The following blog post was written by Sydney Coelho, Regent J.D. Class of 2022:
In the 2006 indie hit, The Science of Sleep, Stephane Miroux, the protagonist, said, “The brain is the most complex thing in the universe and it’s right behind the nose.” The film, which explored the dreams of a lovestruck man, has virtually nothing to do with the law, but the significant role sleep plays in complex brain functioning does. This includes everything from neurotransmissions, to toxin removal, bodily system functions (e.g. immune system and metabolism), and even memory. While none of this may shock you, what is surprising is that a 2012 study found law to be the second most sleep-deprived profession. Now that’s a problem.
Biblical teaching tells us that “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2 ESV. Furthermore, science has shown that lack of sleep actually correlates to the ability to make ethical decisions. In a profession that requires ethical decision making in every facet of our career, the fact that lawyers (and law students) are sleep deprived should raise a red flag. In the very least, it should cause any legal professional to pause and assess. While we as professionals may recognize this issue, very few will deny that saying we need sleep is easier than actually getting in a full eight to nine hours. Anxiety and depression are some of the more common reasons.
As one of CEFLER’s cofounders, Professor Ben Madison, notes:
From being a Christian, meeting with Christians weekly for years to nurture our faith, and form mentoring law students, I really believe Christians have a hard time with the concept of self-care. We seem to think it is somehow self-centered to take care of oneself. I know I’ve learned the hard way not to push my limits. I am far less able to be of use to the Lord and to others when I don’t take care of myself. Sleep is one of those items I consider non-negotiable. I don’t always sleep as well as I’d like but I follow a routine that makes it more likely to get good sleep.
With this focus in mind, CEFLER is working with outside resources to bring law students resources to help them manage their stress. Up first, CEFLER and the Psychological Services Center will be discussing burnout event this Friday, October 16, 2020.
Until then, are you struggling to get some Zs? This article from The National Jurist says it’s all about how you manage your time.