Predictors of poor sleep quality among Lebanese university students: association between evening typology, lifestyle behaviors, and sleep habits

Nat Sci Sleep. 2014 Jan 13;6:11-8. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S55538. eCollection 2014.


Adequate, good night sleep is fundamental to well-being and is known to be influenced by myriad biological and environmental factors. Given the unavailability of sleep data about Lebanon, the cultural shifts and socioeconomic pressures that have affected many aspects of society, particularly for students and working adults, as well as our understanding of sleep in university students in other countries, we conducted a national study to assess sleep quality and factors contributing to sleep and general health in a culture-specific context. A self-filled questionnaire, inquiring about sociodemographics, health-risk behaviors, personal health, and evaluating sleep quality and chronotype using standard scales was completed by 540 students at private and public universities in Lebanon. Overall, they reported sleeping 7.95±1.34 hours per night, although 12.3% reported sleeping <6.5 hours and more than half scored in the poor-sleeper category on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Sleep timing differed markedly between weekdays and weekends, with bedtimes and wake-up times delayed by 1.51 and 2.43 hours, respectively, on weekends. While most scored in the "neither type" category on the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ), 24.5% were evening types and 7.3% were morning types. MEQ score was significantly correlated with smoking behavior and daily study onset, as well as with PSQI score, with eveningness associated with greater number of cigarettes, later study times, and poor sleep. We conclude that the prevalence of poor sleep quality among Lebanese university students is associated with reduced sleep duration and shifts in sleep timing between weekdays and weekends, especially among evening types. While chronotype and certain behavioral choices interact to affect sleep dimensions and quality, raising awareness about the importance of obtaining adequate nighttime sleep on daily performance and avoiding risky behaviors may help Lebanese students make better choices in school and work schedules.

Keywords: Lebanon; PSQI; bedtime irregularities; behavioral habits; chronotype; sleep duration.