Effect of stress on sleep quality in young adult medical students: a cross sectional study

Renu Lohitashwa, Ningamma Kadli, Ravikiran Kisan, Sindhuja A, Dileep Deshpande


Background: Because of demanding clinical and academic duties, medical students are at an increased risk for development of sleep disruption. Studying the relation between sleep quality and psychological stress can be useful in implementing an organized mental health program in medical colleges. The main objective is to study the prevalence and the effect of stress on sleep quality in young adult medical students.

Methods: A cross sectional study to recognize the effect of stress on sleep quality among 50 medical students. The instruments used for data collection were a self-report Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ).

Results: Results of present study showed that 58% of subjects were poor sleepers. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between general health status and sleep quality of students (r = 0.5118, p = 0.0001).

Conclusions: A considerable proportion of medical students are affected by poor sleep quality. Sleep disruption acts as a barrier for students’ performance in examinations. So, it is important to implement health promotion and educational programs for them.


Psychological distress, Sleep quality, General health, Medical students

Full Text:



Buysse DJ, Reynolds CF, Timothy HM, Susan RB, David JK.The Pittsburgh sleep quality index: a new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psych Res. 1988;28:193-213.

Lavie P, Pillar G, Malhotra A.Sleep disorders: Diagnosis, management & treatment, A hand book for clinicians. London: Martin Dunitz Ltd; 2002.

Chokroverty S.Sleep disorders medicine: Basic science, technical considerations, and clinical aspects. 3rd edition. Philadelphia: Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. 2009.

Taylor DJ, Bramoweth AD. Patterns and consequences of inadequate sleep in college students: substance use and motor vehicle accidents. J Adolesc Health. 2010;46:610-12.

Steptoe A, Peacey V, Wardle J.Sleep duration and health in young adults. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1689-92.

Lund HG, Reider BD, Whiting AB, Prichard JR: Sleep patterns and predictors of disturbed sleep in a large population of college students. J Adolesc Health. 2010;46:124-32.

Alex D, David A. Adolescence sleep disturbances as predictors of adulthood sleep disturbances—a cohort study. J Adolesc Health. 2010;46:482-7.

Suen LK, Hon KLE, Tam WW. Association between sleep behavior and sleep-related factors among univeristy students in Hong Kong. Chronobiol Int .2008;25(5):760-75.

Cheng SH, Shih C-C, Lee H, Hou Y-W, Chen KC, Chen K-T et al. A study on the sleep quality of incoming University students. Psych Res. 2012;197(3):270-4.

Hsieh Y-H, Hsu CY, Liu CY, Huang TL. The levels of stress and depression among interns and clerks in three medical centers in Taiwan- a cross sectional study. Chang Gung Med J. 2011;34:278-85.

Sreernamareddy CT, Shankar PR, Binu V, Mukhipadhyay C, Ray B, Menezes RG. Psychological morbidity, sources of stress and coping strategies among undergraduate students of Nepal. BMC Med Educ. 2007;7:26.

Wolfson AR, Carskadon MA. Schedulues and day time funcyioning in adolescents. Child development. 1998;69(4):875-87

EHS M270: Work and Health, Spring 2007. Available from: URL:

Sahraian A, Javadpour A. Sleep disruption and its correlation to psychological distress among medical students. Shiraz E-Medical Journal. 2010;11(1):12-7.

Strine TW, Chapman DP. Associations of frequent sleep insufficiency with health related quality of life and health behaviors. Sleep Med. 2005;6(1):23-7.

Hicks RA, Fernandez C, Pellegrini RJ. Striking changes in the sleep satisfaction of university students over the last two decades. Precept Mot Skills. 2001;93(3):660.

Yang CM, Wu AH, Hsieh MH, Liu MH, Lu FH. Coping with sleep disturbances among young adults: a survey of first year college students in Taiwan. Behav Med. 2003;29(3):133-8.

Strauch I, Meier B. Sleep need in adolescents: a longitudinal approach. Sleep. 1988;11(4):378-86.

Wolfson AR, Carskadon MA. Schedules and day time functioning in adolescents. Child Development. 1998;69(4):875-87.

Roberts RE, Roberts CR, Chen RG. Impact of insomnia on future functioning of adolescent. J Psychosom Res. 2002;53(1):561-9.