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Sleep for med students

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by BlueElmo, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. BlueElmo

    10+ Year Member

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    For medical school students, how much sleep do you guys get a night? How about before exam time? I keep hearing about medical school students who are always sleep-deprived, I don't know if that's true or not.
     
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  3. muireinin

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    6-10. 6-7 when i am behind on lectures and 8-10 the rest of the time. especially during exam weeks. but i'm an M1 and i make it a high priority. :)
     
  4. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
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    I make sleep a priority so I get at least 7 hours a night, no matter what. I'm not allnighter, sleep in the library kind of person.

    I try to study throughout the block so I'm not super stressed at the end.
     
  5. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I'm with Jolie. 7 hours is my minimum, and I try to get 8.5-9. Before tests, I get about 6, but that's generally because my brain is in permanent "on" mode and sleep doesn't come easily.
     
  6. Rutgers06

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    7-8 hrs a night....I need my sleep. As long as you set some time to review/preview everyday and don't fall behind, sleep doesn't become an issue, even during exam weeks. From what I've observed, the people who are sleep deprived during the first 2 yrs are people who fall behind or don't start studying until pretty late at night. The key is just time management and figuring out what study method is most efficient for you.
     
  7. Captain Fantastic

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    You don't have to study all hours of the day AND night to do well in medical school. Manage your time well and you'll wake up to plenty of well-rested mornings. It's not an issue.

    Clinical years can find sleep a little less predictable since you're assigned to a team, take call with the team, admit patients with the team, etc.
     
  8. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member
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    M1 and M2 the only reason people are sleep deprived is either 1) poor time management 2) consciously trading sleep for more "fun time."

    M3 your time is not your own, some rotations are cush, others not so much (14 hour night float on OB/Gyn L&D floor pretty much sucked).
     
  9. agranulocytosis

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    As a 3rd year I consistenly get around 5-6 hrs of sleep per night, with 8-10 on weeknights. I love weeknights.
     
  10. Blesbok

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    If you aren't getting at least 8 during your first two years, it is your own fault.

    If you aren't getting at least 7 during most rotations of your third year, it is your own fault.


    It is easy to get enough sleep throughout all of med school; however, if you are on a tougher rotation it may mean that you have to go to bed at 8-9 at night if you really need that 8 hours of sleep.
     
  11. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    I agree with this. The only rotation I didn't regularly get 7 hours of sleep was surgery and that's because I would have had to fall asleep by 9:15. I usually got close, though.
     
  12. TexasPhysician

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    7-8 hours MI-MIII so far, unless I'm on-call. Then, who knows.
     
  13. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    The real questions are:

    1. How many of you are AOA (or at least top 20%) and how many hours of study per day does it take for you?
    2. How many days per week do you study?
    3. And only then, how many hours a night do you sleep on average.
    From what I have heard, it much harder to be a top student in med school than just cruise along with a P.
     
  14. Haro4130Frame

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    If all you want is to pass, you can easily not do much throughout your day. i study the week before the test and still pass. Its all about knowing what to study and what is prolly not gonna be tested. I sleep quit alot. Naps during the day, staying up late playing games with friends and such. God I love one class at a time...
     
  15. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    Thanks for sharing that. It seems that there are some exceptions where students actually have a hard time even passing, but that's probably uncommon.

    Any AOA med students here who can shed some light on their study schedule and habits?
     
  16. Vonsmack

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    We only get tested once every 2 months so for the first 6 wks of the block I sleep great. I study throughout the block, but those last 2 wks get pretty crazy trying to review all that material (esp. 2nd yr). I end up staying up later and getting 5-6 hrs a night. Stress is a big factor and it is harder to fall asleep once I'm in bed- cold medicine helps.
     
  17. confuse

    confuse Senior Member
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    Wow, you guys are so lucky. We have a test every week, sometimes 2 tests in the same week. In this last 2 weeks before winter break, we have 6 exams so I'm not getting much sleep now. :scared: I average 7 hrs of sleep during the week and around 4-5 hrs on the weekends because our exams usually fall on Monday.
     
  18. smq123

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    You can get a lot of sleep during MS1 and MS2, but you need to plan ahead. Choosing your school with this in mind can also help.

    Schools with no-to-minimal attendance requirements make it easy for you to skip class, and study on YOUR schedule. Schools that record lectures (either video, streaming audio, or mp3) will also help you get a lot of sleep. Finally, schools with block scheduling (i.e. you only take 1-2 classes at a time) are really nice, because that means that you only have one exam every 3-4 weeks....as opposed to 2 tests a week or something crazy like that.

