Emily Bratcher is a contributing editor at Associations Now.
To raise awareness of the harmful effects of sleep deprivation on young people, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine enlisted students to spread the message in video form. Making it a contest added a fun element of competition.
What’s the great idea? “Make Time 2 Sleep” high school video contest
Who’s doing it? American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation
What’s involved? Sleep deprivation among teens is linked to everything from moodiness to poor grades. So in 2013, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation launched a video contest to raise awareness of the problem and promote solutions.
“Our intention really is to send the message that sleep is important and that there are a number of challenges that teenagers face in getting enough sleep,” says Dr. Jennifer Martin, president of the AASM Foundation. She says it’s part of a larger foundation strategy “to improve things that directly affect kids’ sleep, like start times for high school.”
Each year, the foundation receives video submissions from ninth- through 12th-graders all over the U.S., which are ranked by a panel of sleep experts. The first- and second-place winners receive $1,000 and $500 respectively, which they split with their school. A “people’s choice” winner, voted for online, is awarded $250.
The video contest replaced the foundation’s longstanding high school essay content to better pique student interest. This year, the organization received 43 “wonderful and creative” entries, Martin says.
“Our hope with the video contest is that it makes this kind of a fun way of educating the public—not just students, but the adults that make decisions on behalf of the students—about how important sleep is,” she says.
What are people saying? Martin says the contest has generated a high level of engagement on social media. “Because the winners of the contest earn money for their school, I’m sure that teachers and the surrounding community are appreciative of the opportunity to improve their schools,” she adds.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Pushing the Zzzzz’s.”]