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IU Sleep Walk participants take a step toward better health

Oct. 12, 2016

The first-ever IU Sleep Walk got people moving for a good cause. Nearly 700 IU employees and students from across IU’s campuses walked together on Sept. 27 to raise awareness for sleep health. Healthy IU and partners from the IU schools of medicine, nursing, public health, and physical education and tourism management hosted the walk, which coincided with the online “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge.

Sleep walk

IU Southeast employees and students participated in the first Sleep Walk. | PHOTO COURTESY OF HEALTHY IU

“Getting enough sleep is crucial for things like regulating mood, managing stress, and even preventing chronic disease and obesity,” said Patty Hollingsworth, director of Healthy IU, IU’s workplace wellness program. "We really want to spread the word to our IU family that getting enough sleep can improve lives."

With the help of IU chancellors and regional volunteer leaders, the Sleep Walk and its important message took place on each IU campus. “To have a university-wide event like this is special; we love the feeling that we are truly ‘eight campuses with one goal,’” Hollingsworth said. “We are grateful to the chancellors, Sleep Walk leaders, and participants who showed such great support for the walk.”

The Sleep Walk also featured the “Chancellor’s Challenge” -- a friendly competition between regional campuses to see who could have the most participation. IU Southeast won the Chancellor’s Challenge (and bragging rights!) by having over 350 Sleep Walk participants on their campus. Much of IU Southeast’s success was due to Chancellor Ray Wallace, who took it upon himself to personally invite members of the campus community to walk with him for sleep health; he even created a video!

Both the Sleep Walk and “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge included an educational component on how to get better sleep, including these eight habits:

  • Get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
  • Go to bed at about the same time every night.
  • Limit screen time one hour before bedtime.
  • Get moving for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Spend 15 minutes outside in morning daylight.
  • Do relaxing activities in dim lighting during the hour before going to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.

If you weren’t able to participate in the Sleep Walk or “Sleep Great IU!” Challenge, you can still make strides toward better sleep. Printable four-week logs to help track the sleep habits are available for both day- and night-shift workers.

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