Over the months of February and March, ICSM Welfare successfully ran a sleep campaign that aimed to make students aware of the impact and importance of sleep on wellbeing. The primary objectives of the campaign were to aid students understanding about factors that influence sleep, sharing sleep hygiene tips and empower students to consult resources to improve sleep quality. Furthermore, the campaign aimed to work towards deconstructing the stigma that creates an inverse relationship between sleep and productivity. Finally, the team wished to address common misconceptions about sleep and their impacts on daily life. To effectively address these objectives, the team created various streams that were reflected in the structure of social media posts and stories.
The first stream that we explored was “Common Sleep Mistakes”. This aspect of the campaign raised awareness about simple actions that individuals may engage with in their daily routine that have potentially negative impacts on sleep quality. The common sleep mistakes stream made use of Instagram Reels to promote engagement within the ICSM community. This part of the campaign demonstrated that these mistakes are commonly made by the student body and emphasized that students are not alone in making these mistakes. It was enriching to see the reels be positively received by various members of the community, including our very own @marrianedoesmedicine!
The next element of the sleep campaign was the Sleep Speaker Series. In this segment, the team reached out to various experts in the sleep community externally to Imperial and aimed to gain insight on their research into a vast array of subtopics relating to sleep. The first talk was done by Dr. Kirstie Anderson, a Consultant Neurologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, who is a cofounder of Sleepstation and has done immense amounts of research in CBT for insomnia. Dr. Anderson spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on sleep and provided insight into early findings about the effects of the pandemic on students. The next talk was given by Professor Guy Leschziner, a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology and Sleep disorders centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. In his Q&A with our very own Mabel Prendergast, he delved into various sleep disorders, highlighting the scientific background of these conditions. Furthermore, the final talk was given by Professor Russell Foster, a Professor of Circadian Neuroscience and the Head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute in Oxford. In a Q&A session with Sajan Patel, Professor Foster explored circadian rhythms in the medical context, providing insight into many aspects including the impact of shift-work on sleep. All three of these talks can still be found under the series tab on our Instagram page!
Another exciting part of the campaign was the “It’s only one less hour of sleep” stream. To highlight the short- and long-term impacts of lost sleep, the team created a fictional story following a medical student, Alex, who has faced the consequences of missed sleep in his life and on those around him. This stream had strong grounding in scientific research and provided further resources that students could consult if they wished. It also bridged the gap between science and art – through the involvement of the incredible illustrator Natalie Yu, who designed, created, and brought Alex’s story to life. Natalie dedicated an immense amount of time in setting up and producing each animation on Procreate, emphasized by the subtle details she incorporated into each creation. This was complemented beautifully by the thorough research Mabel did into the short- and long-term effects of lost sleep.
Our final stream explored the science of sleep, highlighting key information in a simplistic manner. This part of the campaign focused on providing simple visual posts representing aspects such as recommended sleep durations, NREM/REM sleep, and circadian rhythms.
To promote engagement with various elements of the campaign, the team decided to incorporate a sleep giveaway for students who continuously engaged with the different streams. Prizes included a sunset alarm clock, LUSH gift set and UNIQLO slippers, symbolizing different aspects of sleep hygiene!
This year, ICSM has delivered lots of campaigns such as Black History Month, Mental Health, Finances, Blooms and Exam Stress. In a year where in-person interaction has been limited, the team has aimed to reach as many students as possible and provide support in these unprecedented times. Follow us @icsmwelfare on IG to get involved with the wonderful campaigns and events run by the Welfare team!