Sleep Disorders and the Modesto Fire Department

Sleeping properly and firefighting are not in sync with each other. Recent studies have shown how important a good night’s sleep is to a firefighter’s overall health. The problem with that last sentence is that there are many times that firefighters may not have proper sleep patterns and having them may be next to impossible because of shifts and calls. 

These interrupted sleep patterns can lead to the following dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions and diseases: 

  1.  Impaired judgment
  2.  Always feeling tired
  3. Uncontrollable anger
  4. Depression
  5. Anxiety
  6. Hypertension/High blood pressure 
  7. Cardiovascular disease
  8. Diabetes
  9. Early-onset dementia 

The added general stress of the job makes it highly likely, and clinical studies show that firefighters suffer from sleep disorders at a far greater percentage than the general population. 

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Signs of Sleep Disorders in Firefighters

Answer these questions: 
  •  Do you snore when napping or sleeping?
  • Are you sleepy and irritable during your awake time?
  • Have you been told that you stop breathing for short periods of time while you are asleep? 
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then you may be suffering from a serious sleep disorder.  Sleep Apnea is also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and firefighters suffer from this disorder almost twice as much as the general population.  

You may have heard about OSA as nearly 52 million people in the US suffer from it. The reason you stop breathing is that your upper airway closes off during your sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are at a much greater risk for accidents, incurring sick days, and significant health issues that progressively get worse. 

 Diagnosing and Common Treatment for Sleep Apnea

The best way for your doctor to determine if have sleep apnea is to prescribe a Home Sleep Test.  This test measures how many times sleep events you have overnight such as the number of times you stop breathing while you are sleeping. This test will give your doctor the information needed to prescribe the best treatment for this deadly disorder.  

Most doctors will prescribe a CPAP machine. These effective devices have been around for years, and they force air into your lungs while you are sleeping. They will help you breathe while you sleep but you will have to sleep with one for the rest of your life. They are not comfortable, don’t travel well, need to be cleaned constantly and because of the inconvenience of the device may cause you to stop using it.