WESTCHESTER, Ill. – College students with medical-related majors are more likely to have poorer quality of sleep in comparison to those with a humanities major, according to a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, conducted by Aryn Karpinski of West Virginia University, focused on 129 students, with an average age of 19.9, who were categorized based on major: “STEM” (statistics, technology, engineering, math, and medical-related majors) or humanities (i.e., psychology, education). STEM majors comprised 55 percent of the participants and 45 percent were humanities majors. All subjects were administered the self-report Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
“Sleepiness and poor sleep quality are prevalent among university students, affecting their academic performance and daytime functioning. This study, which compared sleepiness and sleep quality among undergraduate students whose majors were either medically or humanities-oriented, found that, while there were no differences between STEM and humanities majors’ self-reported sleepiness, there were significant differences in their self-reported sleep quality with STEM majors reporting worse global PSQI scores,” said Karpinski.
In addition, noted Karpinski, global PSQI scores for the sample indicate poorer quality of sleep compared to the population norms. Sleep deprivation was longer and frequency of sleep medication use was higher in STEM compared to humanities, added Karpinski.
The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.
Persons who think they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician, who will refer them to a sleep specialist.
The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,000 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The four-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
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