Sleep education in medical school curriculum: a glimpse across countries

Sleep Med. 2011 Oct;12(9):928-31. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Sep 16.


Background: The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of education about sleep and sleep disorders in medical school education and to identify barriers to providing such education.

Methods: Surveys were sent to 409 medical schools across 12 countries (Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States, Canada and Viet Nam).

Results: Overall, the response rate was 25.9%, ranging from 0% in some countries (India) to 100% in other countries (New Zealand and Singapore). Overall, the average amount of time spent on sleep education is just under 2.5h, with 27% responding that their medical school provides no sleep education. Three countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Viet Nam) provide no education, and only Australia and the United States/Canada provide more than 3h of education. Paediatric topics were covered for a mere 17 min compared to over 2h on adult-related topics.

Conclusion: These results suggest that there continues to be very limited coverage of sleep in medical school education despite an incredible increase in acknowledgement of the importance of sleep and need for recognition of sleep disorders by physicians.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Curriculum / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Education, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Global Health / ethnology
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / ethnology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*