Sleep quality and more common sleep-related problems in medical students

Marlit Veldi, Anu Aluoja, Veiko Vasar
Sleep Medicine 2005, 6 (3): 269-75

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The aim of this paper is to conduct a survey based on a questionnaire that would characterize nighttime and daytime habits in medical students; to estimate how subjective sleep quality is associated with nighttime and daytime habits and sleep problems in students; to estimate how academic progress and workload is associated with subjective sleep quality, nighttime and daytime habits and sleep problems in students; and to estimate the prevalence of self-reported sleep problems in Estonian medical students.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study group included 413 medical students of the University of Tartu, aged 19-33 years. The self-reported Sleep and Daytime Habits Questionnaire (S&DHQ) covered demographic characteristics (4 questions) and sleep and daytime habits (24 questions). Of the latter, 18 multiple-choice questions provided answers expressed as discontinuous variables on a nominal scale, 4 questions provided answers expressed as continuous variables on an interval scale, and 2 questions provided answers expressed as quality characterization on a five-point scale. The supplement includes information about lifestyle and academic progress on a four-point scale.

RESULTS: The S & DHQ could be used to study sleep problems in young medical students. The subjective sleep quality of students was as follows: excellent-29%; good-40%; satisfactory-24%; poor 6%; very poor-1%. Sleep quality is associated with academic progress (R=0.174; P<0.001), leisure activity (R=0.210; P<0.001), and living conditions (R=0.195; P<0.001). Sleep quality is not associated with students' daily (R=0.021; P>0.05) or nightly workload (R=0.0664; P>0.05). Daytime sleepiness poses a significant problem for students and is associated both with sleep disorders and work while studying.

CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that complaints about sleep problems are common in young medical students.

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