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Cureus. 2015 Oct 21;7(10):e361. doi: 10.7759/cureus.361.

Burnout and Sleep Quality: A Cross-Sectional Questionnaire-Based Study of Medical and Non-Medical Students in India.

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University College of Medical Sciences.
Paediatric Oncology, Apollo Hospitals.
Internal Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences.


Introduction It is well documented that on entering college, students experience a multitude of changes in sleep habits. Very few studies have been conducted that explore sleep quality in Indian undergraduate students; fewer still study the effects of burnout in the same population. Medical students, in particular, are believed to be more stressed, sleep deprived, and burnt out than their non-medical peers. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted to study sleep disturbances and burnout in a sample of 214 Indian undergraduate students (112 medical, 102 non-medical). The instruments used to measure the sleep quality and burnout were the PSQI (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) and OLBI (Oldenburg Burnout Inventory), respectively. Differences between continuous variables were analysed using Wilcox Mann Whitney U-tests. Bivariate Spearman's rho correlations were done to identify correlations between the individual burnout components and the PSQI sleep quality components. Results Of the students surveyed, 62.6% were found to be poor sleepers with an average score of 6.45 ± 2.85. It was seen that 20% of the students (n = 43) slept less than five hours a day. Medical students, in particular, were found to have more poor sleep (72.9%) than their non-medical peers (51.9%; p < 0.001). Of the sampled women, 65.8% were poor sleepers, as compared to 62.1% of the sampled men, but the difference was not statistically significant. The average scores of the burnout dimensions were 2.43 ± 0.57 for exhaustion and 2.32 ± 0.53 for disengagement. Both exhaustion and disengagement correlated with PSQI sleep scores (Rho 0.21, p 0.001) and (Rho = 0.18, p = 0.008), respectively. The exhaustion dimension of burnout was higher in medical students (2.46 ± 0.55) than in non-medical students (2.38 ± 0.59), but was seen to correlate more with the PSQI sleep score in the non-medical group (Rho = 0.62, p < 0.001). The PSQI scores showed a weak but significant correlation with academic year (rho = -0.19, p = 0.004). Unlike the sleep scores, the burnout dimensions did not correlate well with the academic year. Conclusions Burnout and sleep quality are both uncommonly studied topics in India. Fostering a healthier and more proactive approach to tackling burnout and poor sleep quality may help unearth culture specific causes for some of the results we have demonstrated.


burnout; india; olbi; psqi; sleep quality; stress

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