Sleep, Eat & Exercise

Course description

A majority of college students fall short of meeting the recommendations for physical activity, nutrition, and sleep (NCHA, Spring 2015). Sleep, Eat & Exercise gives students permission to spend some time taking care of their bodies, encourages them to set personally relevant and reasonable behavioral goals, and helps them understand how doing so supports their mental health, academic success, and overall well–being.


What is healthy, anyway? Health information is all around us, but it can be hard to decipher fact from fiction. Students are encouraged to be critical consumers and to view health from a holistic perspective that promotes overall wellbeing.

  • Defining health through eight dimensions of wellness
  • Understanding internal and external factors affecting health, with emphasis on lifestyle choices
  • Encouraging healthy body image and self-compassion
  • Identifying credible sources of health information

Behavior change can be challenging. Students not only learn about the change process and strategies for creating effective, long–lasting change, but also have the opportunity to apply their learning through experiential assignments that build their self–awareness and self–efficacy.

  • Understanding the Stages of Change
  • Assessing personal behaviors and readiness to change
  • Effective goal–setting
  • Tips for overcoming common barriers
  • Relapse prevention

A commonly cited barrier to getting adequate sleep, eating healthfully, and exercising is perceived lack of time, and many students struggle to manage their time effectively.

  • Clarifying values and priorities
  • Tips for effective time management
  • Understanding procrastination and strategies for addressing it
  • Mindfulness

Students learn about the function of key nutrients and how good nutrition fuels our bodies and affects our health.

  • Healthy eating patterns and recommendations
  • Cultivating a healthy relationship with food
  • Mindful eating
  • Tips for making healthy food choices
  • Cooking demonstration videos

Students are encouraged to move more by trying new things to find activities they enjoy and doing things they already do in more active ways.

  • Benefits of physical activity and risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle
  • Physical activity recommendations
  • Components of physical fitness
  • Principles of exercise training
  • Demonstration videos

Sleep matters! It’s not indispensable. Students learn about what happens during sleep and its impact on many dimensions of wellness.

  • Sleep recommendations
  • Factors that affect sleep and strategies for getting good sleep
  • Short– and long–term outcomes of poor sleep
  • Common signs of a sleep disorder
Opening quotes

The main strength was how the topics in this course all tie together and directly affect your life.

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Opening quotes

The course was a very helpful way for me to get motivated to make some positive changes in my life.

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Opening quotes

Even though this course is coming to an end, my motivation to continue to live a healthier lifestyle will continue on.

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Opening quotes

I have a better understanding of the necessity of effective sleep. This is the first semester I did not pull an all–nighter. My improved sleeping pattern allowed me to concentrate better in classes.

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Opening quotes

I feel like the course provided me with many ways to be overall happier and healthier.

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After taking the course,

96% of students reported improvement in time management behaviors
96% of students reported improvement in sleep behaviors
95% of students reported improvement in physical activity
97% of students reported improvement in nutrition

*2014 course evaluation data from the U of MN’s Office of Measurement Services