Prevalence of Sleep Deprivation and Relation with Depressive Symptoms among Medical Residents in King Fahd University Hospital, Saudi Arabia

Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2015 Feb;15(1):e78-84. Epub 2015 Jan 21.


Objectives: Sleep deprivation is common among medical residents of all specialties. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of sleep deprivation and depressive symptoms among medical residents in King Fahd University Hospital (KFUH) in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the association between sleep deprivation, sleepiness and depressive symptoms was examined.

Methods: This cross-sectional study took place between February and April 2012 and involved 171 KFUH medical residents of different specialties. Data were collected using a specifically designed questionnaire eliciting demographic information, working hours and number of hours of sleep. In addition, validated Arabic versions of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory-2 (BDI-2) were used.

Results: The prevalence of acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep deprivation among residents in KFUH was 85.9% and 63.2%, respectively. The prevalence of overall sleepiness was 52%; 43.3% reported being excessively sleepy in certain situations while 8.8% reported being excessively sleepy regardless of the situation. Based on the BDI-2, the prevalence of mild, moderate and severe depressive symptoms was 43.3%, 15.2% and 4.7%, respectively. Significant associations were found between sleep deprivation and depressive symptoms; depressive symptoms and sleepiness, and depressive symptoms and being a female resident.

Conclusion: The vast majority of medical residents had acute sleep deprivation, with more than half suffering from chronic sleep deprivation. The number of hours and quality of sleep among the residents were strongly associated with depressive symptoms. New regulations are recommended regarding the number of working hours and night duties for medical residents. Further studies should assess these new regulations on a regular basis.

Keywords: Depression; Drowsiness; Physicians; Saudi Arabia; Sleep Deprivation.