Improving Sleep in College Students: An Educational Intervention

Date of Completion

January 2012


This pilot study aimed to improve sleep in college students. The National Institutes of Health have identified sleep as an important health issue. Twenty percent of college students report that sleep difficulties affect academic performance and that these difficulties are not easy to handle. Educational interventions to improve sleep have been successful in other populations. The study took place in a small, private, residential liberal arts college in Southern New England among first year college students. After obtaining Institution Review Board approval and informed consent, a convenience sample of 56 students participated in an experimental design study. The control and experimental groups took a baseline survey by Survey Monkey using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Sleep Hygiene Practices Scale. They then participated in different discussion sessions. The control group discussion focused on general health issues and the experimental group focused on sleep issues. Subsequently each group received two emails a week for the remainder of the semester. The intervention group emails contained a sleep tip and linked to an educational blog site on sleep. The control group had a general health email linked to various health web sites. Two more surveys were obtained at one month and two months. Repeated measures ANOVA were performed and showed no significant difference among or between the groups. Sleep quality declined at the end of the semester. This pilot study begins to explore a new method of sleep health interventions in college students. ^