Many doctors have recently shared difficult and disturbing stories about mistakes they made due to lack of sleep. We asked Dr. Liora Berzag-Peru to explain why this happens and what are the long-term consequences of continued lack of sleep.
After a long shift, while sleeping, he answered a phone call from a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Through his mist, the doctor said the premature baby’s breathing tube could be pulled out.
To better understand this story and others, and how lack of sleep affects our body and brain, we asked Dr. Liora Bergaz-Peru what happens to our body when we don’t get enough sleep and how dangerous it is. Here are your answers.
How long does a person need to sleep to function?
This is a difficult question to answer, since the need is individual. One approach states that a person will need to sleep until they wake up spontaneously. Another approach examines the “awake state” of a person after being awakened after a variable number of hours of sleep. Consider that the need for sleep also changes with age. Questionnaire-based studies have indicated that most people will feel rested after seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
What is sleep deprivation?
Has the effect of sleep deprivation been investigated?
What happens when doctors and other hospital staff are deprived of sleep?
Resident studies have shown that many physicians misdiagnose patients after working a shift of 24 hours or more compared to a normal workday for the same physician.
An interesting study indicated fewer correct diagnoses in colonoscopy results when the same doctor woke up suddenly the night before. These are mistakes that occur when deprivation is acute, but of course they increase over a longer period of sleep deprivation.
Does the lack of sleep also affect the health of the doctors?
Yes. In a state of chronic deficiency, there is ongoing damage to neurons, which of course leads to many other damages, from mood swings to brain dysfunction, heart disease, hormonal changes, and more.