Document Type (Journals)
A substantial number of health-professional graduate students do not follow the national recommendation of obtaining at least seven hours of sleep per day. Decreased sleep duration and quality are strongly associated with daytime sleepiness and dysfunction, academic burnout, low academic performance, and mental health symptoms and disorders. However, limited research exists on sleep health among occupational therapy (OT) graduate students. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore OT graduate student perspectives on sleep and to measure their sleep duration, quality, and practices to inform sleep promotion strategies for increased student well-being. A mixed-method study with a cross-sectional design was conducted. Occupational therapy graduate student participants engaged in a focus group and completed the Sleep Practices and Attitudes Questionnaire (SPAQ) along with a survey of demographic characteristics. Nineteen participants completed all aspects of the study. Participants slept an average of 6.75 hours per weekday night and rated their sleep quality an average of 3.47 out of 5 on a Likert scale (1: restless; 5: restful). The majority of participants (68.4%; n=13) reported feeling unrefreshed upon waking, and 78.9% (n=15) reported tiredness during the day. Three major themes emerged from the focus group data: 1) sleep prioritization and practice, 2) sleep knowledge versus action, and 3) occupational balance. This study is one of the first to assess sleep health among OT graduate students. Findings contribute to sleep health literature and may guide programming in sleep health promotion and graduate student well-being.
Kathy Yang, OTD, has an Occupational Therapy Doctorate from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.
Stacy Smallfield, DrOT, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Medicine and Assistant Director, Occupational Therapy Entry-Level Professional Programs, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Yang, K. M., & Smallfield, S. (2020). Exploring Sleep Health Among Occupational Therapy Students. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 4 (1). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2020.040108
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