The Measurement of Orthopaedic Surgeon Quality and Quantity of Sleep Using a Validated Wearable Device

Kyle R. Sochacki, David Dong, Leif E. Peterson, Patrick C. McCulloch, Joshua D. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Recurrent episodes of partial sleep deprivation resulting from shift work or call schedules are commonly seen in physicians. This study measures the quantity and quality of sleep in orthopaedic surgeons and determines the factors that are correlated with decreased quantity and quality of sleep. Methods: Orthopaedic surgery residents and attending surgeons at a single institution were prospectively enrolled and provided with a validated wearable device to objectively determine sleep quantity (total hours of sleep) and quality (sleep disturbances; sleep latency; sleep efficiency; and amount of rapid eye movement [REM] sleep, deep sleep, and light sleep). Sleep deprivation was defined as getting less than 7 hours of sleep per day. Bivariate correlations were determined using Spearman rank correlation. Multiple linear regression models were constructed to determine the effect of independent variables (age, attending physician, resident, postgraduate year [PGY] level, sex, number of calls, and total hours worked) and sleep quantity and quality. All P values were reported, and a significance level of a = 0.05 was used (ie, P, 0.05). Results: Of 26 enrolled subjects, 21 (80.8%; 12 residents and 9 attending surgeons, where 15 were men and 6 women, with mean age of 37.2 6 10.9 years) completed the 4-week duration of the study. Orthopaedic surgeons obtained 6.5 6 0.8 hours of sleep per night (17.7% REM, 19.4% deep sleep, and 62.6% light sleep; 4.5 6 1.1 minutes of sleep latency; 4.9 6 1.7 sleep disturbances; and 89.9% sleep efficiency). Fourteen orthopaedic surgeons (66.7%) of the 21 slept less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. The total hours worked had a moderate negative correlation (r = 20.550; P = 0.010) with total sleep. PGY level had a moderate positive correlation with sleep latency (r = 0.546; P = 0.010). Discussion: Diminished sleep quantity is considered sleeping less than 7 hours per night, whereas decreased sleep quality is associated with decreased REM sleep, decreased deep sleep, increased light sleep, decreased sleep latency, decreased sleep efficiency, and increased sleep disturbances. Sleep deprivation in orthopaedic surgeons poses notable health and safety risks for both surgeons and patients. Conclusion: Orthopaedic surgeons demonstrate poor sleep quantity and quality which is markedly worse than the general population, with increased work hours markedly correlated with decreased hours of sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E065
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Global Research and Reviews
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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