First ask yourself some questions…
Definition: The term “Trouble sleeping or Insomnia” is used here to cover a wide range of issues around sleeping. There is a distinction between trouble sleeping and insomnia. Trouble sleeping can happen during times of stress or life disruption as your mind may be “busy” trying to digest the information of the day. An ongoing issue with sleep that is becoming disruptive to other parts of your life (i.e. work, relationships, etc.) is when insomnia may be the cause. With the disruptive nature of shift work, the mind and body may have trouble relaxing or your circadian rhythms may have become off balance.
This tab can be used to help you identify if you may have an issue that could be addressed.
Other Issues to Consider:
In a 2011 study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), out of 4,957 Police Officers in the U.S and Canada, 40% reported symptoms of a sleep disorder, including sleep apnea and insomnia. Sleep apnea was the most common and affected a third of the officers. Examples of other diagnoses included moderate or severe insomnia, as well as shift work disorder. Officers diagnosed with a sleep disorder were more likely to report depression, emotional exhaustion/burnout, and anxiety.
Although these may be hard to completely follow especially while working, they are worth consideration.
Thought Goal: I’m having trouble sleeping because I think (insert problematic thought here).
I can stop or lessen my issues with sleep by thinking:
Feeling Goal: I’m having trouble sleeping because I feel (insert problematic feeling here).
I can stop or lessen my issues with sleep by feeling:
Behavior Goal: I’m having trouble sleeping because my behavior (insert problematic behavior here).
I can stop or lessen my issues with sleep by:
These goals are only examples; use them as a guide, not an absolute. You know if there is a problem, let now be the time to fix it.
Reaching out for help is never a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength. It may be intimidating, annoying, or frustrating to think about what to do and how to approach overcoming this, but it can be done. You do not have to do it alone. If you cannot reach or maintain all of these goals on your own, contact a peer supporter, medical provider and/or a psychology professional.
Rajaratnam SM, Barger LK, Lockley SW, Shea SA, Wang W, Landrigan CP, O’Brien CS, Qadri S, Sullivan JP, Cade BE, Epstein LJ, White DP, Czeisler CA; Harvard Work Hours, Health and Safety Group. Sleep disorders, health, and safety in police officers. JAMA. 2011 Dec 21;306(23):2567-78. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.1851. PMID: 22187276.