Peltz’s Research in Sleep Health – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Peltz’s Research in Sleep Health

Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation, has accepted Assistant Professor of Psychology Jack Peltz’s recent study of college students’ sleeping habits.

In “The Indirect Effects of Sleep Hygiene and Environmental Factors on Depressive Symptoms in College Students,” Peltz and Ronald Rogge, associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, use data from students at HWS, U of R, and other colleges across the country to examine sleep-related predictors of depressive symptoms in the college student population.

In order to extend the research that links poor sleep quality and depressive symptoms, Peltz and Rogge examined how predictors of sleep (such as environmental noise disturbances, pre-bedtime media usage and sleep hygiene) might ultimately connect with college students’ depressive symptoms. Their findings suggest that both greater environmental noise disturbances as well as poor sleep hygiene factors predict poorer sleep quality, which in turn predicts higher levels of depressive symptoms.

“There are a few specific practical steps that colleges might take toward supporting positive sleep habits,” Peltz says, noting that because most college students are not fully aware of the concept of sleep hygiene (those habits and practices conducive to consistent sound sleep), they might benefit from receiving sleep hygiene tips.

“Second, colleges can help to protect their students’ sleep,” Peltz continues. “They can provide residential space for students who want quiet after 10 p.m. Finally, the American Academy of Pediatricians recently issued a suggested high school start time (because adolescents can also suffer from insufficient sleep). That start time is 8:30 a.m. Although it would require a lot of changes in colleges’ daily schedules, classes should not start before 8:30 a.m. if we are to support better sleep habits in college students and ultimately optimize their potential.”

The article will appear in the summer issue of Sleep Health, a multidisciplinary journal that explores sleep’s role in population health and elucidates the social science perspective on sleep and health.

Peltz, who joined the faculty in 2013, earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Rochester, his M.A. in child development from Tufts University and his B.A. in Japanese from Middlebury College.

He recently received a grant from the National Sleep Foundation to examine influences on insufficient sleep in high school students. He is currently recruiting for Project R.E.S.T., which seeks to understand various influences of sleep disturbance in adolescents. For more information about the study, or to find out how to participate, contact Peltz at peltz@hws.edu.