Date of Award

Fall 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Walter Buboltz


Sleep difficulties are becoming progressively more common among university students and may be related to increased academic and emotional difficulties. Psychoeducational interventions are among the most effective methods for reducing sleep difficulties and are significantly better than pharmacological treatments. Attempts to demonstrate the effectiveness of such treatments among university students are not present in the literature.

The purpose of this study was to develop the Sleep Treatment Education Program for Students (STEPS) and evaluate its effectiveness to improve sleep habits and reduce sleep complaints. The study used a double blind, experimental design. Participants in the treatment condition received Sleep Hygiene Guidelines, Stimulus Control Instructions, information about caffeine content, and a brief lecture describing the impact of poor sleep quality on university students. The control group students were informed about the scientific methods of behavioral sciences.

Students in the treatment group reported significant improvements in their overall sleep quality and habits. Bedtime worries about sleep difficulties, inconsistent sleep times, nighttime thirst, and caffeine use accounted for the most variance in poor sleep quality. These results suggest that inception of an inexpensive student sleep awareness program such as STEPS may significantly reduce or prevent sleep difficulties in university students.