JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sleep disorder among medical students: relationship to their academic performance

Hamza M Abdulghani, Norah A Alrowais, Norah S Bin-Saad, Nourah M Al-Subaie, Alhan M A Haji, Ali I Alhaqwi
Medical Teacher 2012, 34 Suppl 1: S37-41
22409189

BACKGROUND: Medical students are exposed to a significant level of pressure due to academic demands. Their sleep pattern is characterized by insufficient sleep duration, delayed sleep onset, and occurrence of napping episodes during the day.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence of sleep disorder among medical students and investigate any relationship between sleep disorder and academic performance.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire-based study. The participants were medical students of the first, second, and third academic years. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was also included to identify sleep disorder and grade point average was recorded for academic performance.

RESULTS: There were 491 responses with a response rate of 55%. The ESS score demonstrated that 36.6% of participants were considered to have abnormal sleep habits, with a statistically significant increase in female students (p = 0.000). Sleeping between 6-10 h per day was associated with normal ESS scores (p = 0.019) as well as the academic grades ≥ 3.75. Abnormal ESS scores were associated with lower academic achievement (p = 0.002).

CONCLUSION: A high prevalence of sleep disorder was found in this group of students, specifically female students. Analysis of the relationship between sleep disorder and academic performance indicates a significant relationship between abnormal ESS scores, total sleeping hours, and academic performance.

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