Sleep disturbances and lack of exercise: accumulating factors for altered BMI in medical students of public sector universities
Background: Changes in lifestyles such as lack of exercises and sleep can have negative effects on the body weight. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the association of the pattern of sleep, exercise, and diets with the body mass index (BMI) of medical students.
Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study that incorporates self-developed questionnaires. Participants are medical university students (250) living in Karachi, Pakistan. Correlation and Pearson’s chi-square test for independence was applied to observe the association between BMI, sleep patterns, exercise and eating habits.
Results: The age of the students were between 19-25 years. The data show a significantly higher number of students (70.6%) with low BMI. Significantly high numbers of students have disturbed sleep (47.4%) during the nights and an increased number of students feel irritated (78.7%) about their sleeping pattern. Because of this, students (61.1%) experienced difficulties at work. Moreover, it was found that only 67 students are doing exercise while 154 students are not doing any exercises. However, they are taking enough 5-6 (47.1%) or 6-8 hours (29.9%) sleep. The majority of the students do not smoke (96.8%), or eat big meals before bed (62%) or consume junk foods (68.8%) on a daily basis. Nevertheless, most of them felt tired (61.1%) but not sleepy (57%) before going to bed. The majority of the students (81.4%) have problems waking up in the morning.
Conclusion: A Significant correlation was found between BMI and sleep duration. Irregular sleeping pattern and lack of physical activities are accumulating factors for students to be underweight. Sleep disturbances affected their focus on the academic studies. Therefore, it is strongly recommended for students to participate in physical activities.
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