well rested? [55/365]

sleep_mcduff-minSleep is a beautiful thing, and I’m thankful, this morning, to be feeling well rested after a night of good quality sleep.

The other night, I watched a programme on our Canadian channel CBC, where they brought up something I’ve been wondering about for many years. Perhaps the discussion has been ongoing, and I’ve totally missed it because I don’t live in the ‘medical world’: Doctors and sleep. Quite often your hear — particularly when it comes to interns, they’ve been awake for 32 hours or even more! Working long hours in the ER, for example, where you often have big life-or-death-decisions to make … ?!

In the programme, they made tests … where they let them stay awake for a high number of hours, fastened EEG electrodes to their heads, and tested their reaction time on computers. This led me to think of a silly, little game I play sometimes on the computer; if I play it in the morning, after my first coffee, I get really good results. When I play it late at night, before going to bed, the results are lousy.

The same thing showed, while testing these doctors. The longer they’d been awake, the more terrible results. Their reactions were as if they were ‘legally drunk’.

Now, truck drivers have very firm restrictions for how long they can drive without sleeping. They, too, have life-or-death-decisions to make, so that’s all good. So, I wonder … how come that this about the doctors is still going on. It seems so obvious — if someone were to perform open-heart-surgery on ME, I certainly wish he or she was both sober and well rested.


27 Replies to “well rested? [55/365]”

  1. Sleep deprivation is a curious thing. I was sleep deprived a lot when I studied for my MA degree – that is, when I had daily classes – sometimes I stayed up overnight and the next day always felt so surreal. It was worse than being drunk. I always imagined doctors can take naps when on the clock for this long. I’m now not sure that I want to know.

    1. It sure is! My ex-sister-in-law stayed awake for 48 hours, and she started seeing things that nobody else could see.

      There’s a lot of talk about «power naps», but I’m not sure how much good they do, and … I’m not sure I want to know either 🙂

      1. Oh dear… I think I wasn’t hallucinating when sleep-deprived, but then I didn’t try to confirm with anyone that they see what I see. So maybe I just hallucinated through several exams and tests.

          1. Haha 😀 It’s true that quite often I performed better at exams for which I didn’t prepare well. On the contrary, I failed several exams for which I studied extremely hard. Stupid.

  2. And now in the UK the Government wants National Health Service doctors in hospitals to work longer hours and at the weekend….

    From my experience, naps are beneficial. They were part of the system at a study place I attended. We napped in the late afternoon and could work until 11pm without problem.

    About the effect of lack of sleep, I once got a lift from the French coast to Switzerland. The driver drove through the night and kept overtaking jerkily and waking me up. I would wake up, get my bearings, and hear bagpipe music. My brain was composing it from the traffic noises.

    I have wondered why bagpipe music in particular and it might be because the driver was Scottish and my brain associated one with the other.

    1. Oh, I do believe naps are beneficial … even just 20 minutes will do it, when you’re able to. Still, I think it seems weird, that medical doctors, of all professions, should have to do this.

      Interesting about the bagpipes! 🙂 My SIL saw drapes, made of plastic … like shower curtains, so she kept asking her family why they had hung them …

  3. I’ve often wondered why that is allowed – doctors working such long hours. It isn’t as if there aren’t enough doctors, but more likely because they don’t allow more doctors into some towns as the “Old Boys’ Club” has a quota.

    1. Back in my old hometown, we have that phenomenon … they’re like roosters, but I don’t think it’s like that in the big cities and hospitals …

      1. Your welcome. Some site owners keep them off intentionally to force actual comments.

        This Like thing has bugged me for a long time Rebekah, should I dare take the step to be different and turn them off!

        1. In the beginning, they bugged me to no end. Now I’ve learnt to live with them, as I can see the benefits of them. It’s that thing when I read something, that either is beyond me, or I have absolutely nothing to say … I can at least click Like, to show them I’ve been around.

          I think people have become so accustomed to them now, due to FB, so you’d probably just get a lot of questions instead … «Where is the like button??» 😀

        2. I turned mine off for a while and like Rebekah says: it resulted in a lot of questions about where the like button was…
          After a long while I decided to put the like button back on the blog and now I think it’s a good thing. I’ve actually discovered a few interesting blogs through it too: some blogs that I didn’t know from before has clicked like and then I’ve discovered their blog.
          Besides, I don’t have the time to write a comment on every blog post that I like and the same goes for the people that are visiting my blog. Sometimes you don’t have time to write a comment, other times you have nothing to say or add to the discussion…

          1. Thanks for your comment, Cardinal. That’s the one thing that seems to stop me from turning the button off. The button may reduce comment action but can have the opposite effect I suppose. I too have found it useful for viewing new sites.

          2. Morrn!
            Well said, CG … and the times I like something, but don’t feel I have anything to add … in those cases, if I were to force myself to write something, it doesn’t get all that heartfelt.

  4. Sleep deprivation isn’t good for ANYone and causes impairment – Legal Impairment – and that’s why truckers are required, by law, to only drive a certain amount of hours before being required to rest… As to whether they’re actually obeying the law, well that’s another story ):
    Doctors are only mere mortals, the same as the rest of us; and, in my opinion at least, a sense of “Superiority” is not a positive attribute in anyone either…
    About the “like” button? I will click like if I truly do like something – here or wherever; but, if I don’t actually like the idea, then I won’t. Same thing for comments… Sometimes I can get sidetracked, but I try to make a comment, on topic, and only if I have one. (I hope that doesn’t make me sound antisocial, or anything.)

    1. I think it’s just as important for physicians as it is for truckers to be both sober and well rested … so why is this still going on, one wonders.

      I don’t click LIKE if I don’t like it.

      Got the new feature in Facebook today, where you actually have a choice how to express your feelings. It would feel terrible to click LIKE when they announce that someone died, for example. Now, there will be a selection of ’emoticons’ … one with tears, for example, an angry one, a heart and a «wow!». They’re rolling it out gradually.

      1. Now THAT, I like; ). Thanks for the update, had heard nothing about it yet (but I’m totally over-run with other stuff right now anyway. ):
        Something I’m wondering (again) is how often have “Medical Mistakes” been caused by over-extended physicians?

        1. I discovered it by chance, this morning. When I hovered over the LIKE-word, they appeared before me 🙂

          The guys they talked with on the show, had all made mistakes, due to being tired — non-deadly. But they were only three guys …

          1. Loving the idea of imoji for FB “Likes”
            But, about the doctors?
            The thing that bugs me most about it, is that they seem to wear it like a badge of achievement or something…
            “I survived… Made it through”.
            And, the thing is, no matter how well you stand up to this kind of self-abuse when you’re young, it doesn’t mean you’ll be quite so robust in a decade or two…

  5. That show was really disturbing. Sleep deprivation is serious and each individual’s ability to handle it is different. There are measurable statistics available on accidents/death caused by sleep deprived drivers or pilots, but what are hospitals actually willing to admit and share related to preventable incidents because a doctor needed sleep? I’m afraid the answer is nothing 😦

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