Aim: The aim of this study was to describe sleep habits and sleep problems in a population of undergraduates in Palestine. Association between self-reported sleep quality and self-reported academic achievement was also investigated.
Methods: Sleep habits and problems were investigated using a convenience sample of students from An-Najah National University, Palestine. The study was carried out during spring semester, 2009. A self-administered questionnaire developed based on The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV criteria and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used.
Results: 400 students with a mean age of 20.2 ± 1.3 were studied. Reported mean duration of night sleep in the study sample was 6.4 ± 1.1 hours. The majority (58.3%) of students went to bed before midnight and 18% of the total sample woke up before 6 am. Sleep latency of more than one hour was present in 19.3% of the students. Two thirds (64.8%) of the students reported having at least one nocturnal awakening per night. Nightmares were the most common parasomnia reported by students. Daytime naps were common and reported in 74.5% of the study sample. Sleep quality was reported as "poor" in only 9.8% and was significantly associated with sleep latency, frequency of nocturnal awakenings, time of going to bed, nightmares but not with academic achievement.
Conclusion: Sleep habits among Palestinian undergraduates were comparable to those reported in European studies. Sleep problems were common and there was no significant association between sleep quality and academic achievement.