Introduction: Evidence shows that the majority of medical students experience some kind of sleep quality disorder, which can affect their academic performance. Increasing exposure of students to environmental and academic stresses may result in the incidence of sleep disorders and fatigue, which can consequently influence their academic efficacy. This study was conducted to determine the factors affecting sleep quality and its correlation with students’ fatigue severity and academic performance at AJA University of Medical Sciences, during 2012-2013.
Materials and Methods: This descriptive, analytical study was performed on 658 students studying at all levels at AJA University of Medical Sciences. Having taken informed consent from the participants, they were selected through census sampling. The instruments for data collection comprised of demographic and academic performance questionnaires, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and Fatigue Severity Scale, which were completed by the participants during the first semester, 2012-2013. The obtained data were analyzed by SPSS-17 software using chi-square test and Spearman and Pearson correlation coefficients.
Results: Sleep quality was reported to be poor in 49.2% of students. A total of 19.8% and 67.2% of students suffered from severe and moderate fatigue, respectively. The mean grade point average (GPA) of students was 16.75. The results of chi-square (for qualitative variables) and Pearson correlation coefficient (for quantitative variables) indicated a statistically significant correlation between sleep quality and age, number of units, ideological-security units, entry year, semester, academic level, major, gender, residence, living status, daily caffeine consumption, history of depression, history of stressful events and fatigue among the study participants (P = 0.001). Further, no significant relationship was found between sleep quality and weight, military drill hours, daily and nightly working hours, marital status, cigarette smoking, workout, caffeine consumption at night, different physical-psychological diseases and different kinds of anxiety (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Prevalence of poor sleep quality and fatigue is high among students of AJA University of Medical Science. Given the importance of sleep quality and quantity and their effect on academic and non-academic performance of students, favorable conditions are required to be created to provide a good sleep hygiene.