Even with sleep increasingly recognized as an important determinant of health, some doctors may resist the evidence. From working round-the-clock shifts during residency to on-call nights to early-morning rounds, they're sleep-deprived -- and proud of it.
"Organized medicine and the professional medical societies are sanctioning 100,000 people a year to working 30-hour shifts twice a week during their medical education," says Dr. Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School.
"That gives you some sense of where we're at with this," he says. "Physicians are being taught in training that this is OK. We have this attitude of machismo in relation to sleep loss."
Doctors should care more about sleep -- for their own sake as well as their patients, says Eve Van Cauter, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "The medical school curriculum involves very little education to future physicians about sleep," she says. "But it could be that if sleep is overlooked, other problems could be too."