Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sleep quality among medical and general science students: King Saud University Experience

  • Sultan Ayoub Meo College of Medicine, King Saud University
  • Joud Mohammed Alkhalifah
  • Nouf Faisal Alshammari
  • Wejdan Saud Alnufaie
  • Ahad Fahad Algoblan
Keywords: Sleep health, Science students, Medical students, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, COVID-19


Objectives: Sleep is a vital component for overall health and well-being, and it plays an essential role in social, physical, psychological, and cognitive health. This study aimed to appraise the sleep quality in medical and science students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: This questionnaire-based cross sectional study was conducted in the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during September-December 2020. In this study, a validated self-administered electronic questionnaire was distributed to 1000 students, 782 (78.2%) of whom completed the study. The selection of students was based on using the stratified random sampling. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) instrument scale was used to assess the sleep quality among medical and general sciences students. 

Results: Out of 782 respondents, 410 (52.4%) were medical students, and 372 (47.6%) were science students, including Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics, Botany, and Zoology. Among the medical students, 143 (34.9%) were in pre-clinical years (1st and 2nd), while 266 (64.9%) of them were in clinical years (3rd, 4th, and 5th). Among all medical and general sciences students, it was found that 669 (85.5%) had poor sleep quality with a mean PSQI global score (mean 8.356) among them 336 (50.2%) were medical, and 333 (49.8%) were science students. Science students’ sleep quality was poorer (mean 8.78) than their medical counterparts (mean= 7.93).

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant negative impact on students’ mental health and sleep quality. Both medical and general science students showed alarming levels of sleep deprivation and concerning low sleep quality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sleep deprivation among students may be due to the sudden change of pedagogy in education driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sleep quality is quite a critical issue to be evaluated and addressed nationally and globally.


How to cite this:
Meo SA, Alkhalifah JM, Alshammari NF, Alnufaie WS, Algoblan AF. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sleep quality among medical and general science students: King Saud University Experience. Pak J Med Sci. 2022;38(3):639-644.  doi:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

How to Cite
Meo, S. A., Alkhalifah, J. M., Alshammari, N. F., Alnufaie, W. S., & Algoblan, A. F. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sleep quality among medical and general science students: King Saud University Experience. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 38(3).

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