Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index

Last updated: June 6, 2019

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

There are many ways of assessing one’s quality of sleep. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is one of them. The PSQI is a self-report questionnaire that assesses sleep quality over a 1-month time interval. Developed at the University of Pittsburgh, it is a standardized sleep questionnaire. Researchers developed the PSQI to help clinicians, doctors, and researchers have an easy to use questionnaire. The PSQI is also useful for multiple populations. According to clinical studies, it is reliable and valid in the assessment of sleep problems to some degree. It is more reliable when it comes to self-reported sleep problems. This is also a useful questionnaire for measuring depression-related symptoms.

How do I use a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index?

This questionnaire has 19 items that measure several different aspects of sleep. The PSQI offers seven component scores and one component score. Component scores include subjective sleep quality questions. An example is asking the patient how long it takes to fall asleep. This is subjective and is not that precise because it is unlikely that a person can tell exactly how long it took him to fall asleep.

There are also questions answerable by a scale of 0 to 3. A mark of 0 means very good while a 3 represents very bad. When combined, a final PSQI score can help a doctor determine the severity of a sleep disorder. Any score above 5 indicates poor sleep.

What are its limitations?

Just like other self-report inventories, the accuracy of the PSQI depends on the person completing it. Since the questions are subjective some patients may exaggerate or minimize the scores. This is why it is vital that the patient completing the questionnaire be as accurate as possible while performing a self-assessment. An accurate assessment can help a doctor or a sleep specialist gauge the severity of the patient’s sleep disorder. It will also allow the doctor to better formulate a treatment plan for the patient.

Although relatively new, the PSQI presents promising reliability and validity. It also has great potential for clinical practice because it is accessible as a free measure. It is also brief and only takes a few minutes to complete. However, the most important thing to remember when using the PSQI is to always be as truthful and accurate when answering so it can result in an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment.

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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.