    4th year is a crapshoot. If you are not doing something competitive, then you could probably get a lot of sleep on most of your rotations. If you're doing something competitive, then the first few months of 4th year are going to be a different story.

    After the match, of course, almost anything goes.
     
  19. NJDIF

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    :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    its all about time management. if you want to rank highly, you can still sleep well, and get everything done if you manage your time well.

    you realize how important sleep is, and how to gauge your own work. the biggest thing i learned in med school is to tell the difference between quality studying and bull**** studying. The latter will occur when it is late at night, im tired, and im reading my book for the sake of my conscience, but i know the info will not stick.

    sleep is the most important thing you can do for generating those quality, high yield study sessions. if you arent getting quality (not quantity) studying, you may as well be doing something constructive like relaxing or catching those extra hours of sleep. it will help you more in the long run.
     
  20. njbmd

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    Before medical school, I averaged 4-5 hours of sleep per 24 hours. While in medical school pre-clinical, that didn't change very much (I don't sleep more than 5 hours ever). During those clinical rotations that required overnight call, I could usually get naps in 2 to 3 hours stretches (even on Trauma Surgery). As an attending, I am averaging about 4 hours per night. I get most of my journal reading done during the night.

    In terms of Alpha Omega Alpha - AOA, it's isn't the number of hours that you study but your study efficiency. My study hours didn't alter during exam weeks because I kept up. I never attended a class that I wasn't prepared for. I did most of my study between the hours of 1AM and 5AM daily (no calls or distractions). I was usually in bed by 7:00PM and up at 1AM to study. I was one of those folks who would be in the Gross Anatomy lab at 2AM reviewing structures and preparing for the next days labs and lectures during first year. I was usually alone without distractions. This worked for me but I doubt that it would work for most people who need more sleep.

    I studied between classes at school and had things to study while on the subway and while standing in line or over lunch. In short, I was extremely organized. I never spent hours studying in the library staring at pages of notes (not efficient for me). I paced, drew diagrams and generally spent no more than 50 minutes per session with a 10-minute break and then another 50-minute study session. The breaks helped me to be more efficient in getting the material into my long-term memory.

    After graduate school, I was very efficient at organization and multi-tasking which served me well in medical school. Having a natural ability to not need more than 5 hours of sleep was helpful too. Having an ability to tune-out distractions was also a useful habit. I hone in on what I have to do and zip through it. Organization was the key to my success.
     
  21. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Pretty much depends on how smart you are. Some people don't need to study much to crush everyone else, and other people study relentlessly for their amazing grades. Like everyone else said, it's about your time management. You could study 14 hours a day, do your eating/bathing/shopping/etc for 2 hours, and sleep for 8 hours. Easy.
     
  22. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    :thumbup:

    So basically you prepare for a class before you even attend it. This is something they always recommend, but it takes discipline to do. It is also a great idea to study while no one is around. I find it efficient as well, even in terms of utilizing the gym at 2 am.
     
  23. nogolfinsnow

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    I've found it very useful to treat studying the first to years like a job. Study/do school stuff 8-10hrs/day Mon-Th, take of Friday afternoons, study time on the weekends depends on when the next tests is. This leaves me time to go to the gym, have dinner w/ my wife every night, and see friends on the weekends.
     
  24. TMP-SMX

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    I assume you include going to class/watching lectures/Labs in that 8-10 hours. Otherwise, you would run out of things to go over.
     
  25. ACSurgeon

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    Ok, so I am almost done with half of my second year, and so far I'm definetly in the top 5% of the class. This includes the pathophys modules that we completed/been graded for this semester. I get as much sleep as I want (7-8at night with an additional nap in the daytime). I also find a good 1-2 hours per day to fool around (phone, watch TV, anything else).

    Its actually hard to do well if your sleep deprived. If I am not well rested I can't focus enough to retain anything I read. So yes, while staying up late at night gives you more hours, it certainly drains you and makes you less effective the next day. Energy drinks can only do so much for you.
     
  26. Neuronix

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    Let's see, skip class, study 5-8 hours a day on weekdays, weekends if right before exam only, play video games and/or ski, sleep 8 hours.

    P=MD=happiness.
     
  27. ACSurgeon

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    Well, for one, while P does = MD it could mean end up stuck in a specialty you don't enjoy.

    second, the way I see it, if you are going to get any real handle on the material, then your chances of getting a P or an H depend more on how well you comprehend what you study and taking tests. I don't know that I could study differently to aim for a P. I guess the best evidence is that many times I walk in (and then out) of a test thinking I could have done anywhere from a fail to a 100%. Usually its closer to the latter (luckily).
     
