A Healio news report examines the importance of sleep, rest, and optimal health for physicians and healthcare professionals.
Physicians lead busy and often stressful lives. A large national survey indicated more than 45% are experiencing one or more symptoms of burnout, and internal medicine subspecialists rank modestly lower than average, with more than 40% reporting one or more symptoms of burnout.
Taking time for self-care basics when busy and stressed is analogous to inflating your tires when leaving late on a long commute by bicycle — it takes time from seemingly zero margins but in the end pays off. Adequate sleep improves cognitive and psychomotor performance, elevates mood and increases the likelihood of engaging in other positive health behaviors, such as aerobic exercise. Sleep may be even more important for physicians in training, during a time when inadequate sleep may detract from learning and patient safety. Physicians are susceptible to sleep problems caused by shift work and by anxiety-related and primary insomnia or may simply not allocate sufficient time for sleep due to work demands or devaluation of sleep.