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I only have brain power in the morning

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by CopperStripes, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. CopperStripes

    CopperStripes Member

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    I've discovered over the past few years by studying for hours and hours on end that I really only think well in the mornings. I can start studying as soon as I get out of bed and stay really sharp until mid-afternoon. At that time, though, my ability to focus, comprehend information, and solve problems starts to plummet.

    Are there any specialties that would cater to this type of rhythm? Doctor jobs in which I can do all my thinking in the morning?

    ...or am I going to fail as physician because I can't stay mentally alert for 36 consecutive hours?
     
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Everybody has peaks and valleys, but you are going to have to adjust. A patient is going to still need your full attention even if you see them in the late afternoon. I am aware of no specialty that is done by mid afternoon every day.

    Have you tried something caffeinated in the afternoon?
     
  4. yalla22

    yalla22 Senior Member

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    I am EXACTLY the same way!!! I am really mentally sharp in the morning but by afternoon, esp if i have had class, its really hard to hang in there (at the same time, my physical energy goes up at the end of the day).
    Copper stripes, if you are in med school, how do you arrange your sched around this? i'm thinking next year in med school i should plan on doing most of my studying in the early morning before class, but dont know how i should plan this....
     
  5. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    I focus better in the morning too.

    I get to school as soon as the library opens (730 am), then I study until class. After class, I go and study until I can't focus anymore. (Sometimes it's 2pm, sometimes it's 5 or 6 depending on how close it is until exams).

    When I'm at home, I study "light" stuff (I'm an M2, so I read board review stuff, or text books) or just space out/watch tv/bike ride. Sometimes all I need is a change in location, so moving from school to home works, then I'm refreshed for studying again in the morning.
     
  6. Tired Pigeon

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    I have the same issue. Two things have helped. First, I try to get a lot of my studying done EARLY (before classes). Some days I'm up around 5-ish and I can get in a few hours of very high quality study time; this gives me 'permission' to slack off a little more in the afternoon. Second, when I really need to be sharp in the afternoon, I try to watch what I eat. Something relatively light, with emphasis on protein rather than carbs, keeps me more alert. A heavy midday meal or something with a lot of carbs = tired as hell by late afternoon.
     
  7. mudphudwannabe

    mudphudwannabe Senior Member

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    I don't think you should worry too much about specialties that have a particular schedule at this point. I think functioning on little or disjointed sleep is probably kind of a learned behavior, so I wouldn't worry about it until you're in your clinical years. Also, I think sitting and studying is a lot different than being on your feet and talking to patients -- I think it's very easy to get distracted when you're studying, but it's a lot easier to stay sharp when you're a bit more active. There are definitely specialties that have more of a 9-5 schedule, but like I said, I wouldn't rule anything out at this point.
     
  8. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    You don't have to "stay alert for 36 hours" to be a good physician. You have to be able to do what the job requires. Much of medicine is applying your experience to the problems that your patients present. Even my worst night on call (I am a general surgery resident), did not require 36 hours of straight mental alertness. I don't have to be mentally alert to do most of my job because I have the experience of doing things over and over that they are pretty much second nature to me. It's kind of like brushing my teeth at this point. I know how to put the toothpaste on the brush and I know how to get the job done. If I encounter something that alters my plan, I take care of it but I don't have to put every ounce of my concentration into brushing my teeth. The same goes for performing an exploratory lap on a gunshot victim. I know what I need to do and I get it done, solving each problem as I encounter it. I can do this on my 30th hour and I can do this on my second hour because it is what I have been trained to do.

    When I first started residency, the adrenalin kept me alert. At this point, I don't need the adrenalin because I have the experience. You adjust and learn what you need. Just do your studying and reading in the morning when you are most alert for best retention but the rest of the job is doing the same things over and over. This has nothing to do with you being a good (or bad) physician.
     
  9. babycapybara

    babycapybara Junior Member

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    I'm the same way, and I've found the best thing to do is try to take a nap in the mid-afternoon. Just 20-30 minutes is enough to revive me. If I try to study when I'm out of it, I find myself staring at the same page for 2 hours...better to do something else with that time.
     
  10. akpete

    akpete Drinks, anyone?

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    I'm the opposite. My ideal sleeping time is 3am - 1pm. :)
     
  11. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna

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    What about anesthesiology?

    Okay, so they're probably not done that early every day...
     
  12. 78222

    78222 Guest

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    I am the opposite. I am sharp at night - dull has a hammer in the morning.
     
  13. shivasHeroLike

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    morning person - but only after 7 hours of sleep.
     
  14. naegleria brain

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    dont look too far ahead, it'll fall into place. there's enough going on in medicine that there really is something for everyone

    try to figure out how to get through now. my advice is the following:

    don't feel bad about being a day behind. make your weekends sunday and monday, and your week tuesday through friday. wake up very early on tuesday, and listen to the recordings your school probably makes of lectures. study lectures, and be done by 2 or 3pm. take a quick nap, and do the little other things that just have to get done. go to bed very early, and repeat. exam week you'll have to figure out a cramming night, but 1 night behind is definetely manageable at the very end.

    ive done this before and i have to say it worked wonders. problem is my rhythm always falls apart after an exam.
     
  15. dim66

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    For a long time, I used to have the same exact problem, and as someone else said, I would peak again in the early evening. I found that diet has a big effect.

    In my traditional schedule, I would have a large oatmeal breakfast at ~7AM, followed by a half-hour run, and lunch at around noon.

    Here’s what I do now: same breakfast and run, but I now eat LOTS of fruit between breakfast and lunch – primarily apples, as well as bananas and citrus fruits - and have a smaller lunch as a result, a little later. Its worked extremely well. No crash! The way that I reason it is that the sugar from the fruit kicks in right after lunch, which is when you need it most.
     
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  17. dim66

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    For a long time, I used to have the same exact problem, and as someone else said, I would peak again in the early evening. I found that diet has a big effect.

    In my traditional schedule, I would have a large oatmeal breakfast at ~7AM, followed by a half-hour run, and lunch at around noon.

    Here’s what I do now: same breakfast and run, but I now eat LOTS of fruit between breakfast and lunch – primarily apples, as well as bananas and citrus fruits - and have a smaller lunch as a result, a little later. Its worked extremely well. No crash! The way that I reason it is that the sugar from the fruit kicks in right after lunch, which is when you need it most.
     
  18. akpete

    akpete Drinks, anyone?

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    uh, if I ate a large breakfast, then ran for a 1/2 hour, there would be vomit all over the place.

    But I do agree on the small, spaced-out snacks and meals thing.
     
  19. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a

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    Answer: 20-minute power nap right after lunch. It can make a huge difference.

    Not hard to incorporate during the first two years, probably impossible during the rest of your training, maybe possible when you're done, depending on your chosen field and particular job setting.
     
  20. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    PM&R, dude. I know a resident who's usually done by 3-4 pm.
     
  21. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat

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    The bed and pillow have never been as perfect as they are when you have to get out of bed.
     

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