Stress and Sleep Quality
College is a stressful, busy period for many students.
Students often have jobs, families, or other demands on their time that make it
difficult to strike a healthy work-life balance. Unfortunately, this can
sometimes result in both high stress levels and poor sleep quality. It’s
commonly known that excessive stress can make sleep difficult, and that lack of
sleep can make people stressed. This problem is particularly relevant to
students of the medical sciences, as this field is academically rigorous, and
the content matter is at times exceptionally stressful. A 2017 study by A.I.
Almojali et al. examines the relationship between stress and sleep, as well as
their effect on academic performance among medical students.. The following
pages will examine this study’s methodology and conclusions, as well as provide
coping methods to help manage stress and poor sleep.
The purpose of the 2017 study by A.I. Almojali et al.
was to determine the prevalence and association between stress and poor quality
sleep among the medical students at the College of Medicine at King Saud bin
Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS). The research team used a
cross-sectional study design with 306 student participants. The participants were selected off eight
lists via stratified random sampling, to create eight groups of participants.
Each group was given a series of daily anonymous questionnaires at least two
weeks prior to an examination to assess their self-perceived stress levels and
The three-part questionnaires were provided at the
start of each day and collected after lectures. The first section of the
questionnaire established demographic and lifestyle data for the participant.
This included sex, academic year, current GPA, living situation, time of going
to bed, time of getting out of bed, hours of actual sleep each night, and caffeine
consumption. The second section of the questionnaire was the Kessler
Psychological Distress Scale, which is a commonly used tool that assesses
stress severity. It is a self-administered, ten question questionnaire about
emotional states that scores answers from one to five. Total scores of 20-24
are classified as mild stress, scores 25-29 are classified as moderate stress,
and scores 30-50 are considered severe stress. The third section of the
questionnaire was the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), which is the gold
standard for determining subjective sleep quality (Almojali et al., 2017).
Statistical software was used to analyze the collected
data. Sleep quality was used as the dependent variable during analysis, while
stress and lifestyle data were considered independent variables. The results
showed high prevalence of stress (53%) and high prevalence of poor sleep
quality (76%) among the students. Additionally, the data demonstrated a
statistically significant association between these two variables