Sleep parameters have been shown to correlate with academic performance. Current studies assessing sleep in doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students rely on self-reported sleep parameters and academic performance. The objectives of this study were to describe and compare sleep parameters in pharmacy students using actigraphy and sleep diaries and to assess the correlation of sleep parameters with academic performance.
This prospective cohort study with convenience sampling assessed sleep parameters in pharmacy students. Thirty-five students completing the second year of a PharmD program participated in the study. Participants wore actigraph watches and maintained sleep diaries for seven consecutive days during the spring and fall semesters, while classes were in session, except for one week prior to exams and the week of exams. Academic performance was tracked during fall and spring semesters.
Actigraphy and sleep diaries showed significant differences in sleep latency (SL), actual sleep time (AST), wake bouts, and sleep efficiency (SE). Actigraphy results indicated that the participants fell asleep faster (SL), slept a shorter duration (AST), had more wake bouts, and lower SE than results reported in the sleep diaries. SE and SL from the sleep diaries positively correlated with the fall semester pharmaceutical sciences course and overall spring semester academic performance. Actigraphy recorded AST correlated with performance in both semesters’ clinical sciences courses.
The results of actigraphy differed from the sleep diaries. More studies are needed to assess differences in detection of sleep parameters using sleep diaries and actigraphs.