Police Federation

Individual Responsibility

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Actions you can take to help combat Fatigue

The Equality Act states that employers can be expected to make reasonable adjustments to support all employees in the workplace, so do not be afraid to suggest adjustments that you feel may support you in your work.

It may help to keep a fatigue diary, not least should you seek medical advice when this can be discussed with your doctor.

If seeking medical advice, you may want to have some questions such as these:

  • What could be causing my fatigue?
  • What treatments may help me?
  • How can I cope with my fatigue?
  • What help is available?
  • How can I best support my relative who has fatigue?
  • What can I do to help reduce my fatigue?


Lifestyle changes



It may be easiest to eat ready-made meals, or even snack as you go, especially when on shifts, but a good diet can really help combat fatigue; well-balanced, healthy meals, not overeating and eating at the appropriate times can all contribute to a healthier lifestyle and lessen the risk of fatigue.

Stay hydrated.

Regular exercise – this can help in the long-term and will improve mental wellbeing at the same time.

It may help if you keep a diary of what you eat and when.

Avoid stimulants close to bedtime – it’s best to cut out caffeine/chocolate at least 3 hours before bed.

Limit alcohol. It may help you fall asleep in the short term, but alcohol tends to lead to broken sleep and early waking.

Useful Assets



Establish a sleep routine – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Too much sleep will not help, and napping can, if napping for too long, lessen the length and quality of sleep.

If you need to change a sleep pattern, this should happen gradually.

Seek advice on breathing exercises to help regulate sleep patterns.

Reduce noise - occasional loud noises disturb sleep, even if you don’t remember the disturbance in the morning.

Don’t oversleep – sleep for just the right length of time.

If you are having trouble sleeping, recognising this rather than lying in bed tossing and turning and feeding any feelings of frustration. Get up and read or move to another room and watch tv or write down some of the thoughts that may be keeping you up.

Mental exercises can also help you to sleep. These usually take about 10 minutes and include:

  • trying to remember the lines of a song or poem
  • making alphabetical lists of girls’ or boys’ names, countries, trees or flowers
  • reliving a favourite experience in every detail
  • writing a letter in your head
  • relaxation exercises



Fatigue and stress present similar issues and both can help be countered by trying simple relaxation techniques in your down time.

There are two types of relaxation exercise to try:

  • physical, which works on your body
  • mental, to relax your mind

For these types of exercise, it is important that you find a quiet, warm, dimly lit, relaxing place where you will not be disturbed, then lie or sit in a well-supported position.

You will get the maximum benefit from these techniques if you practice them for 5 to 15 minutes each day; just experiment until you find the best exercise for you.

  • body awareness – concentrating on different parts of your body
  • tensing and relaxing each part of your body in turn
  • breathing exercises
  • imagery exercises
  • relaxation tapes (music or natural sounds such as bird song or rippling streams)


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