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IU employees develop high-quality sleeping habits using online program now available for licensing

Four-week “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge asked participants to incorporate evidence-based practices

For Immediate Release Oct 24, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A program that has proven successful in encouraging Indiana University employees to develop high-quality sleep habits is now available for use by other organizations, including institutions of higher education and businesses.

Results from a 2015 survey by the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI showed that 44 percent of IU employees did not regularly get enough sleep to function well in their job or in their personal life. Healthy IU, the university’s employee wellness program, responded by creating the “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge.

Patty Hollingsworth, director of Healthy IU, said lifestyle choices affect sleep. Good sleep hygiene does not solve all problems, she said, but it does help with many.

“There are a number of evidence-based practices that improve sleep. The IU sleep team narrowed the list to interventions that people are likely to try and that could have a high impact on the quantity and quality of sleep,” she said. “Giving individuals tools to try different sleep hygiene options and track their personal experiences is empowering. It allows people to figure out what works for them.”

The four-week program encouraged day-shift and night-shift workers to develop eight habits that promote better sleep. Participants used personal online trackers to record which habits they successfully completed for most of the week.

Almost 1,100 IU employees registered for the first “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge, which took place in 2016. Fifty-eight percent of participants reported an increase in energy levels, and 52 percent reported an increase in their ability to manage stress. Other results included:

  • A 33 percent reduction in the number of people sleeping less than seven hours.
  • A 55 percent reduction in the number of people who were dissatisfied with their sleep pattern.
  • A 40 percent reduction in the number of people who did not regularly get enough restful sleep to function well in their job and personal life.

Hollingsworth said Healthy IU will continue to encourage all employees to develop high-quality sleep habits.

“Insufficient sleep is a public health issue that needs the support of individuals, employers and communities to encourage improvement,” she said. “IU hopes to support this through the Sleep Great challenge and further research.”

Healthy IU disclosed the “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge to the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office, which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at Indiana University so it can be commercialized by industry. IU ICO has licensed the Sleep Great program to other institutions of higher learning, and Hollingsworth said the outcomes have been similar to those at IU.

For more information about licensing the Sleep Great program, email or call 317-278-8479 to contact Dan McNerny of IU ICO.

About Indiana University Innovation and Commercialization Office

Indiana University ICO is tasked with the protection and commercialization of technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated almost 3,000 inventions resulting in more than 4,500 global patent applications. These discoveries have generated more than $142 million in licensing and royalty income, including more than $115 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.

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