MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Director, Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory
Waco, TX 76798
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: There is a gap between what health behaviors individuals know they should adopt, and what those individuals actually end up doing. For example, a growing literature shows that simply educating students on the importance of sleep does not change their sleep behaviors. Thus, we need to think outside of the box for solutions.
In three classes, we have now investigated a motivational solution: if students can earn extra credit on their final exam for sleeping better, will they do so even during finals week?
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Extra credit points are a powerful motivator: 90% of students will sleep >7 hours/night and 50% of students will sleep >8 hours/night, if incentivized to do so. Students can sleep optimally during final exams week without hurting their final exam performance. In fact, we found that they did a few points better (prior to extra credit being added and when controlling for pre-final exam grades).
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The sleep community is making significant advancements in educating students and the general public on sleep science and sleep health. We still need to address the core reasons why education does not directly translate to behavioral change.
Some of the reason is motivational, some of the reason is cultural. Combining sleep education with additional interventions seems a fruitful future direction for closing this knowledge-behavior gap.
King, E. , Mobley, C. and Scullin, M. K. (2018), The 8‐Hour Challenge: Incentivizing Sleep during End‐of‐Term Assessments. Journal of Interior Design. . doi:10.1111/joid.12135
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