Prevalence and correlates for self-reported sleep problems among nursing students

A M Angelone, A Mattei, M Sbarbati, F Di Orio
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene 2011, 52 (4): 201-8

INTRODUCTION: University students report significantly worse sleep quality than the general population. Sleep problems are related to increased health concerns, irritability, depression, fatigue, attention and concentration difficulties, along with poor academic performance. The aim of this paper is to conduct a survey based on a questionnaire that would characterize night time and daytime habits in nursing students to estimate the prevalence of chronic insomnia, sleep disturbance and their correlates.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 364 nursing students of the University of L'Aquila, in Italy. Self-reported sleep data were derived from Sleep and Daytime Habits Questionnaire" (S&DHQ) that covered sleep and daytime habits and academic progress. Anxiety and depression symptoms were assessed by the Mental Health Inventory-5 (MHI-5) questionnaire. A supplement includes information about lifestyle, health status and physical activity.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of insomnia was 26.7%. It increased significantly from 10.3% for students aged < 20 years to 45.5% for those aged > 40 years. The prevalence of sleep problems were 9.4% for disorders of initiating sleep, 8.3% for disrupted sleep, 7.7% for early morning awakening and subjectively poor quality of sleep 22.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that greater age was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia. Other risk predictors of insomnia were headache, severe depression and self perception of poor quality of life. Daytime sleepiness and morning tiredness were significantly associated with current smoking habit and painful physical condition. The risk of unsatisfactory academic progress increased significantly in students reported poor sleep quality.

DISCUSSION: Our study demonstrates that sleep problems are very common among students, and supports the need to assess sleep problems and identify students at risk regarding school achievement.

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