as compromising public health and safety.

The Risks of Sleep Deprivation for Emergency Providers

Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis can cause long-term health consequences including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and depression. For many first responders, sleep deprivation adds more to the risks of an already dangerous job and increases the danger for others.

Firefighters who screened positive for sleep disorders were more likely to report a motor vehicle crash and self-report falling asleep while driving. They also were more likely to experience symptoms of cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and overall poorer health status.4

Medical professionals with sleep deprivation can have higher rates of surgical complications. And sleep-deprived police officers had 51 percent greater odds of falling asleep while driving on duty.5 Eighty-five percent of active duty military members have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or insomnia.6

Why First Responders Suffer from Sleep Deprivation

Extended work shifts, rotating schedules, and stressful work environments all contribute to sleep deprivation. First responders are more likely to take home the emotionally charged incidents they experience during their workday, which compels many to turn to alcohol and medications to induce sleep.

Sleep Solutions for Protective Services

For first responders seeking help with sleep disorders, the first step is to confirm a diagnosis. Sleep Care online is a convenient and affordable solution—offering comprehensive sleep care including two telehealth physician visits, a home sleep apnea test, and prescription for sleep therapy if warranted.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, most physicians will recommend the most common and least invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Through a CPAP machine, pressured air is delivered throughout the night to keep the airways open and reduce episodes of apnea. Patients wake up refreshed and well-rested.

After only 3 months of treatment CPAP patients reported an improvement in daily functioning, emotional functioning, social interactions and a reduction in symptoms.7

Once you have a prescription, the staff at The CPAP Shop are available to offer customized product recommendations based on your individual needs. Give us a call at 866.414.9700 and get started on a better night’s sleep.


  1. CDC declares sleep deprivation a health crisis. WCTV. 2019 Jan 3. Accessed November 2019.
  2. CDC. Sleep and sleep disorders. 2017 May 2. Accessed November 2019.
  3. Hauck, Grace. USA Today Feeling sleep-deprived? Doctors and police officers are too, study says. Accessed November 2019.
  4. Paruthi Shalini MD. The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. First Responders and Increased Risk for Sleep Deprivation. Accessed November 2019.
  5. Knox, Richard. NPR. Many Police Officers Are Sleep Deprived, Risky For Them And Us. December 2011. Accessed November 2019.
  6. National Sleep Foundation. Do Soldiers Get Enough Sleep? Accessed November 2019.
  7. US National Library of Medicine. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and the quality of life. July 2016. Accessed November 2019.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.