Recently, I have been fascinated with the subject of sleep, specifically the positive and negative health benefits of sleep.
The research is overwhelmingly in favor of getting more sleep than not. According to the National Sleep Foundation adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night (1). The good news: I am finally on board with this idea! I have dropped my old machismo ideations that I can force my way through fatigue. I know longer view exhaustion as an admirable, but rather an indication that my health is being compromised. The bad news: This is unfortunate and ironic timing considering I had my first child 6 days ago...! Regardless, I am finally prioritizing sleep.
On my journey of learning about sleep, I ran across a fascinating story about medical residencies and sleep deprivation.
More and more physical therapists are attending demanding residency programs! The physical therapy residency training model appears to be largely based off our close friend in the community: medical residents.
In 2013, I graduated from the Harris Health System Orthopedic Residency program in Houston, Texas. Our program was tough, but our director, Dana Tew, did an excellent job mentoring my fellow residents and I on all aspects of life. We worked extremely hard at the clinic, but there was at least the opportunity of a work-life balance. Dana, who is also owner of the OPTIM Manual Therapy Fellowship, understood that our success and efficiency in the clinic directly correlated with our ability to sleep and manage stress outside the clinic.
As I was going through my residency, my older brother, Tom was completing his general surgery residency. I recall him spending 30+ hours at the hospital on a regular basis. These long hospital shifts often had little (if any) sleep! Hearing this information, I thought to myself, "I would certainly rather have a surgeon at the beginning of a 30+ hour shift than the end. It has to be unsafe to perform a fine motor task that requires mental acuity after intense sleep deprivation."
Who instituted these unattainable demands of high work and low sleep for people who need to in prime mental health to help others? The story is a quite interesting one!
I would regularly ask myself, "Who instituted these unattainable demands of high work and low sleep for people who need to in prime mental health?"
1. National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary Hirshkowitz, Max et al. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation , Volume 1 , Issue 1 , 40 - 43