Sleep habits in adolescents of Saudi Arabia; distinct patterns and extreme sleep schedules

Roah A Merdad, Leena A Merdad, Rawan A Nassif, Douaa El-Derwi, Siraj O Wali
Sleep Medicine 2014, 15 (11): 1370-8

BACKGROUND AND STUDY OBJECTIVES: There is a need for comprehensive studies on adolescents' sleep habits in the Middle Eastern region. The aim of this study was to investigate the sleep-wake patterns, prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), and disturbed sleep among adolescents in Saudi Arabia and to identify the associated factors.

METHODS: The study was a cross-sectional survey done on a random sample of 1035 high school students, ages 14-23 years, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The response rate was 91%. Students filled a self-reported questionnaire that included sleep-wake questions, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Perceived Stress Scale, academic performance, and personal data.

RESULTS: Students slept an average of 7.0 hours on school nights, with an average delay of 2.8 and 6.0 hours in weekend sleep and rise times, respectively. Around 1 in 10 students stayed up all night and slept after returning from school (exhibiting a reversed sleep cycle) on weeknights. This pattern was more prevalent among boys and students with lower grade point averages. The prevalence of sleep disturbance was 65%, and EDS was found in 37% of the students. Predictors of EDS were school type, stress, napping and caffeine use, while gender was a predictor of disturbed sleep.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents in Saudi Arabia showed a high percentage of poor sleep quality. Compared with adolescents from other countries, they had a larger delay in weekend sleep and rise times. An alarming reversed sleep cycle on weekdays is present and highlights the need for further assessment.

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