Sleep deprivation has measurable negative effects which can compromise your safety, job performance, interpersonal relationships, and physical/ mental health.
Consider alternative forms of organizing work schedules. Extended workdays of 10 or 12 hours have the advantage of fewer consecutive night shifts and longer blocks of time off.
Don't start a shift before 0600 hours Early morning shifts are associated with shorter sleep and greater fatigue. The body is at its lowest peak just before sunrise.
Consider the direction of the rotation of shifts. Rotate shifts forward from day to afternoon to night, because circadian rhythms adjust better when moving ahead than backwards.
Be as flexible as possible. Individual differences and preferences, in the end, play the most important role.
Provide a shift worker-friendly environment.
Provide radios in patrol cars; music, talk shows and news can keep an officer more alert.
Give attention to the work environment. Good lighting (more than 2000 lux), and ventilation at the station are important on all shifts.
Keep workstations close to each other, so that night workers can remain in contact with one another. Encourage meets during down times.
Provide healthy break room food so workers do not have to rely on the local fast food after hours.
Consider offering facilities for exercise and social activities.
Consider access to quality day care for shift workers' children.
Supervisors need to be proactive
Increase contact with night shift officers by supervisors, especially between 0330 and 0530 when performance levels are at their lowest.
Devise overtime limits. Overtime and shift work are the primary causes of fatigue for police officers. There is a direct link between the amount of overtime worked and the number of complaints filed against a police officer.
Work with the court system to device better-suited court schedules for night shift officers.
Videotape any mandatory meetings to be viewed on regular shifts for night officers.
Offer trainings for officers related to the potential health and safety effects of shift work. Educate them on and what can be done to prevent these effects.