Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science

Primary Major

Global Public Health

Thesis Advisor

Micheala George, PhD, MPH



Sleep deprivation, characterized by insufficient or poor-quality sleep, is a prevalent public health issue. Recent statistics reveal that over 110 million Americans are suffering from sleep deficiency, and about 60% of college aged individuals suffer from sleep deprivation. Previous research suggests that theta wave therapy may help induce sleepiness. We aim to discover how these intervention strategies may contribute to improved sleep quality and overall well-being among college-aged individuals.


Participants were recruited using convenient sampling, then randomized into the intervention group and control group. Individuals self-reported demographics, baseline information and initial Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores using Qualtrics. The intervention group required those to have scheduled bedtime and wake time, and 10 minutes of theta wave therapy before sleep. The non-intervention group was given no specific instructions. Both groups recorded sleep metrics everyday for two weeks such as sleep duration, hours of light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep. At follow-up, all participants were asked to repeat the PSQI, to evaluate changes in the quality of sleep from the non-intervention group.


Results from data reveal individuals in the intervention group pre vs post was 7.00 (2.83 SD) and 4.88 (3.18 SD), p=0.041 with an improvement of 2.12 points going from poor quality sleep to good quality sleep, while the control group did not yield a statistically significant difference in scores pre vs post. Noticeable improvements were also seen among time to sleep, light sleep, and wake time scores.


Individuals in the intervention group reported better PSQI scores than those in the control group. Because the intervention used in this study is free and available to use on any smartphone, the ability to improve sleep quality is accessible and simple for a large population. Further research is required to determine the magnitude of the association, however, the public health implications are significant.