Sleep disorders are highly disruptive and can have serious implications on an individual’s health, wellbeing, and functioning. In the criminal legal system, sleep disorders are a complex issue that needs to be addressed in order to ensure the safety of both prisoners and guards. The treatment of sleep disorders in the criminal legal system depends on the nature and severity of each case; however, there are some general strategies for addressing them.
The first step towards treating a sleep disorder is diagnosis. The lack of restful or normal sleeping patterns or behaviors need to be identified by medical professionals in order to properly treat it (Lang et al., 2018). This may involve evaluating any underlying conditions such as narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which could be causing difficulty sleeping. It is also important for medical professionals to assess if medications such as opioids or benzodiazepines are contributing to the patient’s poor sleeping habits (Lang et al., 2018). Once these issues have been identified, doctors can begin working with patients on possible treatments that will help improve their ability to get good quality restful sleep.
How are the sleep disorders currently treated in the criminal legal system?
One strategy used when treating a prisoner with a sleep disorder is environmental modification therapy (EMT) (Matheson & Grandner, 2019). This involves changing factors within an individual’s environment that affect their ability to get enough restful sleep at night. For example, this might include making sure the room has no distractions like TV screens or bright lights; providing comfortable bedding; controlling noise levels through soundproofing techniques; and regulating temperature of both the room and bedding materials so they remain comfortable during different times of day/night (Matheson & Grandner, 2019). All these things create an environment that is conducive for sleeping which reduces disturbances during slumber time leading to more refreshing restorative sleeps at night.
Medication-assisted therapies are also widely used when trying to treat prisoners struggling with various types of insomnia as well other common comorbidities associated with OSA such as depression and anxiety (Mueller et al., 2016). Various prescription drugs like zolpidem tartrate may be prescribed in order decrease arousal levels while improving both falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer at night resulting in fresher days filled with more alertness throughout activities requiring concentration tasks such as reading comprehension tests due upon waking up from restful nights spent dozing off under cooler temperatures within long hours per night intervals set aside for necessary deep rem cycles needed during cell stays (Mueller et al., 2016).