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Evaluation and comparison of sleep quality among medical and yogic students--a questionnaire based study.


Sleep related disorders are recognized in one third of the western population. It affects the mood, behavior, work and quality of life and pose several health problems, their recognition and treatment can help in improving the functional ability of the individual while preventing hypertension, psychological disturbances and accidents. [1] From a behavioral standpoint, sleep is a state of decreased awareness of environmental stimuli that is distinguished from states such as coma or hibernation by its relatively rapid reversibility. Sleep plays an important role in normal development and everyday functioning [1] and sleep problems can lead to significant morbidity, such as depressive symptoms [1], behavior problems [2], impaired neurobehavior functioning [3], sleep loss due to voluntary bed time curtailment has become hallmark of modern life, owing to their hectic schedules medical students are known to have erratic sleep patterns. Sleep itself is in short supply for young physicians in their formative years because they stay up late to cram for examinations in medical college followed by prolonged stints at the hospital. [4]

Studies in the psychological literature have linked sleepiness and fatigue to decrease in vigilance, reaction time, memory, psychomotor coordination, information processing, and decision making. [5]

Yoga is ancient Indian Science and a way of life which brings about relaxation and also induces a balanced mental state. [6]

Studies have shown that the practice of yoga reduces signs of physiological arousal in normal volunteers based on measurements of autonomic and respiratory variables and oxygen consumption and decrease in plasma catecholamine levels. [7]

Recent study has shown that Mindfulness techniques & practicing cyclic meditation twice a day improved the objective and subjective quality of sleep on the following night. [8]


This study aims at evaluation and comparison of sleep quality among medical and yogic students and to explore the effect of yoga on sleep quality.

This study was carried out after obtaining institutional ethical committee clearance and informed consent.

Participants were Medical students from JNMC, KLE University, Belgaum, and Yogic Students from S-VYASA, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Questionnaire was distributed randomly among thirty 1st year medical students from JNMC Belgaum and thirty 2nd semester B.Sc. Yogic students from S-VYASA, Bangalore. All the students were explained about how to fill the questionnaire.

Inclusion criteria

* Normal healthy volunteers aged between 1823 years

Exclusion criteria

* Students with physical/psychological illness

* Individuals under any kind of medications

* Individuals with Previously diagnosed sleep disorders.

Sample size

30 individuals from each group who fulfilled the criteria


Two Groups onetime assessment study of sleep quality. Standardized Questionnaire on sleep pattern and Epworth sleepiness scale score, [9] and modified Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to evaluate the sleep quantity and quality. Questionnaire was distributed among willing participants.

Data Analysis

Percentage of students with their sleeping times, the sleeping Quality scoring data of both group students was statistically analyzed using two sample t-test. The results were computed by SPSS Software version 19.


Total of 60 students were included in the study, 30 medical and 30 yogic students. The mean age group of medical students with S.D was 17.23 [+ or -] 0.43 and mean age group of yogic students with S.D was 17.16 [+ or -] 0.56. Among two groups, yogic students showed better quality of sleep.




There was significant decrease in day time sleepiness (p < 0.05) and sleep latency (p < 0.001) in yogic students and feeling of being refreshed on wakening in the morning was higher in yogic students with p < 0.001.

The average sleep duration of medical and yogic students was 6.78 [+ or -] 0.8197 and 5.96 [+ or -] 1.0560 hours respectively.



To our knowledge, this is the first comparative study of sleep quality among medical and yogic students. Using a validated measure of self-reported sleep quality, we found that the yogic students had a better quality of sleep than medical students.

It suggest that the practice of yoga by medical students may increase their quality of sleep by decreasing day time sleepiness and sleep latency which significantly influences the subjective sleep quality.

In the present study the improvement in sleep following yoga was in agreement with earlier reports. Poor sleep and erratic sleep pattern reported by medical students could have been influenced by factors like their hectic schedule.

According to normative sleep stage data across age groups, the sleep latency in minutes for age group between 20-29 is 6.3 minutes in an average; in our study we found that the highest sleep latency in medical students to be 30 minutes. Taking into account that poor sleep quality has major negative long term impact on health. Prevention programs should focus especially on the association between depressive symptoms and subjective sleep quality that is significantly influenced by sleep onset latency.

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and increase feeling of peace and calm. [10] This suggests several application and possible benefits of practicing meditation; one of them is probably improvement in sleep. Assumption may be made based on the fact that real-world stress influences cardio-respiratory functions during sleep, hence influencing the restorative function of sleep. [11] In keeping with this, yoga and meditation techniques have been found to improve the quality of sleep. [12]

Sleep is shown to play a key role in important cognitive and psychological processes, including learning and offline memory consolidation [13], human heuristic creativity and insightfulness [14], cognitive abilities [15], consolidation of emotional memory [16]. Collectively, these data emphasize the beneficial effects of restoring sleep on physical, cognitive, and psychological wellbeing. [17]

One limitation of our study was that sleep was subjectively assessed and no objective measures of sleep were obtained.


The study concludes that yoga practice which includes asana, relaxation with awareness improves sleep quality, feeling of being refreshed and less day time sleepiness.

Taking into account that poor sleep quality has major negative long term impact on health, prevention programs should focus especially on the subjective sleep quality. Yoga interventions to improve sleep hygiene can be suggested to medical students who have erratic sleep pattern due to their hectic schedules, as the practice of yoga helps to induce sleep and relaxation and relieves stress and tension.

Cite this article as: Vidyashree HM, Patil PP, Moodnur V, Singh D. Evaluation and comparison of sleep quality among medical and yogic students--A questionnaire based study. Natl J Physiol Pharm Pharmacol 2013; 3:71-74.

Source of Support: Nil Conflict of interest: None declared


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Received: 12.10.2012

Accepted: 12.10.2012

DOI: 10.5455/njppp.2013.3.71-74

Vidyashree HM (1), Parwati P Patil (1), Vinay Moodnur (2), Deepeshwar Singh (3)

(1) Department of Physiology, J N Medical College, Belgaum, India

(2) Volante Software Technologies, Chennai, India

(3) Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), Bangalore, India

Correspondence to:

Vidyashree HM

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Article Details
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Author:H.M., Vidyashree; Patil, Parwati P.; Moodnur, Vinay; Singh, Deepeshwar
Publication:National Journal of Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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