A new publication on the Determinants of Sleep Quality in University Students

The university years are marked by drastic changes to living arrangements, academic responsibilities, increased social obligations, and newfound independence. Following these transitional challenges, heightened psychological distress and reduced psychological well-being are prevalent, which are an issue of public concern, and they even more prevalent in university students than in their working peers. It may not be surprising then that risky behaviors and decisions are common during this life stage, including poor dietary quality, weight gain, reduced physical activity, smoking, alcohol, and substance misuse. Unfortunately, attending university is also characterized by poor sleep quality which is reportedly prevalent among students and has been linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, including reduced academic performance. Moreover, determinants of sleep quality are not yet fully understood. This study was designed to (1) assess the prevalence of poor sleep quality and (2) identify determinants of sleep quality in German university students. In total, 1,684 undergraduate and graduate students (50.6% female, mean age 22.87 ± 3.15 years) from multiple academic disciplines completed a cross-sectional online survey assessing socio-demographic, health, and study-related indicators and sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). In our sample, 820 (48.7%) met the PSQI cut-off score (>5) for poor sleep quality. Multiple regression analysis showed that older age, being a business student, lower subjective social status, poorer self-rated health, stress, exhaustion, and poor academic performance significantly predicted poor sleep quality. Our findings document a high prevalence of poor sleep quality among university students and suggest that business students, especially, might be exposed to a greater risk for poor sleep quality. Furthermore, the results of this study are valuable for academic staff to develop tailored interventions to promote healthy sleep-in university students.

Schmickler, J.M.; Blaschke, S.; Robbins, R.; Mess, F. (2023) Determinants of Sleep Quality: A Cross-Sectional Study in University Students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 20(3):2019. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032019