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November 21, 2012 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-21

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4B Wednesday, November 21, 2012 // The Statement

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 // The Statement B

Effects of
sleep deprivation

The restless: Students living the dream without sleep

risk of heart

By Kaitlin Williams

memory lapses


' ris k o f e

y the time I started counting how
many probes were attached to my
head and body, I was too tired to
complete the task. I stopped at 28 and tried
to settle into a comfortable position in the
railed, hospital twin bed. Dawn, my ironi-
cally named night shift nurse at the KMS
Sleep Center near Briarwood Mall, spoke to
me over the intercom.
"State your name for the video record,"
she ordered. Saying my name to a disem-
bodied voice while hooked up to probes in
a dark room is on the short list of creepiest
things I've ever had to do, but it had to be
I'd been waiting to participate in a
sleep study for more than six months. I
was hoping to get diagnosed and figure
out a better treatment plan for the sleep
problems I was facing - sleep paralysis
and insomnia.
But even after spending 18 hours in a
10x12 room with probes stuck to my head,
the data was inconclusive. For many college
students like me, sleep is still an elusive end
to a long day.
Some of us pull all-nighters to cram for an
exam, some of us stay up until dawn drink-
ing, but some of us have more reasons than
others to brave the moonlight.
One well acquainted with the
Fourth-year Medical student Eliza-
beth Chenoweth has learned to sleep
whenever she can. During her third year,

Chenoweth often had to work demanding
hours - once staying at the hospital for 25
hours straight because of scheduling con-
flicts during her Obstetrics and Gynecol-
ogy training.
_ Fourth-year Medical stgdent Scott DeRoo
said The Accreditation Council on Gradu-
ate Medical Education enforces an 80-hour
per week work limit for trainees, but before
these new regulations, he often worked
30-hour shifts.
"You do it because that's what you need
to do," DeRoo said. "But in some ways, it's
actually a shame that things have changed
because good learning goes on at night."
Chenoweth said the ACGME has since
altered regulations to cap the shift times for
trainees at 16 hours, but the training is still
"Depending on what rotation you're on,
you can be working many, many hours or
you could be having a pretty light rotation,"
Chenoweth said. "But you still have to take
exams and quizzes on top of that."
Chenoweth said the first and second years
of medical school are similar to the under-
graduate years because students only have to
be concerned with academic responsibilities.
Though all-nighters are common, total sleep
hours are unaltered.
"You might be up late cramming one
night, but then you can make up for it later
on," Chenoweth said.
College students tend to accrue sleep
debt - the difference between the doctor-
recommended amount of sleep you should
be getting and how much you actually get.

sup i

And like regular debt, sleep debt can't usu-
ally be "paid off" in one lump sum of a nap,
according to a 2008 article in Scientific
American. The only wpy to make up for lost
sleep, according to the article, is to slowly
increase how much you sleep per night -
an unthinkable lifestyle change for many
stressed students.
The third and fourth years of medical
school, which are meant to prepare for the
rigors of residency, involve much more sleep
debt. Chenoweth and DeRoo currently have
two months off to apply and interview for
residencies, which is why they could meet
me at a coffee shop to talk last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the third-year medical students
I e-mailed last week still haven't gotten back
to me.
Among the hardships of a restless sched-
ule is illness, an inconvenience Chenoweth
said her superiors in the health field under-
stand. However, it's difficult for interns to
take sick time off becase they don't want to
fall behind.
"Sometimes it's really hard to be healthy,"
Chenoweth said.
Sleep is often cited as a top determiner of
overall health - physical and mental, long-
term and short-term - but medical students
like Chenoweth forgo sleep, guzzle down
more coffee and stay awake to learn their
"As hard as it is to work some of the hours
you do, it's important because it's what
you're going to be doing next year," Che-
noweth said.
- DeRoo said he's looking forward to start-

ing his residency soon. For. him, the long
hours have been worth it. ,a
"If you choose to do that for your career,
you have to accept that you may sacrifice a
few hours of sleep here or there," DeRoo said.
So dawn goes down to day
Just as high school is meant to prepare
us for college, college is touted as training
for the "real" world. However, for students
like LSA senior Jessie Linton and LSA junior
Zachari Broughman, the reality of work
doesn't wait until graduation. And with day-
time classes, that work often has to be done
after dark.
Linton is a server at Good Time Charley's
on South University Avenue. She works
four to five shifts a week, scheduled from
8 p.m. to 3 a.m., but she said she's often
home around 4 a.m. if the night is particu-
larly busy or she decides to hang out with
co-workers after hours. Linton added that
about half the staff are students at nearby
"Everyone knows what it's like to be the
only sober person at a party. That's what
(working at Charley's) is like," Linton said.
"At least we have each other."
Linton said she's always been "noctur-
nal." She waitressed in high school, so she
knew the job at Charley's would be a good fit.
She makes about $200 a shift - money she's
mostly saving for the future.
Broughman is a building manager at the
University Unions. He's primarily assigned
,a See RESTLESS, Page 6B



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