Research article

Sleep patterns and its relation to lifestyle habits: a study of secondary high school students in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  • Received: 29 June 2020 Accepted: 10 September 2020 Published: 17 September 2020
  • Objectives Sleep is a fundamental element in the growth and development of adolescents. Sleep undergoes significant changes during adolescence due to physiological and environmental factors. It has been scientifically shown that the required sleep duration in adolescence is more than 8 hours per day. The aim of this study is to understand sleep patterns and sleep-wake cycle of Sharjah adolescents, and identify lifestyle habits affecting those sleep patterns, and to assess the prevalence of sleep problems. Methods The study was a cross-sectional survey of 519 high-school students, ages 14–21 years, in Sharjah city, United Arab Emirates. It was conducted using a self-filled questionnaire that included questions about demographic data, sleep and lifestyle habits and sleep problems of adolescents. Results The mean age of our sample was 16.24. Most students (64.5%) were reported to sleep between 5 and 8 hours on school nights. The average time to go to bed on weekdays was 11:25 PM. The average time to wake up on weekdays was 6:12 AM. Frequent arousals with difficulty getting back to sleep was the most encountered sleep problem among our sample. Conclusion A large proportion of adolescents in our study had insufficient sleep duration and suffer from some sleep disturbances. Smoking was found to be associated with sleep as non-smokers obtained longer sleep durations. There was no association between physical activity or usage of electrical devices and sleep. Therefore, it is necessary to intervene by organizing awareness programs to improve sleep patterns among adolescent students.

    Citation: Amna Salam Al-Wandi, Sarra Ibrahim Shorbagi. Sleep patterns and its relation to lifestyle habits: a study of secondary high school students in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates[J]. AIMS Public Health, 2020, 7(3): 713-722. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2020055

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  • Objectives Sleep is a fundamental element in the growth and development of adolescents. Sleep undergoes significant changes during adolescence due to physiological and environmental factors. It has been scientifically shown that the required sleep duration in adolescence is more than 8 hours per day. The aim of this study is to understand sleep patterns and sleep-wake cycle of Sharjah adolescents, and identify lifestyle habits affecting those sleep patterns, and to assess the prevalence of sleep problems. Methods The study was a cross-sectional survey of 519 high-school students, ages 14–21 years, in Sharjah city, United Arab Emirates. It was conducted using a self-filled questionnaire that included questions about demographic data, sleep and lifestyle habits and sleep problems of adolescents. Results The mean age of our sample was 16.24. Most students (64.5%) were reported to sleep between 5 and 8 hours on school nights. The average time to go to bed on weekdays was 11:25 PM. The average time to wake up on weekdays was 6:12 AM. Frequent arousals with difficulty getting back to sleep was the most encountered sleep problem among our sample. Conclusion A large proportion of adolescents in our study had insufficient sleep duration and suffer from some sleep disturbances. Smoking was found to be associated with sleep as non-smokers obtained longer sleep durations. There was no association between physical activity or usage of electrical devices and sleep. Therefore, it is necessary to intervene by organizing awareness programs to improve sleep patterns among adolescent students.
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    Acknowledgment



    The authors are thankful to Raed Dali, Yusur Al-Karaghouli and Alya A-Ali for their help in the study.

    Limitations



    This study has some limitations. Firstly, it was a cross sectional study thus the temporal relationship concerning the predictors and outcomes is not clear. Second, our sample included only governmental school going adolescents, hence these findings can't be generalized. With that being said, governmental schools are considered representative of a large part of secondary school students because of their high number in Sharjah. And since this is considered to the best of our knowledge the first study to assess sleep patterns among adolescents, we only chose to include governmental schools students and we believe this will pave the way to more research regarding this topic especially after considering our study findings. Third, the questionnaire used was not a validated one and did not include all factors affecting sleep like the duration of electrical devices usage before sleep. Nevertheless, despite those limitations, the findings of this study offer a baseline data for upcoming research.

    Conflict of interest



    The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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    © 2020 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
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