Association of sleep and inflammation in law enforcement
The law enforcement profession has been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), but the mechanisms are unclear. Previous research suggests a mechanism other than traditional CVD risk factors may be an underlying cause. Sleep health has been reported as an issue among LEO. Poor sleep health has been associated with increased CVD risk. Sleep disorders have been shown to increase biomarkers of inflammation. CVD is increasingly being recognized as an inflammatory disease. We sought to further investigate this issue by evaluating the sleep health, CVD risk, mental health, and inflammatory biomarkers of 133 LEO in the Iowa Department of Public Safety to determine if inflammation and sleep play a role in the occupational CVD risk in LEO.
Officers were divided into three groups based on their sleep health (GOOD, BRDL, POOR). POOR reported significantly higher shiftwork disorder (P <0.05) than GOOD or BRDL. POOR also had significantly higher depression (Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression Scale), life stress (Perceived Stress Scale), and occupational stress scores (Operational and Organizational Police Stress Questionnaires ) (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found in inflammatory biomarkers or traditional CVD risk factors between GOOD, BRDL, or POOR. In conclusion, sleep disorders may contribute to unfavorable mental health disorders and predispose LEO to negative long-term health consequences including depression and neurodegenerative diseases.