Relationship between Sleeping Disorders and Performance for Medical Students

3 pages
797 words
University of Richmond
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Literature review
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Sleep is a recurring, reversible, and actual condition of perceptual detachment from interaction with the environment as well as unresponsiveness to it. Kids and youths require an average of about 8 hours of sleep per night. Studies indicate that sleep serves a few different functions, for instance, growth and repair, memory strengthening as well as restorative processes and these entire processes takes place through the body and brain. Therefore, enough measure of sleep is fundamental to the physical and mental health of a person. Functions of cognitive nature associated with critical thinking, learning and decision making are altogether linked to sufficient sleep. A large body of evidence substantiates the knowledge that deprivation of sleep can cause stress, psychiatric disorders, and dysfunctions such as learning disabilities as well as reduced work efficiency (Azad et al 2015). Conversely, enough sleep can result in a better life quality, social and physical health, performance as well as longevity.

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The population of medical students is among the populations that appear to be at high risk of sleep deprivation. This is ascribed to the fact that they are under constant pressure due to exams or at times in hospitals performing other duties. Recent studies indicate that medical students sleep-wake cycle is characterized by delayed sleep onset and short sleep duration which are known to affect cognitive function in medical students. Besides, further studies show a high correlation in academic performance and sleep duration.

Undeniably, medical students are highly regarded as a group that appears vulnerable to poor sleep. This factor is attributed to long durations and huge loads of academic burden, clinical duties which comprise overnight duties, and lifestyle choices. Studies on sleep disturbances in undergraduate medical students are of particular interest due to the known relationship between mental health and sleep as well as the concern that the academic demands of medical training can provoke significant stress (Hassan et al 2014). Further addition of undiagnosed sleep problem can probably aggravate mental stress in these students, and this has potentially long-term effects on both personal health as well as the overall healthcare system performance. Various scholars agree that good quality sleep is essential for optimal psychomotor and neurocognitive performance as well as mental and physical health. Sleep quality, sleep quantity, sleep phase scheduling, and sleep regularity are the four important sleep characteristics that affect academic performance.

It is important to identify the factors that influence medical students to sleep if there is the need to improve outcomes by educators. Sleep problems are connected with both environmental and intrinsic factors. A biological factor, for example, hyperarousal is a predisposing factor. Triggering factors for sleep problems includes stressful occasions such as exams pressure. Active thinking, planning, analyzing and worrying during bedtime are all relates with insomnia (Hassan et al 2014).

Multiple pieces of research indicate that students with late, poor sleep quality and sleep phase face a higher risk of impaired academic performance. Although it is evident that sleep disruptions ought to be minimized for all individuals aiming to optimize their learning capacity, there are some particular up shots of sleep deprivation that should be considered in medical students (Ashouri, Pirouzan and Rasekhi 2016). Admittedly, the years in a faculty of medicine offers time through which students develop lifelong professional habits and attitudes. Nonetheless, deprivation of sleep has been demonstrated to have major negative impacts on emotional intelligence, comprising the ability to express empathy to patients.

In brief, studies consistently indicate that medical students who have a good sleep at night perform well academically. Moreover, sleep timing is more important than sleep length although this is dependent upon the environmental factors such as examinations and timing of classes. Further investigations concerning causes to sleeping disorders among medical trainees are vital if there is hope to improve their general academic performance. The effect of improved sleep on the mental and physical is an area that is of equal importance to consider for the future medical professionals. New technologies to deliver instructional content can be used to assure an improved alignment between the learners essential services and education services. Additionally, studies in this area ought to extend towards actions that would enhance general sleep education for medical students. Also, the research would help to identify students who are at risk and assist in the development of programs that will aid to improve their sleep.


Ashouri P, Pirouzan A, Rasekhi S, 2016. Effects of sleep quality on the academic performance of undergraduate medical students. Health Scope.Azad MC, Fraser K, Rumana N, Abdullah AF, Shahana N, Hanly PJ, Turin TC, 2015. Sleep disturbances among medical students: a global perspective. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 11(1):6974.

Hasan N, Jin T, Othman M, Roslan R, Salam A, Siraj H, 2014.Sleep pattern and academic performance of undergraduate medical students at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 4 (12) 52-55.

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