  28. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    First two years grades don't matter. I scored well above the national average on Step I and that's what does matter. If you study for Step I, both during your classes and intensely before Step I, your time is far better served. I enjoy Radiology myself, and I look forward to being a Radiologist.

    Bingo. Your ability to get a P or H usually has to do with random trivia/professor mind reading that has little to do with the basic concepts you need to learn.

    Then third year grades are more about being bubbly and feigning interest/willingness to be a scut monkey than actual knowledge. Med school is an odd, odd place.
     
  29. bambi

    bambi Junior Member
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    Only every 2 months?

    In the first 2 years we had exams twice a year and special studies twice a year. 3rd year is the same except exams 3 times a year. How often do most people get tested?
     
  30. Spookster831

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    Every semester we have midterms and finals so I guess each subject is 4 times a year.
     
  31. Captain Fantastic

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    We're on a 10 week block schedule for pre-clinical years: 8 weeks of class, 1 week of exams, 1 week of break, repeat. The ~34 hours of exams during exam week are brutal. It's often enough that the amount of material isn't completely overwhelming but far enough apart that you can relax for a while before ramping back up the study-machine.
     
  32. League54

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    That's about what I do (minus the skiing) and I'm usually in the top half of my class. I always shut it down around 8 the night before tests, I'd rather go into it with a clear head. I could kill myself and score better, but what kind of life is that? At least that's how I see it, to each his own...
     
  33. nogolfinsnow

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    Yes indeed, not 8-10hrs on top of that! Class (if required) or listening to lectures. And lunch. And some solitaire, and maybe browse a few newspaper sites and/or blogs just to remain in touch with the world. And sometimes a nap. It's almost like a union job, except for the whole negative income thing.
     
  34. BlueElmo

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    Thanks everyone for the helpful responses. Seems like most of you get adequate sleep.
     
  35. J ROD

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    I am a little surprised with all the sleep, lol!!

    I function well off of 5-6 hrs a night with a nap here and there.

    One less thing to worry about....I guess..:)
     
  36. letitgo

    letitgo Junior Member
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    I'm an MSI, and I sleep like 10 hours a day. Maybe more. In fact, I'm so bored most of the time, I sleep just for the hell of it. But a lot of my classmates complain of being sleep-deprived before exams, so maybe I'm an anomaly.

    In any case, I was surprised coming to med school how much easier things are than undergrad. I study the weekend before the exam (we have tests every three weeks), and that's it. I don't crack a book before that, and I never go to lectures. We had a final today, and I went clubbing Friday and Saturday night. Our school is P/F (no ranking whatsoever), but I still always do above average. I don't understand the people that spend all day and night holed up in the library - go get a life! Yeah, I guess I could prep the lectures and all that, but I'd be stressed out all the time, just thinking of med school. I think I get just as much out of it as anyone else - I'm learning a lot, and I enjoy it. But med school is not the all-consuming life change that people made it out to be. Not even close. It also helps that I absolutely love where I go to school.

    Third year, I'm sure, will be different...
     
  37. Mind me asking what you studied in undergrad?
     
  38. BlueElmo

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    Do you guys find medical school easier than undergrad? That sounds unthinkable to me, but I often sleep only 5-6 hours other than the weekends. And I don't procrastinate because I'm pretty industrious. And here you guys are getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night...
     
  39. confuse

    confuse Senior Member
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    Many students that I have talked to feel that med school is much harder than undergrad. I find first year to be very manageable. I usually get enough time to study while many students are still struggling to make the adjustment so it's not difficult to set myself apart. But second year is another story. Most students by this time has figured how to study efficiently and we never have enough time to study in second year. It's a matter of high yield study and pick and choose what you think is important to the professor. I am never good at this so while I did well first year, I find myself struggling to HP my classes second year. So if you find 1st year difficult, make sure you work on your study habits now because second year will be even harder.

     
  40. TMP-SMX

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    First semester of medical school I barely slept because I had to be at school for anatomy/histo lab and then I would study for a long time. First semester sucked.

    Second semester I was able to stream my lectures. I got plenty of sleep but got behind in lectures. It's a tradeoff. If you keep up on things you can get plenty of sleep in school.

    As for second year, I get plenty of sleep except for the weekend/few days before exams. Problem is you often have 3-4 exams a week.
     
