What's Wrong With 3 Hours of Sleep?

Sheila M. Bigelow, DO

Disclosures

December 18, 2013

Make Sleep a Priority

Now I understand that it's not easy to get a good night's rest in medical school. There are many different forces pulling you in all sorts of directions. The first step is making sleep a priority. Don't just fit it in where you can; make a deliberate decision to get a healthy amount of sleep each night. Try treating your body the way it deserves to be treated. Eating healthy and exercising will also make you feel better overall and go hand-in-hand with a good sleep routine. Perhaps the nights staying up to 3:00 AM hanging out with your friends and eating greasy pizza can continue, but on a limited basis, and planned ahead.

This is the time to learn how to say, "no." Residency applications are going to be here before you know it, so adding more research, volunteer, or tutoring time may be tempting, but do not do everything you are asked to do just because you are asked. Take time to think about which projects best represent your interests. Doing a few things really well instead of doing a bunch of things at a bare minimum level is often the better decision. It can be hard, but when it comes to friends and family, the word "no" can also apply. Of course it is important to make time for your loved ones, but maybe it is not necessary to go to every karaoke event with your friends, especially the night before your big exam when you should really be getting a good night of sleep.

Medical school is hard -- really hard -- but it is important to not lose your best interests in the process. Medical school is like a huge puzzle, and you have to figure out how to fit all of those pieces together while keeping yourself intact. Sleep is a huge piece of this puzzle and should not get shorted.

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