Why police personnel needs to attend to their sleep and diet more than any of us?


The demands from police personnel have increased during these testing times of the pandemic. Not only do they have to continue maintaining peace and order in their zones, but also ensure people follow the regulations of lockdown and social distancing. They have to stop people from congregating at spots, discourage morning walkers moving in groups in the park, and stop people who are on the roads and ask them to go back home. This onslaught of extra work can not only make them prone to mental health issues arising from tiredness, stress and exhaustion, and the simultaneous fear of being exposed to the virus but also result in their neglecting their sleep and health issues. 


The public safety personnel also belong to the hardest hit essential workers category as they don’t get the leisure of being at home and taking care of their family from the comforts of their house. Just like any of us, they too are concerned for their loved ones, fear loss of income or pending scarcity in monthly incomes as family members are laid off from service jobs, and are trying to care for children who are scared and bored and suddenly home all the time.


Yet, public safety professionals are called to work. They continue reporting to their jobs just to ensure that rest of us can maintain a semblance at normal life during this health crisis. By doing so, they accept to put themselves at risk, night and day while responding to the needs of the citizens of this country. The increasing demands, restlessness, and disobedience by the public only adds on to the pressure of already exposed policemen and depletes their safety even further as they are required to work for longer hours. 


With these circumstances, it becomes essential for public safety personnel to be extra aware of their personal health care including physical wellbeing. Because monitoring and nurturing their mental and emotional health is the only way for them to stay strong. 


Here are some suggestions on how the policemen can take care of their sleep and diet in order to maintain a healthy mental, emotional, and physical balance. 


  1. Sleep pattern essentials: 

- With longer hours of work and commuting to different locations for patrolling it is understandable if you get less time to sleep. Due to the stressful work schedule, the possibility of disturbed sleep is very high. And hence, managing stress and anxiety is vital for getting enough sleep. Yoga and meditation can prove to be good tools for managing stress and inducing  better quality sleep. Take out ten minutes of the day either in the morning or after getting back from the job for the same. Yoga asanas such as Yoga Nidra and balasanas can be tried.


- Stretch when you can. Stretching your limbs even while sitting in the car during patrolling sessions might help relax the muscles. Simple neck exercises such as rotating the head clockwise and anti-clockwise is also known to take the strain off the shoulders resulting from stress and exhaustion. 


- When at home, try and get an undisturbed sleep. Keep the bedroom free of clutter, and unnecessary disturbance. Leave your gadgets outside the room. Avoid watching TV just before sleeping since the blue light from the screen can keep your brain alert for long hours.  


  1. Healthy or the right diet is crucial as well: 

- With the overwhelming stress and work, giving in to the temptation of some alcohol or smoking a cigarette might seem like a relief for some, but after a point these stimulants add to the stress hormones of the body rather than relaxing them. So, it is best to keep away. Instead have nourishing drinks such as milk, coconut water, dahi, lassi, chaach etc. 


- Try not to indulge too much in caffeine as it will stimulate you initially and then bring on an energy crash leaving you feeling drained and lethargic. 

- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods as these foods when combined with stress might mess up your digestion and lead to indigestion, nausea, heartburn, sugar-rush, high BP, and so on. Instead have simple, nourishing meals as required by your body. 


-Even when you go, try and maintain regular meal times. Too much gap between meals can lead to gas formation in the belly. If you can’t have a proper sit-down meal, eat easy to handle foods such as fruits and salads or drink a healthy beverage. Fruits such as grapes, oranges, and bananas are also excellent as snacks between meals.


-Ensure you have supplemental foods such as a few dry fruits to add to your health, besides your regular meals. These also can be carried in small containers and eaten when on the move. You may ask your doctor for additional supplements such as Vitamin B etc which are known to keep mood swings etc under control.


Worrying about personal, professional situations is primary but while doing so make sure that you or any of your safety personnel are focusing on self-care as well for lowering the tension – physical as well as emotional.