Breaking News: Lawyers Are Sleep Deprived. No Kidding.
Last week I read an article about lawyers being the most sleep-deprived in CorporateCounsel and had one thought: tell me something I don't know.
While I didn't pull all-nighters in law school, there were definitely some long nights. It starts in law school and only gets worse when you begin practicing. Between the 12+ hour days, and being on call all weekend, I never had bags and dark circles under my eyes that compared to the ones I had while a second-year associate at BigLaw in New York.
The Sleep Deprivation Study
Who better to conduct a sleep study than the "Mattress Professionals," a/k/a Sleepy's. In 2012 they conducted a study that found that lawyers were #2 on the list of top ten shortest sleepers (only surpassed by home health aides). If you're considering a career change, check out the corollary list of the most well-rested occupations, topped by forest, logging workers. Just think, you can put your hipster beard and flannel shirts to good use.
Are You Sleep Deprived?
Probably. But if you're not sure ask yourself if you are confused, have trouble concentrating, can't handle stress and have mood swings. Do you wake up feeling refreshed? Have you gotten at least eight hours' sleep? Basically, you feel hangry, but you're tired, not hungry (though you may be hangry too). If so, then you are sleep deprived.
Combating Sleep Deprivation
The only way to combat sleep deprivation is with -- you guessed it -- sleep. Just take it from sleep's newest poster child, Arianna Huffington. Yeah, that's easier said than done. If you're not getting enough sleep consider the following: What's keeping you up?
Are you up late working, or just can't fall asleep? If it's work, then try to cut back, delegate, or try to work more efficiently. Chances are if you're sleep deprived you're working harder than you need to, to make up for your tiredness. Even just one night of good, long restful sleep will go a long way.
If you're having trouble falling asleep, try cutting back on technology before bed, sipping on some Chamomile, or even a nice warm bath or shower will help you to get some zzzz's. Or maybe read that boring book that always puts you to sleep. Whatever you do, just relax. If you stress out about trying to fall asleep that will defeat the purpose.
Yes, being a lawyer has its drawbacks, but there are some good things about it too (right? right?). Sleep deprivation can be really serious, so if you think you're having a problem, take the time to take care of yourself -- your health comes first.
What will you do to get more sleep? Let us know @FindLawLP on Twitter.
- Some Busy Lawyers Sleeping in On Site, Japanese-Style Sleeping Pods (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Sleeping Attorneys Are Still Effective Counsel, Judge Rules (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Did Long Hours, Overwork Kill Skadden Associate, 32? (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)