Article Abstract

Identifying factors associated with sleep disturbances among health workers using WhatsApp in Malaysia

Authors: Kurubaran Ganasegeran, Surajudeen Abiola Abdulrahman, Sami Abdo Radman Al-Dubai, Abdul Rashid, Muralitharan Perumal, Pukunan Renganathan

Abstract

Background: The intricate demand of 24/7 work-lifestyle in modern medical practice has prompted health care professionals to adopt the ubiquity of smartphones for virtual communications through multiple apps functionality like WhatsApp. While these mobile apps have shown a commensurate increase globally, studies have hypothesized that such technological addictions could potentially harm individual’s sleep health. This preliminary investigation aims to explore the prevalence and factors associated with sleep disturbances (subjective poor sleep quality and perceived excessive daytime sleepiness) among health care workers using WhatsApp in Malaysia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 306 health care workers comprising of doctors and nurses in a Malaysian public health hospital. A self-administered questionnaire consisting of items on socio-demographics, WhatsApp usage characteristics, perceived sleep disturbances, addictive lifestyles and validated items on psychological factors was used. Data were analyzed at descriptive, univariate and multivariate logistic regression levels.
Results: The prevalence of sleep disturbances among health workers using WhatsApp in our study sample was relatively high. In multivariate analyses, respondents aged 30 years or younger and those being anxious when denied access to “WhatsApp-ing” activities had significantly higher odds of experiencing poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women had significantly higher odds of experiencing poor sleep quality than men. Respondents who initiate WhatsApp-ing activities immediately after sleep experienced significantly higher odds of excessive daytime sleepiness as compared to those who don’t.
Conclusions: Perceived sleep disturbances among health workers in our sample was significantly associated with demographics, usage characteristics and psychological factors. It warrants further robust research as the use of mobile phone applications among health workers is rising exponentially.