Awakening to sleep disorders in Europe: Survey on education, knowledge and treatment competence of European residents and neurologists

Eur J Neurol. 2021 Sep;28(9):2863-2870. doi: 10.1111/ene.14954. Epub 2021 Jul 9.


Objectives: Sleep-wake disorders are common in the general population and in most neurological disorders but are often poorly recognized. With the hypothesis that neurologists do not get sufficient training during their residency, the Young European Sleep Neurologist Association (YESNA) of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) performed a survey on postgraduate sleep education.

Methods: A 16-item questionnaire was developed and distributed among neurologists and residents across European countries. Questions assessed demographic, training and learning preferences in sleep disorders, as well as a self-evaluation of knowledge based on five basic multiple-choice questions (MCQs) on sleep-wake disorders.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 568 participants from 20 European countries. The mean age of participants was 31.9 years (SD 7.4 years) and was composed mostly of residents (73%). Three-quarters of the participants reported undergraduate training in sleep medicine, while fewer than 60% did not receive any training on sleep disorders during their residencies. Almost half of the participants (45%) did not feel prepared to treat neurological patients with sleep problems. Only one-third of the participants correctly answered at least three MCQs. Notably, 80% of participants favoured more education on sleep-wake disorders during the neurology residency.

Conclusions: Education and knowledge on disorders in European neurological residents is generally insufficient, despite a strong interest in the topic. The results of our study may be useful for improving the European neurology curriculum and other postgraduate educational programmes.

Keywords: clinical neurology; education; residency programme; sleep disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Curriculum
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Neurologists
  • Neurology* / education
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires