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Southern Medical Journal:
doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0000000000000041
Public Health & Environmental Medicine

Characterization of Sleep Patterns and Problems in Healthcare Workers in a Tertiary Care Hospital

Buscemi, Dolores MD; Anvari, Rezza MD; Raj, Rishi MD; Nugent, Kenneth MD

Continued Medical Education
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Restrictions in sleep can have important adverse effects on health and job performance. We collected information about sleep from US healthcare workers to determine whether they had sleep difficulties.


We used an Internet-based survey to collect information on sleep patterns and sleep quality in healthcare workers at a tertiary care hospital. We classified these workers into short sleepers (<7 hours), normal sleepers (7–8 hours), and long sleepers (≥9 hours). We compared these three groups using simple descriptive statistics. We used logistic regression to identify factors associated with short sleep times.


Of 3012 questionnaires distributed, 376 healthcare workers (12.5%) replied to this survey. The median age was 38 years, the median body mass index was 28 kg/m2, and 76% were women. The median sleep duration on weekdays was 7 hours. Sixty-nine respondents (18.4%) were short sleepers, 269 of the respondents (71.5%) were normal sleepers, and 38 respondents (10.1%) were long sleepers. A total of 113 (30.1%) had sleep difficulties more than 50% of the time and 140 respondents (37.3%) were bothered by lack of energy from poor sleep. Short sleepers were less likely than other types of sleepers to have normal bedtimes and regular mealtimes. Eighty-four respondents (22.3%) went to bed between 2 am and 2 pm. These workers were younger; slept less on the weekdays and weekends; and reported more difficulty with sleeping, feeling depressed, overconsumption of alcoholic beverages, and personal stressors.


Most healthcare workers have healthy sleep patterns; however, many workers have poor sleep quality. Workers with “odd” bedtimes have abnormal sleep patterns and abnormal sleep quality; these workers need additional evaluation to understand the causes and consequences of their sleep patterns.

Copyright © 2014 by The Southern Medical Association


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