How to Manage Officer Fatigue and Improve Sleep: Experiment Results

How to Manage Officer Fatigue and Improve Sleep: Experiment Results
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-03-26
Unit 1Presentation Materials: How to Manage Officer Fatigue and Improve Sleep: Experiment Results
Unit 2Transcript: How to Manage Officer Fatigue and Improve Sleep: Experiment Results
Unit 3Workbook: How to Manage Officer Fatigue and Improve Sleep: Experiment Results
Unit 4Recording: How to Manage Officer Fatigue and Improve Sleep: Experiment Results

Success in the public safety profession is measured based on the ability to provide services that meet the community’s needs. The ability to do this is dependent on the people on staff and their work capacity – and central to this is the health, wellness, and resiliency of the workforce. This webinar explores the one element that can improve agency outcomes and individual staff wellness – sleep.

Back on the Justice Clearinghouse is sleep science expert, Lois James. She is an associate professor at the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing and Sleep and Performance Research Center, where she focuses on bias, stress, sleep, and performance in high-stress populations such as police officers, military personnel, nurses, and top-tier athletes.

Specifics of the webinar covered:

  • How studies conducted on the impact of fatigue management training across the US, Canada, and the UK reveal promising outcomes for improving sleep and reducing work-related fatigue.
  • Understanding the importance of fatigue management as it relates to its potential to balance service provision with community needs, enhance worker capacity, and reduce sick leave and injury through improved health, wellness, and resilience.
  • The concept of circadian rhythm which dictates human activity levels during daytime and nighttime.
  • How poor staff health, wellness, and resiliency create a vicious cycle of reduced staffing capacity and how to turn this around into a virtuous cycle.
  • The research design
    • The almost three-year randomized control trial methodology that allowed to compare the effect of the intervention – i.e., the fatigue management training.
    • The study sampling and its breakdown based on basic demographic segments, as well as job type, military experience, shift, and tenure.
    • The different tools used to ensure objective data collection.
    • The hypotheses that the study aims to prove.
  • The intervention implemented
    • The duration that the fatigue management training was conducted.
    • The modules and the specific topics under which that were covered as part of the training.
    • Take-home exercises that the treatment group was made to do to improve their sleep hygiene.
  • Pre-intervention numbers that provided a baseline to compare with after the training was conducted.
  • Post-intervention results that revealed:
    • How the treatment group, particularly those working the dayshift had increased sleep hours versus the control group.
    • How depression, measured through the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores, dropped for treatment participants.
    • Reduction of anxiety rates for those who have undergone the fatigue management training, putting them into the minimal anxiety category.
    • Significant decrease in PCL-5 scores for the treatment group, putting them below the clinical cutoff for PTSD.
  • Conclusions and recommendations based on the study results that highlight…
    • The positive effect of fatigue management training on staff health, safety, and well-being based on objective scientifically valid measurement.
    • How improvements in sleep time reduced depression, anxiety, PTSD, and work-related safety risks for the participants.
    • How the pandemic and civil unrest of 2020 impacted the research results in terms of the participant attrition and generalizability of the intervention.
    • The need for a wider sampling to explore the benefits of adopting fatigue management training across different agency sizes and needs.

Points raised during the Q&A are about:

  • Transitioning across and managing shifts while maintaining work-life balance.
  • Implementing the training for other agencies.
  • Incorporating napping policies in the law enforcement profession.
  • Organizational data captured for the study.
  • How the climate of 2020 – with the riots and the pandemic – and Seattle PD’s work environment impacted the research results.
  • How insufficient sleep can impact community interactions, officer decision-making, use of force, and de-escalation.
  • Study limitations on the sleep difference across populations and shift lengths.
  • When sleep education should start in law enforcement.
  • Fibromyalgia and sleep issues in officers.
  • Feeling tired upon waking up and optimal wake-up times.



Click here to view and register for other upcoming ASEBP webinars on the JCH Platform.



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “The information presented was fascinating.”
  • “I am grateful to know that people are looking at all of these things.”
  • “Very interesting results on the sleep study.”
  • “Great knowledge of topic.”
  • “Thanks for the information. This is a topic that needs to be looked at seriously by administration in agencies. LE is a 24-hour operation and sleep deprivation is on topic that is overlooked.”
  • “This webinar gave very good information about how public service personnel can help themselves and stay healthier.”
  • “Lois James is very knowledgeable on this subject. The training was interesting and informative.”
  • “Great training. Learned the importance of a good night’s sleep can effect my work performance.”




The American Society of EvidenceBased Policing is a non-profit organization started by working police officers designed to drive the national conversation towards ensuring that the least harmful, most effective, fairest, and safest strategies are employed to prevent crime, reduce harm, and improve community wellness.




Additional Resources
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