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Physicians report they need more sleep
Date:3/3/2008

In a new survey, physicians report they are not getting the sleep they need to function at their best and current work schedules may contribute to their inadequate sleep. The survey, issued by the American College of Chest Physicians Sleep Institute (ACCP-SI), found that most physicians sleep fewer hours than needed for peak performance and nearly half of physicians believe their work schedules do not allow for adequate sleep. Results further indicated that, when compared to the general population, physicians reported more caffeine use but better overall health.

Call hours during training and in the practice of medicine desensitize physicians to the importance of sleep. The pervasive message is that sleep is optional or dispensable, said Barbara Phillips, MD, FCCP, Chair of the ACCP Sleep Institute. Self sacrifice also may be seen as part of the lifestyle. This may impact physicians awareness of their own, and their patients', sleep deprivation lifestyles.

PHYSICIAN SLEEP HABITS

In a randomized, internet-based questionnaire, the ACCP-SI surveyed 5,000 US physician members about current sleep habits and how sleep affected work and day-to-day performance. Of the 581 respondents, 70 percent reported needing at least 7 hours of sleep to function at their best during the day, yet physicians reported sleeping an average of 6.5 hours on a workday. Physicians reported making up for lost sleep on the weekends or days off by sleeping an average of 7.5 hours a night. Furthermore, 43.1 percent of physicians indicated their current work schedule did not allow for adequate sleep. Physicians rarely reported insomnia or difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. However, 21.8 percent reported not feeling refreshed upon waking at least a few nights a week.

The upside of chronic self-imposed sleep deprivation is that it essentially eliminates insomnia complaints, said Dr. Phillips. Although adequate sleep is important, too much time in be
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Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
jstawarz@chestnet.org
847-498-8306
American College of Chest Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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