UGA Sleep Study

Utilizing IoT technology to study and improve student-athlete sleep patterns

Division I student-athletes at every university face the same problem: They're time is stretched too thin. From practice to academics to media coverage to study halls, everyone wants a piece of the pie. University surveys have shown that these time constraints are directly correlated with student-athlete sleep deprivation.
Jan. 2018 - May 2018
New Media Capstone
Our team worked with Dr. Ronald Courson, Senior Associate Athletic Director of Sports Medicine within the UGA Athletic Association, to help find a solution to the lack of sleep student-athletes get and how it impacts their daily performance and lives overall. By utilizing emerging technologies, we tested and gathered both qualitative and quantitative data on various Internet of Things (IoT) sleep tracking devices to determine which would be most beneficial to student-athletes. In addition to the research aspect of this project, we developed a multimedia campaign that compromised of various content, including but not limited to digital graphics, infographics, videos and more.
My Contributions
While my team and I were heavily involved in each aspect of the project, there were certain tasks that I either completed on my own or with assistance of another team member. My roles included designing visual material, such as the logo and digital media graphics using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, designing and analyzing a survey for the multimedia campaign, creating questionnaires for focus groups and assisting in conducting focus groups with other team members, testing and gathering data on sleep tracking technology, and working with other team members to design and develop the website for our project. 

How might we utilize IoT tech to help improve student-athlete sleep patterns and result in better performance on and off the field?

01 Sleep Study Research
Literature Review
Technology Research 
Sleep Data Gathering
Focus Groups
02 Design
Branding & Visual Design
Website Development
03 Multimedia Marketing Campaign
User Research
Content Production
Sleep Study Research
Literature Review

We know sleep is important, but just how much does it impact our daily lives and performance?

For the first component of our research, our group read the book Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker. This book was recommended and provided to us by our client Dr. Courson, the Senior Associate Athletic Director of the UGA Department of Sports Medicine, and allowed us to gain insight on the importance of sleep and how it works on an anatomical level. This book provided statistics, insights, and medical knowledge that shaped a great deal of our subsequent work. This book quickly became our "sleep bible", and we used the valuable information to gain insight on the student athletes we aimed to help. 
Check out our key takeaways below.
Technology Research

What are some effective sleep tracking technology that could be used by students?

There are dozens of IoT sleep tracking devices, each with a unique set of characteristics and data metrics. We evaluated each based on four criteria: Accuracy, Consistency, Ease of Use, and Specificity of Metrics.
After careful consideration, we narrowed it down to two devices: The Beddit, and the Fitbit Alta HR. Our next step was to take a deeper dive into these devices. We purchased a few of each, and gathered data on our own sleep patterns for roughly two months. After a period of time using the devices separately, we tested the devices simultaneously on the same subject (one of us) to compare them relative to the other.
The winner? The Beddit.
Released in 2016, the Beddit is a thin pad that goes under your sheets, collects sleep data, and then aggregates that data to provide a numerical "sleep score" that represents how well you slept. While the Beddit was only slightly superior to the Fitbit Alta HR in terms of Accuracy and Consistency, we ultimately chose the Beddit for ease of use and specificity of data gathered.
Ease of Use: The Beddit only requires a simple account setup on any iPhone or iPad before use. No night by night maintenance required. Just sleep!
Specificity of Metrics: At the end of the day, the Beddit just provided us with more specific measurements of our sleep than any other device. Heart rate, temperature, breaths per minute, time snoring, to name a few. Check out the dashboard below!
Sleep Data Gathering
While testing for our four criteria, we figured we might as well use the available data to identify trends in our own sleep patterns. Specifically, we wanted to look for trends relating to one metric in particular: Temperature.
How does the temperature of the room effect overall quality of sleep? Because the Beddit provides a numerical valuation for overall sleep quality, we measured the indirect correlation between Sleep Score and Temperature.
The scatter plot above illustrates that as room temperature goes up, breaths per minute will likely rise. 
The scatter plot above illustrates that as the number of breaths per minute rises, resting heart rate will also increase.
Our final scatter plot shows that, based on our collected data, an increase in resting heart rate will have an impact on one's Sleep Score for any given night.
All of this to say, cooler temperatures = better sleep.
Focus Groups
Through the UGA Athletic Association, we conducted focus groups with seven of UGA's athletic teams. Each focus group lasted 20 minutes, and consisted of both a written survey and a guided discussion on student-athlete sleep patterns.
From Football to Gymnastics, we gathered invaluable data and insights from 38 student-athletes that spoke specifically to the knowledge, views, and beliefs of student-athletes at UGA. We were able to learn more about their sleep habits and perspectives, which allowed us to gauge what they want and what they need out of this project. 
Branding & Visual Design
Since our team worked with the University of Georgia Athletic Association, we wanted to stick with a visual design that represented UGA. 
For our logo, we wanted to play off the idea of the UGA mascot and merge it with the idea of sleep. I designed a bulldog with z's appearing out of his head to represent the combined idea. There are 3 versions of the logo to use for different mediums, including our marketing campaign. 
We chose the LATO type font because of the similarity to the font UGA uses in their athletic promotions and signage and we wanted to keep the material familiar for student-athletes. Since athletics play such an important role at UGA, and especially since our target users are student-athletes, we of course chose to use UGA brand colors to maintain a consistent messaging. 



Main Headings - 30 px 

Sub Headings - 24 px 

Body - 14 px 






Website Development
Our website is a display of the results of our findings in an easily consumable and accessible way. I worked alongside a team member to design and develop the website using HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap. Our goal was to formulate certain design aspects which enable salient information concerning sleep to be as digestible as possible. Our design also incorporates insights gathered from the various surveys as well as the research we have conducted.
User Research
Our focus for the multimedia campaign research was to determine how to best implement a multimedia campaign concerning
the importance of sleep. We wanted to understand what student athletes care about, what they pay attention to, and how to design a campaign that will be effective. We asked questions to gauge how effective messages are when displayed in different ways - for instance on social media vs. a poster vs. on tv. In terms of length, we wanted to construct a survey that is concise and covers the most important points in influencing a media campaign. We have designed questions to gauge their
media consumption habits to best gear our campaign toward those preferences. We also included questions on how messages affect their behavior, as well as how often they spend time in the Athletic facilities on campus where we plan to implement various components of our multimedia campaign. This survey is intended not only to gain insight on how to design our campaign, but more importantly how we can effectively and meaningfully reach student athletes.
Our implementation strategy relies heavily on their feedback to the survey, and for that reason we have carefully designed these questions to guide us. Our survey was given at the SAAC meeting that meets bi-monthly and brings together athletes from different types of sports. This sample was ideal because we were looking to design and employ a media campaign that reaches all types of athletic groups and sports. 
Content Production
After conducting the focus groups and surveys and analyzing the data, we began creating content for the multimedia campaign. The results of the survey will give us an insight into what type of content will be most effective in reaching the student athletic body. For the campaign, we created infographics that illustrate facts about sleep, motivational and informational flyers, informational videos about sleep, and social media graphics. 
The content from this campaign will be displayed across different locations on campus, such as Butts-Mehre and the Stegeman training facility, as well as through media platforms such as e-marketing emails and social media. We also created template versions of our content so that the UGA Athletics Association can easily create new content as they move forward with this sleep study in the summer and upcoming semesters.
Future Work
Our research and our findings will serve as the basis of a future sleep study with the UGA Athletic Association during the summer. Dr. Ron Courson will be using our trial data, notes, technology choices, and multimedia campaign for a future sleep study to encourage healthier sleeping habits for the student athletes of the University of Georgia.
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