UNC-C and UNC-CH offer Sleep Degrees

New findings on sleep disorders are eye-opening.

• Almost one-third of American workers get fewer than six hours’ sleep a night, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• Learning, attention and behavior problems in kids have been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness, Penn State researchers found.

• Sleep apnea is associated with a higher cancer mortality, a Wisconsin study says.

As awareness of this health issue increases, officials at UNC Charlotte and UNC Chapel Hill are excited about a groundbreaking collaboration: offering the world’s first bachelor’s degree in neurodiagnostics and sleep science (NDSS). The online program, which will start with the fall semester, is through UNCC’s College of Health and Human Services’ Kinesiology Department.

The program – which includes a practicum and internship – involves interpretation of data, leadership classes, research and projects for presentation, understanding underlying biology, critical thinking skills and better writing skills, said Yvette Huet, interim chair of kinesiology at UNCC.

Huet said she’s never had a chronic sleeping problem, “But I know that if I don’t get sleep, my ability to function is negatively impacted, even short term. So I have certainly had issues with sleep for a variety of reasons over the course of my life, and if I were to have a more prolonged problem, I would definitely go and be evaluated at a sleep center. “I have several relatives who have had apnea that was diagnosed through sleep evaluations and who have then been prescribed different treatment modalities,” she said, “and it has made a significant positive impact on their quality of life.”

Given the increased focus on sleeping disorders in recent years, especially sleep apnea, this isn’t a onetime major. It’s been approved through UNC general administration as a bachelor’s degree program.

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