Sleep quality in medical students: a comparison across the various phases of the medical course

Camila de Castro Corrêa Felipe Kazan de Oliveira Diego Scherlon Pizzamiglio Erika Veruska Paiva Ortolan Silke Anna Theresa Weber About the authors



To evaluate and compare subjective sleep quality in medical students across the various phases of the medical course.


This was a cross-sectional study involving medical undergraduates at one medical school in the city of Botucatu, Brazil. All first- to sixth-year students were invited to complete the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, which has been validated for use in Brazil. Participants were divided into three groups according to the phase of the medical course: group A (first- and second-years); group B (third- and fourth-years); and group C (fifth- and sixth-years). The results obtained for the instrument components were analyzed for the total sample and for the groups.


Of the 540 students invited to participate, 372 completed the instrument fully. Of those, 147 (39.5%) reported their sleep quality to be either very or fairly bad; 110 (29.5%) reported taking more than 30 min to fall asleep; 253 (68.0%) reported sleeping 6-7 h per night; 327 (87.9%) reported adequate sleep efficiency; 315 (84.6%) reported no sleep disturbances; 32 (8.6%) reported using sleeping medication; and 137 (36.9%) reported difficulty staying awake during the day at least once a week. Group comparison revealed that students in group A had worse subjective sleep quality and greater daytime dysfunction than did those in groups B and C.


Medical students seem to be more exposed to sleep disturbance than other university students, and first- and second-years are more affected than those in other class years because they have worse subjective sleep quality. Active interventions should be implemented to improve sleep hygiene in medical students.

Students, medical; Quality of life; Sleep

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