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Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem
life are needed. First and foremost, university administrators need to recognize and acknowledge that students’ sleep habits and problems are an important component of campus life. Including content regarding sleep in orientation programs, even in the form of a simple informational flier, may provide a forum for further discussions in other types of programs and activities. Advisors might ask basic questions regarding overall sleep patterns and make recommendations regarding class times that are more compatible with a student’s normal sleep patterns. Further, university and college administrators should examine how campus and community environments, such as activities, schedules, sports, and work routines, contribute to sleep disruption (Buboltz et al., 2001) and encourage academic departments to educate their faculty regarding the sleep-related problems of students (Miller and Shattuck, 2005). In addition, awareness campaigns should be developed to target undergraduate students in dormitories and academic health centers. Similar effective programs have been developed for public health campaigns concerning sexually transmitted disease, alcohol abuse, nutrition, and suicide. For example, the American College Athletic Association and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators have helped design and integrate a number of public health campaigns for college students, such as the Health Education and Leadership Program.
Undergraduate Somnology and Sleep MedicineCurriculum Development
Colleges and universities can both educate students and stimulate interest in the field by making simple cost-effective changes in curriculum. For example, at the United States Military Academy, the general psychology course that is taken by all freshmen now includes information on acute and chronic sleep loss (Miller and Shattuck, 2005). Numerous other types of freshman courses, such as general health, biology, and sports education, might include similar content and easily incorporate it with other health-related information such as nutrition, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide prevention (Miller and Shattuck, 2005). Offering an elective course, perhaps in collaboration with an academic sleep center, might also help recruit future clinicians and scientists to the field. Curriculum recommendations for both nursing and undergraduate medical students have recently been proposed (Strohl et al., 2003; Lee et al., 2004). Other types of novel activities might include the following:
Develop undergraduate research experiences in sleep to increase the interactions of these students with graduate students in this area (Box 5-1).
Develop sleep consortiums among two or more universities and educational programs that could be shared using advanced technology, as the