Campus Recreation is launching the Sleep Program to educate college students on the importance of sleep and promote healthy sleep habits over the course of three weeks.

Steve Woita, an assistant director for campus recreation of fitness and wellness programs, said the three-week program begins on March 1 and will be educational and experiential. Jen Beres, nutrition and health graduate student and wellness services graduate assistant, said the program includes a weekly informational newsletter with a challenge and reflection.

To participate, students have to sign up for the program by Feb. 26, according to Beres. To sign up, login with either a Campus Recreation account or a Facebook account, and look for the Sleep Program under the “group fitness” tab. Every student that signs up for the program will receive a free sleep eye mask, according to Beres.

Beres said not getting enough sleep can really affect a person’s brain function and can lead to negative moods and fatigue, which can cause less productivity.

“When you have adequate sleep regularly, you can have increased focus, energy and memory,” Beres said.

Woita said his team was trying to look at different areas within physical well-being and how they could continue to enhance student’s’ wellness, specifically their physical wellness. Woita said when he thinks of physical wellness, he thinks of diet, exercise and sleep. 

“Sleep was one area where there hasn’t been a lot of programming towards or things that we educate around on a college campus,” Woita said.

On each Monday morning during the three-week program, Beres said she will email the informational newsletter to the participants. The newsletters are two pages, and will be about the importance of sleep, sleep hygiene and tips for better sleep habits. 

The program also includes a sleep journal, according to Woita. Once students register for the program, they will be provided with the sleep journal electronically and can print it off if they wish to, according to Woita. 

Students can log their sleep patterns in the journal, including what time they went to sleep, when they woke up, what their energy level is and how they are feeling each day, according to Woita. Beres said students will not have to submit their journals, challenges or reflections.

When deciding the length for the program, Woita said his team did not just want a one-time program because it would not have any long-standing behavior changes. They thought having different newsletters, challenges and journaling over a period of time would increase the chances of students having better sleep behaviors.

“We thought that it was important to not only have someone engage in an activity, but also be educated or given more information to learn about how to get better sleep or what the importance of sleep is for our lives,” Woita said.

Each week will have different challenges and incentives, like if a student completes the challenge, they could be entered into a raffle drawing, according to Woita.

Woita said college students often have disrupted sleep or their sleep schedule is irregular, so the program can help students gain the tools and habits they need to have a healthier sleep schedule.

“I think the importance of the program is the aspect of creating a healthy habit,” Woita said. “If you complete the program from start to finish, you will be well on your way to creating and sustaining a healthy habit of getting a good night’s sleep.”