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IES Grant

Title: Development and Pilot Testing of the Sleep to Enhance Educational Performance in Schools (SLEEPS) Curriculum
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Mehus, Christoper J. Awardee: University of Minnesota
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2018 - 06/30/2021) Award Amount: $1,399,667
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A180265

Co-Principal Investigators: Barnes, Andrew; Wahlstrom, Kyla

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop and pilot test a program to support middle school students' healthy sleep habits — Sleep to Enhance Educational Performance in Schools (SLEEPS)— to promote better behavior, engagement, and performance in school. Sleep problems are common among middle school students, with up to 60 percent failing to get sufficient sleep (National Sleep Foundation, 2006). The SLEEPS program will use an interactive classroom curriculum to teach students about the importance of sleep and give them strategies to develop healthy sleep habits (e.g., sleep hygiene, stimulus control) and overcome sleep problems (e.g., meditation for insomnia).

Project Activities: The researchers will conduct a sequence of four studies to develop, refine, and pilot test SLEEPS over three years. They will begin with two development studies in Year 1 (focus groups and an expert summit) followed by an intervention demonstration study (Year 2) and a pilot study (Year 3) to examine SLEEPS' impact on relevant process (e.g., student and parental attitudes about sleep) and outcome (e.g., daytime sleepiness, motivation and engagement, school performance) variables.

Products: Researchers will produce a fully developed sleep intervention for middle school students that can be implemented in health classes, reports for the participating schools and the state department of education, and peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in urban school districts in Minnesota.

Sample: The sample will include approximately 96 middle school teachers, 12 middle school principals and administrators, 204 parents, and 230 racially and socioeconomically diverse middle school students. Six of the middle schools will participate in development and feasibility testing in Years 1 and 2, and another six middle schools will participate in the pilot test of promise in Year 3.

Intervention: Researchers will design the SLEEPS program as a universal curriculum that will be implemented in health classes as a way to increase middle school students' healthy sleep behaviors by changing their attitudes, subjective norms, and self-efficacy around sleep. Improvement in sleep behavior is expected to improve motivation, engagement, study skills, and interpersonal skills to enhance school functioning. The SLEEPS program will incorporate sleep information and strategies into an interactive classroom curriculum that teaches students about the importance of sleep, healthy sleep habits (e.g., sleep hygiene, stimulus control), and gives them tools to overcome sleep problems (e.g., meditation for insomnia). SLEEPS will also include materials for families to provide further support for healthy sleep behavior at home.

Research Design and Methods: In Year 1, the researchers will conduct focus groups with teachers, administrators, parents, and students to gather feedback that will inform revisions to the initial version of SLEEPS, followed by input from sleep experts on the theory of change and feasibility for middle schools. In Year 2, the researchers will use intervention demonstration sessions with teachers, students, and parents to determine feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, and effectiveness of SLEEPS. In Year 3, the researchers will conduct a pilot study using a school-level randomized blocked design to test the impact of SLEEPS on key process and outcome variables.

Control Condition: In the pilot study, schools that are randomly assigned to the control condition will continue with their usual practices and then they will implement SLEEPS after the pilot study is complete.

Key Measures: Process outcomes include parent sleep knowledge; student attitudes, norms, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions about sleep; student sleep quality, both objective (actigraphy — a non-invasive measure of sleep-wake cycles) and self-reported; and self- and parent-reported student sleep behaviors and daytime sleepiness. Student education outcome measures will include teacher ratings of students' motivation, engagement, study skills, and interpersonal skills (i.e., academic enablers), and school records of student discipline and attendance.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze data from the development studies. They will use multi-level modelling to examine SLEEPS impact on process and primary outcome variables.