A Descriptive Study on the Sleeping Habits and Correlation of Sleepiness with Academic Performance in a State University-run Medical School in the Philippines
Background and Significance. Sleep is a vital facet of human existence that is vital to learning and memory; lack of sleep is associated with significant impairment in learning. Medical students are a special population because of the demands of medical school. They are very prone to sleep deprivation and poor quality of sleep, hence academic performance might be affected.
Objectives. We determined the different sleeping habits of medical students using a descriptive tool, with variables chosen specifically for this study. The level of sleepiness was then correlated with the academic performance (using the general weighted average) among students in a state university run-medical school in the Philippines.
Methods. The study is a prospective cross-sectional survey among medical students in a state university-run medical school enrolled for the academic year 2016-2017. The questionnaires used were the Epworth Sleepiness Score and specific questions about sleeping habits. The General Weighted Average (GWA) of those who participated were obtained from the student records section of the college. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the results on different sleeping habits, while the chi-squared test was used to determine any significant differences in the GWA versus level of sleepiness across all year levels.
Results. A total of 426 medical students (or 60% of the total student population of the college) participated. However, of the 426, only 326 had complete GWAs and were therefore included in the final analysis for correlation. The average medical student is “sleep-deprived”, sleeping two hours less (six hours) than the recommended daily minimum duration of sleep (eight to 10 hours). For the correlation of sleepiness and academic performance, we found out that there is no significant difference in academic performance among those who are excessively sleepy (ESS greater than 10) versus those who are not, p-value = 0.892.
Conclusion. Increased level of sleepiness does not correlate with poorer academic performance among these medical students, despite them sleeping less than the general recommendation for adults. The study is limited however by the use of the GWA as the sole tool to measure academic performance, which is affected by many other factors. We recommend the performance of this study in a broader population and use more validated tools to measure sleepiness and academic performance.