Introduction: Knowledge regarding the importance of sleep in health and performance and good sleep hygiene practices is low, especially among adolescents and young adults. It is important to improve sleep literacy. Introductory psychology is one of the most highly enrolled courses at colleges and universities. This study tested the impact of an Internet-based learning module on improving sleep literacy in this venue. Methods: An Internet-based supplementary learning module containing sleep physiology and hygiene information was developed using content from the Harvard Medical School sleep educational website http://www.understandingsleep.org. Access to the module was provided as an extra credit activity for 2 of 4 sections (Supplemental Sleep, SS, N = 889) of an introductory college psychology course during their standard instruction on sleep and dreaming. The remaining 2 sections (Standard Instruction, SI, N = 878) only were encouraged to visit the website without further direction. Level of knowledge was assessed before and after availability to the module/website and at the end of the semester. Students were asked to complete a survey at the end of the semester inquiring whether they made any changes in their sleep behaviors. Results: Two hundred fifty students participated in the extra credit activity and had data available at all testing points. Students in the SS Group had a significant improvement in sleep knowledge test scores after interacting with the website in comparison to the SI group (19.41 ± 3.15 vs. 17.94 ± 3.08, p < 0.001). This difference persisted, although at a lower level, at the end of the semester. In addition, 55.9% of the SS group versus 45.1% of the SI group indicated that they made changes in their sleep habits after participation in the extra credit sleep activity (p < 0.01). The most common change was a more consistent wake time. Conclusion: Use of a supplementary internet-based sleep learning module has the potential to enhance sleep literacy and change behavior among students enrolled in an introductory college psychology course.
- Internet learning
- Sleep hygiene
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Clinical Neurology