Should public safety shift workers be allowed to nap while on duty?

Source: P. Daniel Patterson, Matthew D. Weaver, Francis X. Guyette, Christian Martin‐Gill, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 63, No. 10, October 2020
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From the abstract:
Fatigue and sleep deficiency among public safety personnel are threats to wellness, public and personal safety, and workforce retention. Napping strategies may reduce work‐related fatigue, improve safety and health, yet in some public safety organizations it is discouraged or prohibited. Our aim with this commentary is to define intra‐shift napping, summarize arguments for and against it, and to outline potential applications of this important fatigue mitigation strategy supported by evidence. We focus our discussion on emergency medical services (EMS); a key component of the public safety system, which is comprised of police, fire, and EMS. The personnel who work in EMS stand to benefit from intra‐shift napping due to frequent use of extended duration shifts, a high prevalence of personnel working multiple jobs, and evidence showing that greater than half of EMS personnel report severe fatigue, poor sleep quality, inadequate inter‐shift recovery, and excessive daytime sleepiness. The benefits of intra‐shift napping include decreased sleepiness and fatigue, improved recovery between shifts, decreased anxiety, and reduced feelings of burnout. Intra‐shift napping also mitigates alterations in clinician blood pressure associated with disturbed sleep and shift work. The negative consequences of napping include negative public perception, acute performance deficits stemming from sleep inertia, and the potential costs associated with reduced performance. While there are valid arguments against intra‐shift napping, we believe that the available scientific evidence favors it as a key component of fatigue mitigation and workplace wellness. We further believe that these arguments extend beyond EMS to all sectors of public safety.