Associations Between Sleep Hygiene and Insomnia Severity in College Students: Cross-Sectional and Prospective Analyses

Les A. Gellis, Aesoon Park, Miriam T. Stotsky, Daniel J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Although a small number of studies characterized cross-sectional associations between sleep hygiene and insomnia severity, no prior study has examined their relationships prospectively. Further, the relationship between sleep hygiene and insomnia severity among college students has rarely been examined. This study examined the prevalence of diverse sleep hygiene behaviors and their associations with insomnia severity in two independent samples of college students from a cross-sectional (N= 548; mean age = 19; 59% female; 71% White) and a two-wave short-term prospective (N= 157; mean age = 19; 71% female; 76% White) study. A total of 12% to 13% of students reported clinically significant insomnia. On average, students reported frequent engagement in inconsistent sleep-wake schedules and lounging and worrying/thinking about important matters in the bed. Improper sleep scheduling, behaviors that promote arousal near bedtime, and uncomfortable sleeping environments were positively associated with cross-sectional insomnia severity. After controlling for other well-established risk factors, only improper sleep scheduling remained significant. Prospectively, baseline improper sleep scheduling predicted insomnia severity at a 2-month follow-up after controlling for baseline insomnia severity and other well-established risk factors. Together, findings suggest a potential unique role of improper sleep scheduling in insomnia among college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)806-816
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • College health
  • Insomnia
  • Prospective study
  • Sleep hygiene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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