Modifying the Sleep Treatment Education Program for Students to include technology use (STEPS-TECH): Intervention effects on objective and subjective sleep outcomes
University students often have sleep issues that arise from poor sleep hygiene practices and technology use patterns. Yet, technology-related behaviors are often neglected in sleep hygiene education. This study examined whether the Sleep Treatment Education Program for Students—modified to include information regarding managing technology use (STEPS-TECH)—helps improve both subjective and objective sleep outcomes among university students. Results of an experimental study among 78 university students showed improvements in objective indicators of sleep quantity (total sleep time) and sleep quality (less awakenings) during the subsequent week for students in the STEPS-TECH intervention group compared to a control group. Exploratory analyses indicated that effects were driven by improvements in weekend days immediately following the intervention. There were also no intervention effects on subjective sleep quality or quantity outcomes. In terms of self-reported behavioral responses to educational content in the intervention, there were no group differences in sleep hygiene practices or technology use before bedtime. However, the intervention group reported less technology use during sleep periods than the control group. These preliminary findings suggest that STEPS-TECH may be a useful educational tool to help improve objective sleep and reduce technology use during sleep periods among university students.