Who needs sleep

All that fuss over interns and residents working too many hours without sleep. It’s not an 80 hour work week they need…it’s caffeine!!
Little Sleep Impairs Mind as Much as No Sleep
Fri Mar 14, 6:30 PM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Dana Frisch
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many nights of little sleep–fewer than six hours a night–can impair mental performance as much as not getting a wink for two nights in a row, new research shows.
The data contradict a popular notion that our bodies can become accustomed to functioning on sustained periods of little sleep without any consequences, said lead author Dr. Hans P.A. Van Dongen, a research assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
The 48 participants in the study were divided into four groups that slept either four, six or eight hours a night for two weeks, or had no sleep for three days. The groups were monitored in a laboratory throughout the two weeks to ensure that they did not nod off or use caffeine. They were assessed on a battery of mental and physiological tests periodically every day and were also asked to evaluate how tired they felt.
People sleeping less than eight hours a night were slower to react, less able to think clearly and perform simple memory tasks, the researchers report in the March issue of the journal Sleep. They also performed as poorly on certain tasks as the individuals evaluated after one or two nights of sleeplessness.
However, getting some sleep made individuals feel less tired than those who went without sleep despite test results that showed they were just as impaired.
As a consequence, Van Dongen told Reuters Health, there should be countermeasures in place for people who cannot avoid being chronically sleep-deprived, such as military personnel, trainee doctors, shift workers and others.
Van Dongen recommends that these professions limit the number of hours people are allowed to work, give people the opportunity to nap at “strategic times” or allow them to use caffeine or other chemical stimulants to maintain alertness.
This study is important and “relevant” because it shows what happens when the body alone must deal with its tiredness in the absence of chemical stimulants like caffeine or other distractions, said Dr. Meir Kryger, a professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and a sleep researcher.
Data from the National Sleep Foundation show that Americans sleep an average seven hours a night during the week, although 31 percent of all adults regularly get less sleep.
The study also found that that there were large individual differences in how much people needed to sleep.
Kryger said in an interview that everybody needs a different amount of sleep. Getting sufficient amounts of shut-eye is a “life-style decision,” he said. “It is one of the important functions of life and you need to control it.”

Hi there,
I am glad that this article made mention of individual variances. I have never slept more than 4 hours per night even as a young child. I can vividly remember reading by flashlight under the cover after being hauled off to bed by Mum. Later she said that she knew I was reading and didn’t mind as long as I didn’t turn on the lights. wink.gif
I know that even with the 80-hour work week, some of my colleagues have been zombies whereas I thrived working 140 hours. The amount of sleep needed is pretty variable. I never thought that I would be able to study and get by on 2 to 3 hours of sleep per night during medical school but I adjusted. I have learned how to study and work when tired.
There are some things that we all do to get a second-wind. First, a little aerobic exercise on our outdoor fifth floor patio here at the hospital. Second is to wear support hose in the OR. Third is to wear good clogs for standing and supportive but cushioned shoes for walking. (High heels are not for female surgeons) Fourth, keep hydrated because during a long case, you end up sweating under the hot lights and under the gowns and gloves. Fifth, take a couple of Tylenol and get your feet up (while you dictate the operative report) as soon as you finish the case. Fifth, hit the “loo” before you go into the case.
Here at UVA, we have a soft drink fountain in the OR Lounge that dispenses water, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew (favorite of medical students everywhere) and lemon-aid. After a long case, you can head into the lounge and get a cold drink at no charge. There is also a coffee machine too but coffee tends to be dehydrating. On every floor, we have free soft drinks, coffee and tea for the physicians in our work areas.
The Department of Surgery puts $300 per month on our meal cards so you can eat every meal here for free. Our meal cards work in the gourmet coffee kisok too rolleyes.gif . We have graham crackers and other snacks available with our soft drinks and coffee. The worse thing about being here is that the free food that we get is pretty high in fat. There are endless cheeseburgers and fries most of the day at nominal cost on the mealcard. For breakfast, the biscuits and gravy are the mainstay. Most of the fruit and yogurt goes very quickly if you don’t get into the cafe early.
The only exercise that I get on a regular basis is running the steps between floors. This hospital is pretty spread-out so there are plenty of distance walking between the clinics in the West Complex and the Main Hospital. The housestaff gym is in the West Complex and too far from the main hospital to use while on call.
So at UVA, we don’t need anymore sleep, we need lowfat food and a gym (complete with hot tub) closer to the Main Hospital. Other than that, this place is heaven.

I understand that you dont need the extra sleep, but we dont base regulations on what an abnormal person needs, we base them on what a typical person needs to function properly.
Otherwise, we would allow pilots to work 70 hours straight because there's one pilot in Missouri who says he doesnt need sleep to function

QUOTE (MD/PhD slave @ Mar 17 2003, 02:50 AM)
I understand that you dont need the extra sleep, but we dont base regulations on what an abnormal person needs, we base them on what a typical person needs to function properly.
Otherwise, we would allow pilots to work 70 hours straight because there's one pilot in Missouri who says he doesnt need sleep to function

who says he doesn't need sleep to function.
The key phrase here. I doubt studies would bear him/her out.

Wow Nat…you really are a super woman!!
I feel like crap if get less than 7-8 hours of sleep. And with work, school, and a little girl that wakes up every morning at 7:00am, I pretty much feel like crap all of the time. blink.gif

Your my hero Nat!
I have always dreamed of living on 4 or 5 hours of sleep, and have even thought about how to start - something along the lines of getting up 15 minutes early and going to bed 15 minute later each night for a week, then add another 15 minutes the following week. Any suggestions?
I get sick with too much sleep, too much being 8 hours or more. 6 or7 is good for me, while 8 I'm playing with fire, and 9 I can bet on having a mild headache that will not go away, and 10, a bad migraine that makes me useles for the rest of the day. Sometimes I'll get the migraine on 8 or 9. It seems odd to wake up sick from a sound sleep - one would think that a restful night of sleep would be good for you. I never get sick on 6 or 7 hours. Weird, but at least I don't spend all day in bed!