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Keywords:

  • self-help;
  • sleep;
  • university students;
  • worry

Background: There is mounting empirical evidence that poor sleep compromises well-being. Our study focused on university students who have persistent problems sleeping because their minds are racing with stimulating thoughts and worries. We evaluated three self-help interventions (constructive worry, imagery distraction, and a gratitude intervention) which were disseminated by e-mail. Methods: Forty-one participants (32 females) were randomly assigned to an intervention. Daily measures of sleep and pre-sleep worry and arousal were collected online during a baseline week followed by an intervention week. Results: Each intervention reduced worry and pre-sleep arousal, and improved sleep compared to baseline. One intervention did not differ from the others. Participants rated the interventions as moderately helpful. Conclusions: E-mailed self-help versions of constructive worry, imagery distraction, or a gratitude intervention helped university students quiet their minds and sleep better. This mode of delivery is feasible for broad distribution and at universities without access to sleep clinicians.