The impact of circadian misalignment on health and wellness in medical students

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2020-05

Authors

Roig, Christopher A.

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Abstract

Circadian misalignment, or "social jetlag" refers to a mismatch between the internal circadian clock and external timings (e.g. societal timings) and behaviorally manifests as inappropriately timed sleep/wake cycles or misalignment of sleep patterns with meal timings. Previous literature shows circadian misalignment to contribute to a large number of adverse health outcomes including metabolic changes and disorders, mood disturbance, and decreased daytime functioning. A number of the adverse health outcomes of circadian misalignment, such as depression, suicidality, and burnout are all common within the medical student population. Medical students also tend to exhibit behaviors which promote circadian misalignment, such as staying up late to study, pulling all-nighters for exams, and sleeping in on weekends. Despite these links, very little literature exists regarding the prevalence, manifestations, and effects of circadian misalignment on medical students. This study identifies key behaviors related to circadian misalignment in medical students, as well as identifying negative outcomes associated with these behaviors.

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