Lion and her friend Lamb are entering the fifth-grade science fair! Can you help them by participating in their research?
- Count the number of letters in your first name. If the number is odd, sometime in the first four hours after waking on February 20th, please take THIS short survey.
- If the number of letters in your first name is even, right before bed on February 19th, please watch this video (also posted below). Then, sometime in the first four hours after waking on February 20th, please take THIS short survey.
Lion & Lamb
Purpose: To determine if guided sleep meditation videos improve sleep
Background: In general, about 35.3% of Americans sleep less than 7 hours, which is less than recommended. Poor sleep can be caused by insomnia, sleep apnea, anxiety, stress and worry, Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Paralysis, narcolepsy, PTSD, working swing shift or “graveyard” shifts, or medication.
Sleep is very important because, for teens and kids, it can help hormones develop properly. Another reason why sleep is so crucial is because rest can help boost decision-making skills, improve social interactions, improve grades, and even help people control basic emotions. Health consequences of poor sleep include poor memory, stress, hunger, inattentiveness, poor wound healing, depression, weight gain/loss, diabetes, and stunted growth.
Because sleep is so important, people who have trouble sleeping often complain about not being able to sleep properly and seek help. In fact, 31.4% of people have done an online search for sleep remedies, and Americans spend an astonishing $32 billion dollars every year on improving their sleep. They purchase herbal supplements, use methods like lucid dreaming, and watch videos or tutorials on guided sleep meditation.
We are going to look deeper into this and see if a certain method of this, more commonly known as ‘guided sleep meditation,’ improves sleep.
Question: Do people who listen to, watch, or listen to and watch a guided sleep meditation video report better sleep than those who do not?
Hypothesis A: People who listen to and/or view a guided sleep meditation video before going to sleep will report falling asleep faster, sleeping with fewer interruptions, and waking feeling more refreshed than people who do not.
Hypothesis B: People who listen to and view a guided sleep meditation video before going to sleep will report falling asleep faster, sleeping with fewer interruptions, and waking feeling more refreshed than they do when they do not listen to and/or view a guided sleep meditation.
Sampling techniques: We will ask our parents and older siblings to invite their friends to participate in our research on social media, such as Facebook. Participants with first names that have an odd number of letters make up the control group. Participants with first names that have an even number of letters make up the experimental group.
Variable: exposure to a sleep meditation video
Materials: sleep meditation video created by Lamb (writer) and Lion (artist); social media accounts of their parents and older siblings; survey about sleep patterns
- Lamb records a guided meditation.
- Lion then draws a representation of that recording.
- Lamb creates a YouTube video matching the recording with the images.
- Lion and Lamb write a survey measuring quality of sleep for participants using Survey Monkey.
- Lion and Lamb pilot the survey on Lion’s mother and brother and revise it based on their feedback.
- Lion and Lamb share their video and their survey with their parents and older siblings to share on social media on February 19th. They include the following directions: “Please help our daughter and her friend complete their science fair project. People in the control group (those of you with an odd number of letters in your first name) should take the CONTROL GROUP survey (10 questions, about 2 minutes) in the comments section below within 4 hours of waking up tomorrow. People in the experimental group (those of you with an even number of letters in your first name) should watch the video below before going to bed tonight, then complete the EXPERIMENTAL GROUP survey in the comments within 4 hours of waking up tomorrow. People under 18 should ask an adult’s permission before they participate in this research. Results are anonymous.”
- Participants conduct the experiment on their own from February 19-February 20.
- Participants complete their surveys on February 20.
- Lion and Lamb analyze the data for patterns and display it at the science fair.
Participants in the control group did NOT listen or watch the video, but participants in the experimental group listened to and/or watched the video. We surveyed to measure the following:
- How fast they fell asleep
- How long they slept
- How many times they woke up during the night
- How “refreshed” or satisfied they were with their sleep when they woke
- A grand total of how they would rate their sleep
Here are the results for the CONTROL GROUP.
- About 40% fell asleep right away.
- About 42% slept 7 hours or fewer.
- 26% slept better, 48% slept the same as, and 26% slept better than the night before.
- Some people woke up as frequently as 4 – 5 times during the night.
