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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 60-64

Effect of COVID-19 on sleep pattern, mobile usage, and serum melatonin level among 1st-year medical students

Department of Physiology, RIMS, Imphal, Manipur, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jayshree Phurailatpam
Department of Physiology, RIMS, Imphal, Manipur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_150_21

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has enforced a new norm in the world with maximum dependence on technology in day-to-day living as well as the academic atmosphere. Globally, students are profoundly affected but more specifically medical students are subjected to immense stress, which is bound to affect their sleep and thus the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin. Young medical students right at the entry to their professional career have, therefore, been hit by the changing scenario with most classes becoming online and increasing dependence on technological gadgets such as smartphones and laptops. Aims and Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine the sleep pattern of 1st-year medical students, survey their mobile phone use, and to estimate their serum melatonin levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was done in a Northeast India Medical Institute using standard questionnaires, Pittsburgh's Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Problematic Mobile Phone Usage Questionnaire among medical students and estimating their early morning serum melatonin level by ELISA assay. Statistical Analysis: Data collected were entered in SSPS version 21 and analyzed using descriptive measures, and statistical significances were set at P < 0.05. Results: One hundred and one students (Male: 49 and Female: 52) in the age range of 18–23 years responded to the study which recorded poor sleep quality in 53.5% and good sleep in 46.5%. Poor sleep quality as indicated by PSQI score >5 was reported in 63.5% of females and 42.9% of males which was statistically significant (P = 0.04). Out of these poor sleepers, 66.7% of males and 54.5% of females reported mobile phone usage for more than 2 up to 6 h. Comparatively, poor sleep quality was reported in only 19% of male students as compared to 27% of females among those using mobiles beyond 6 h. Besides, 14% of males and 18% of females among poor sleepers reported using mobiles <2 h. Further, in 80 respondents (Male: 40 and Female: 40) randomly selected for estimation of their early morning sample, serum melatonin level was estimated as 99.25 ± 72.07 pg/ml in males and 109.76 ± 84.54 pg/ml in females. Conclusion: Nearly 2/3rd of poor sleeper, 1st-year medical male students use mobiles for 2–6 h daily during the pandemic while Only ½ of the females do. However, among those poor sleepers using mobiles beyond 6 h daily, females outnumbered males. Estimated Serum smelatonin levels were also relatively higher than those reported in nonpandemic studies.

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