Association of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness With Psychological Distress in Medical Students



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Objective: To determine the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness among medical students and establish a relationship between self-perceived sleepiness and psychological distress.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 441 medical students from a public-sector university in Pakistan completed a questionnaire from August to December 2018. The questionnaire included the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), which measured daytime sleepiness, and the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), which measured mental health. Pearson correlations and student t tests were used for comparisons with a significance level of P < .05.

Results: Many of the students (44.9%) obtained a high score (≥ 10) on the ESS (ie, experience excessive daytime sleepiness). On average, higher scores on the ESS correlated with higher scores on the GHQ-12. A statistically significant correlation (P < .05) between ESS scores and GHQ-12 scores was obtained when the students with higher (≥ 10) ESS scores were compared with students with lower (< 10) ESS scores.

Conclusions: Excessive daytime sleepiness is frequent among medical students and significantly associated with psychological distress. Thus, careful investment in planning appropriate university policies and class schedules is required to encourage healthy and adequate sleep among students, which could have a significant impact on learning, academic performance, and health of medical students.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2020;22(1):19m02531