Background and Context

Course History

The Science of Sleep (PHYL 160) was developed, approved by the College's Curriculum Committee and first taught by Dr. John Rand in Fall 2002 using a standard lecture format (non-SENCERized). The College accepted the course as a life science core requirement, and student enrollment has been at its maximum capacity every semester it has been taught. This is the only course of its kind within the University of Hawaii system and it is used to inspire and/or attract students to the fields of science as well as promote the scientific method and the importance of experimentation to non-science majors.

Initial funding for the development came from a grant from the National Institute of Health - IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and was intended to expand and develop Hawaii's competitive biomedical research capacity. Funding from INBRE provided funds for faculty reassigned time to development the course and for the purchase of course materials including the actigraph watches.

Over the years numerous topics related to sleep science have been presented to undergraduates that include (naming a few):

  • Sleep Regulation
  • Sleep Function
  • Sleep Maturation
  • Sleep Phylogeny
  • Sleep Physiology
  • Sleep Pharmacology
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Polysomnography
  • Circadian Rhythms

In 2005, Mr. Collin began teaching the PHYL 160 course and with the help of Dr. Rand reintroduced the course using the SENCER model. Dr. Rand's original idea of having students keep a sleep journal during the semester was built upon and expanded to provide to students the opportunity to analyze their own qualitative (sleep survey) and quantitative (actigraphy) sleep measurements and expose their results in a scientific format. Since sleep hygiene may be an important factor to minimize sleep debt, emphasis was made on this subject: students are given the opportunity to write articles on this subject and publish in the College newspaper as part of their civic engagement.