Why Lawyers Are Sleep Deprived
Lawyers Are Sleep Deprived
Lawyers are sleep-deprived. Can this situation be cured? Lawyers rank second among the most sleep-deprived professions. Attorneys are just behind home health aides.
Here is the lineup:
- Home Health Aides: 6 hours and 7 minutes
- Lawyers: 7 hours
- Police Officers: 7 hours 1 minute
- Physicians, Paramedics: 7 hours 2 minutes
Studies indicate that attorneys are less likely to take care of themselves than medical doctors and other professionals.
Attorneys have a higher than average level of job dissatisfaction. These facts affect the retention of lawyers because findings also indicate that attorneys experience extraordinarily high levels of stress and depression.
Many lawyers live in denial about how sleepy, tired, and unhealthy they are. These attorneys minimize the amount of stress they deal with on a daily basis.
Not only that, due to the nature of practicing law, long hours, prolonged stress, weekend work, many are unhappy at home.
Any lawyer can tell you that if they have constant friction at home, no love and affection or romance, their life and law practice become a burden.
I’ve heard lawyers say that being angry, miserable, and tired was all part of practicing law.
Leonard, a long-time partner at a mid-sized firm, also had this mistaken conception.
“Pamela, I thought that sacrificing my personal happiness was a by-product of being a good lawyer.”
Leonard continues, “Sure, my wife always complains about my long hours and how distracted I am at home. To be honest, I barely know my children. But, isn’t this just a fact of life when one chooses to become a lawyer?”
This notion is incorrect. Many lawyers have happy marriages and relationships. It requires focus and a commitment to your happiness.
Every day Theresa found herself sleepy, especially in the morning.
“Pamela, I can function after three cups of coffee, but I can’t seem to become productive until after lunch. Then I hit the 3:00 p.m. blahs.
After a cup of coffee, I get my second wind around 4:30, and then I work until about 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. to get my billable hours completed. That is just my first job.”
“My second job begins when I get home.”
Theresa frowns, “Male lawyers and husbands don’t seem to realize that after women lawyers get off work, we have to pick up the children, cook, clean, dishes, and do laundry.”
10 Symptoms of a Sleep-Deprived Lawyer
- Chronic stress
- Ongoing headaches or chest pains
- Inappropriate anger
- Overreaction to minor problems
- Poor concentration
- Inability to make good decisions
8 Ways to Cure This Exhaustion
How does an attorney go about feeling refreshed or rested when so much is demanded from their firm?
- Relaxation Exercises
The Harvard Medical School researchers found that relaxation exercises were among the most effective techniques to reduce tension and the physical side effects of stress.
Making regular time, as little as thirty minutes per day can make all of the difference.
2. Manage Your Stress
There is an old saying called HALT. Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
Only you can determine when it is time to HALT, take a break, regroup and regain your focus.
Go for a walk, enjoy a few minutes out in nature, deep breathing, recreational reading, going to a movie, taking a nap are all tools to help you HALT.
3. Eat Breakfast
The facts indicate that people who eat breakfast feel better mentally and physically than those who skip their morning meals. British researchers at Cardiff University even found that spooning up a bowl of hearty breakfast cereal every morning is associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
4. Eat Every Three to Four Hours
Eating three smallish (emphasizing small) meals and two snacks throughout the day can keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable all day long.
5. Avoid Sugary Snacks
When you ingest sweets during the day, you will enjoy a short-lived high followed by a steep energy crash.
A piece of fruit and 7 or 8 almonds or a bit of cheese or some other protein would be a great pick-me-up.
6. Drink More Water
Our bodies contain more water than anything else. Water makes up most of your blood and other body fluids, and even mild dehydration can cause blood to thicken, forcing the heart to pump harder to carry blood to your cells and organs and resulting in fatigue.
Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158.
- The brain and heart are composed of 73% water,
- The lungs are about 83% water.
- The skin contains 64% water
- Muscles and kidneys are 79%
- Bones are watery: 31%.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of water! Please drink more water.
7. Drink Less Coffee
A moderate amount of caffeine to two to three cups of coffee per day — can make you more energetic and alert. When caffeine, including decaffeinated, is consumed in large quantities during the afternoon or evening, it compromises the quality of your sleep. Too much coffee is dehydrating and will suck up your water.
8. Listen to Music
Listening to music is one of the most effective ways to change a bad mood, decrease tension, and increase energy.
Be Healthy and Get Enough Sleep
An attorney who is always tired will be irritable, have a short fuse and suffer from depression.
Become a Happy Lawyer
I often hear the words, “I know better, but I can’t seem to stop the behaviors that cause me frustration, pain, and anxiety.”
Don’t worry; this is a human condition. There is a scientific reason these things persist. Blind spots cause these patterns.
Everyone I’ve ever met has a blind spot.
My job helps my clients scientifically discover their blind spot and bring it to a conscious level. Once your blind spot ceases to be a blind spot, hundreds of people have changed their lives, their professions for the better.
Making these changes will allow you to enjoy a long, satisfying, and successful career.
Make rest and sleep, relaxation, and stress-relieving activities a priority and force yourself to schedule time for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
The choice is up to you.