You'll be working long hours during your residency or fellowship, and managing your fatigue is important to your success. Here are some tips on how to manage your fatigue.

Strategic Napping

There is an art to napping.  Some general tips:

  • For a quick boost of alertness, a 10-20 minute power nap is ideal.
  • Try to find a dark, quiet place (like a call room!) or use eye shades.
  • Use white noise (like this free app).
  • Caffeine takes 20 minutes to enter your system. Try drinking some tea before taking your nap.

Read more napping tips.

Eating Right

Digestion is not as efficient at night and low blood sugar can lead to a feeling of sluggishness.

Stick to frequent snacking on low-fat protein rich foods (e.g. low-fat dairy products, hard boiled eggs, cooked and canned fish, lean chicken, beef or lamb, protein shakes, lentils) and low glycemic index foods.

Foods like bread and rice are high on the glycemic index. Lower on the index are vegetable, nuts and some fruits.

Hydrating Yourself

When your body is low on water, it tries to conserve by relaxing and slowing down. The recommended intake is 2L per day! If you drink diuretics, be sure to compensate by increasing your water intake.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body. By drinking more water, you can boost your energy levels and increase concentration.

Drinking more water also gives you healthier skin, helps with weight loss and protects your joints and organs. Drink plenty!

Strategic Caffeine

Avoid drinking caffeine when you are not really tired. This prevents tolerance. The less caffeine you drink, the more effective it will be when you need it.

Avoid caffeine for a few hours before bedtime. And be aware of how much caffeine is in different foods and drinks.

How Much Caffeine?

In milligrams:

  • Brewed Coffee: 150
  • Filter Coffee: 135
  • Instant Coffee: 110
  • Espresso: 64
  • Black Tea: 47
  • Green Tea: 36
  • White Tea: 24
  • Decaf Coffee: 8