  41. Rutgers06

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    No, med school is tougher, but in undergrad I was juggling a lot more extracurricular stuff and I definitely wasn't as efficient with my time. I still got 7-8 hrs of sleep my Jr/Sr yrs in college (sleep was affected in Fr/So yrs due to "social endeavors"), but I was all over the place during the day. Maybe it's a function of my med school's curriculum (we just have one course at a time), but it's nice to be focused on one thing. It's very much like a job, excluding compensation, but far more enjoyable than sitting in a cubicle and having to deal with insecure coworkers.
     
  42. deuce924

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    I am a M1 so take it for what its worth. I think that time management is the key. If someone is saying that they pull all nighters weeks before the test and rarely get more than 6 hours of sleep than they probably really suck at time management. I almost always got around 7 maybe 8 hours of sleep a night.
     
  43. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    wait, how were your exams set up?
     
  44. Neuronix

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    For me the first year and a half of medical school was easier than undergrad. In undergrad I fought to get As in everything and was always working full-time on top of that. Plus of course the pre-med volunteering and ECs. I took a full courseload pretty much every quarter, as I didn't have any money to spend on a break/vacation anyway. In med school I relaxed a bit. I did take an extra class each semester on top of med school until I hit clinics as a part of the MD/PhD program, and I still found that I had more free time in med school than I did as an undergrad.

    Though it definitely does seem to me that some med schools are comparatively easier than others. I think I picked a pretty good one that way.
     
  45. TMP-SMX

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    Well we started with Immunology/Micro/Clin Med and had a single test every 3 weeks with the Micro practical with the last test. Then we had Psych, Pharm, and Pathbio courses with the Clin med exam thrown in the first exam week. They are redesigning it for next year and having the Psych course with Micro next year. Our last exam for the block was just the psych, pharm, and pathbio.

    Now we have PD and path organ based. So we just have a test every 2-3 weeks for each system and a PD midterm, final, and written test at the end.
     
  46. Ariodant

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    I think medschool IS an all-consuming change--I worked hard during undergrad but now I'm going to so many parties and socials I can't even believe I'm in medschool:confused: In fact, letitgo just planned a bday party for tomorrow. Tells you how hard we work:D (K, I can't make it btw, OB/GYN tomorrow, probably will be a 12-hr thing.)

    So yes, we really love our school, big name but low stress, everyone is brilliant but non-competitive. If I'm sleep-deprived, that's because I got hooked on a new computer game. Third year however, will depend on your team dynamics, which varies greatly even in the same hospital.
     
  47. ACSurgeon

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    So will second year... trust me.
     
  48. GreenShirt

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    Easier. At least the test are. At our school the test are usually straight forward MC tests that don't require more than one to two inductive steps to figure out or are just straight memory recall. In undergrad we had long answer question tests that required about 10 deductive or inductive steps a piece. However, there seems to be less time and more stuff to memorize in medical school so you're a little more harried.

    As for sleep, most of my classmates get a full night's rest. I'm the only weirdo that still does all-nighters and it's mostly b/c of my whacked out circadian rhythm and poor time management skills.
     
  49. MilkmanAl

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    I'd say it's easier, but there's a ton more stuff to learn. It's also nice to not be pressured to excel on every test.
     
  50. cpants

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    Yeah, just all day OR all night. Seriously though, there is plenty of time for sleep (as much as you need), as well as eating right, working out, seeing friends, and all of life's other pleasures.
     
  51. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
    Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Well, I think it's also fair to warn the pre-meds reading this that there is a spectrum of people in med school. Some people can hear something, or read something, a few times, and will retain it. Other people really need to understand a concept before retaining it. The people in the latter group will, obviously, need more time to study.

    If you come into medical school with that ability, you'll probably be fine. If you were one of those people who needed to draw out detailed diagrams, or write out your own summaries before you really understood a lecture, it will be a bit of an adjustment period.

    AND I think it's only fair to warn people that if you are one of those people who never go to class, sleep 10 hours a night, and go out every weekend, then third year is going to hit you like a wave of icy-cold water. :oops: Sorry.

    Unless you go to one of those schools that make even their 4th year surgery sub-interns work TWELVE hour days. :rolleyes: (Sorry, but that is doing their students, and that field of medicine, a huge disservice.)

    I actually found reading for 3rd year to be harder than reading for 1st or 2nd year, but more enjoyable. In 1st and 2nd year, there's always a "right" answer - the "textbook" answer.

    In 3rd year, there are TWO "right answers" - the "textbook" answer, and the "real life" answer. You need to know both, one for the shelf exam, and one for your daily life in the hospital. That was kind of annoying.
     

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