sleep deprivation, sleep, students, student perceptions, CVD, cardiovascular disease, survey, McMaster University
Sleep deprivation involves the reception of inadequate sleep to support optimal alertness, performance, health and well-being, and is generally considered to constitute below eight hours nightly. Studies have found significantly less than half of students receive an adequate amount of sleep. This study provides an explanation of the clinical consequences of sleep deprivation, specifically on cardiovascular health, and examines student perspectives on sleep habits relative to adequate sleep habits. The study involved three stages: a review of the literature using OvidSP; the collection of student responses to a six-question online survey, administered via SurveyMonkey, to the McMaster University student population; and a short, verbal, one-question survey of a small random sample of McMaster University students. The survey yielded 337 student response submissions in total, with 337 responses to the first five multiple-choice questions and 240 responses to the sixth text entry-based optional question. The results of the survey indicated an imbalance in student perception of the amount of sleep received individually on weekday nights relative to the amount of sleep required, while student perceptions on the amount of sleep received and necessary on weekend nights were more consistent with each other. The majority of respondents indicated their perception of their sleeping behaviours were not adequate enough, and this was commonly attributed to social interactions and social media, academic workload and pressures, and employment-related responsibilities, both in the literature and prominent student responses. The majority of student respondents also demonstrated a lack of awareness of a definite relationship between sleeping patterns and cardiovascular disease, which the literature has shown to be both directly and indirectly linked through several physiological mechanisms which are discussed. Increased efforts and interventions to educate students on the consequences of such behaviours on acute and chronic outcomes are warranted.