- 1% reported that they were not refreshed at all, 32% were somewhat refreshed, 55% were moderately refreshed, and a total of 3% (1 person) had a terrific rest (Good for them!).
- 10% said their sleep was terrible, 36% said it was okay, 55% said it was moderate, and 3% said it was terrific.
Here are the results for the EXPERIMENTAL GROUP.
- About 64% fell asleep right away.
- 18% slept 7 hours or fewer; most people slept more than 7 hours.
- 37% slept better than, 46% slept about the same, and 18% reported sleeping worse than the night before.
- Nobody woke up more than 3 times.
- 9% were not refreshed at all, 18% were somewhat refreshed, 73% were moderately refreshed, and 0% had a terrific rest.
- 0% rated their night as sleep as terrible, 27% rated it okay, 64% called it good enough, and 9% said their sleep was terrific.
Above, results for the control group and, below, results for the experimental group, in response to the question “Last night when you went to bed, did you fall asleep right away?”
Above, results for the control group and, below, results for the experimental group, in response to the question “Last night, about how many hours did you sleep?”
Above, results for the control group and, below, results for the experimental group, in response to the question “In comparison to the night before, how well did you sleep last night?“
Above, results for the control group and, below, results for the experimental group, in response to the question “How many times did you wake last night?”
Below, tables compare how refreshed respondents felt and how they ranked their sleep on a scale from “terrible!” to “terrific!”
You can find all our results charts and tables in printable form as well.
Both Hypothesis A and Hypothesis B were supported by our findings. People who listened to and/or watched our guided sleep meditation video fell asleep faster, slept more hours, reported better sleep than the previous night, woke fewer times, felt more refreshed, and ranked their overall sleep better than those who did not listen to and/or watch our guided sleep meditation video.
Discussion: Our experiment confirmed both hypotheses: people sleep better on all measures (falling asleep quickly, sleeping longer, waking less often, feeling more refreshed after sleep, and reproting that they slept well) when they liten to and/or watch a guided sleep meditation video. They also sleep better compared to people who do not listen to and/or watch a guided sleep meditation video.
Our findings could be applied to hep more people achieve high-quality sleep, which in turn could reduce stress, improve memory and learning, decrease certain diseases, improve healing, and promote growth. Best of all, our findings prove that this can be done for free, just by people creating and sharing guided sleep meditation videos!
Our study had some limitations. We did not directly observe people’s sleeping. Instead, we asked them to report on their sleeping through a survey. they could have lied, on purpose or by accident. People who are skeptical of guided meditation could have unerestimated its effect on them. The placebo effect could have made other participants report better sleep than they really experienced, just beause they believe taht guided meitation works. Also, we did not collect demographic information about people, such as their age or gender of if they have any disabilities. Therefore, we do not know if our guided meditation works for every group or just for some. Finally, we did not research why guided meditation works. Is it the images? The colors? The words? The tone of voice? Further research could explore what characteristics in guided meditation are most effective at improving quality of sleep.
American Sleep Association. Sleep deprivation – Symptoms, causes, dangers and treatment. (No Date.) https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-deprivation/
Hershner, S.D., and Chervin, R. D. (2014). Causes and consequences of sleepiness among college students. Nature and Science of Sleep (6): 73-84.
Jones, J. M. (2013, Dec. 19.) In U.S., 40% get less than recommended amount of sleep. Gallup. http://news.gallup.com/poll/166553/less-recommended-amount-sleep.aspx
Kiger, P. J. (2014, Nov. 17). The state of sleep deprivation. National Geographic. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/sleepless-in-america/articles/the-state-of-sleep-deprivation-in-america/?_ga=2.225530202.1999547025.1519083968-849159163.1497569277.
Yarrow, K. (2013, January 28th) The sleep industry: why we’re paying big bucks for something that’s free. Time. https://r-login.wordpress.com/remote-login.php?action=auth&host=business.time.com&id=31173800&back=http%3A%2F%2Fbusiness.time.com%2F2013%2F01%2F28%2Fthe-sleep-industry-why-were-paying-big-bucks-for-something-thats-free%2F&h=