A personalised journey to optimise your sleep by learning more about sleep, evaluating your own sleep and applying basic principles of good sleep practise.
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Course Description

This online sleep course is designed for adults who are concerned about their sleep, and the consequences it may be having on their well-being, professional and even social lives. If you:

  • are longing for a good nights sleep,
  • regularly experience broken or disrupted sleep
  • can't remember when you last woke up feeling refreshed,
  • feel unnecessarily sleepy or catch yourself dozing off during the daytime,
  • or are wondering whether your poor sleep is impacting your well-being or daytime functioning, then this course is for you.

    The presentations and videos in this course are designed to enrich your understanding of sleep, answer common sleep-related questions, and equip you with valid tools to interrogate your sleep pattern, environment and associated habits. During this sleep short course, you will receive an overview of the basics of sleep and health; be introduced to valid sleep measurement tools; and you will assess your own sleep over the course of a week to build your personal sleep profile. With this in hand, you will learn to interpret your profile, identify likely disrupters of your sleep, and apply evidence-based practical tips and strategies which you can implement to optimise your sleep.

Target Audience 

  1. Individuals who are concerned that their poor sleep is impacting their school or work performance or their health
  2. Any person seeking to make changes to their sleep-related behaviours in order to improve their sleep
  3. People with a general interest in sleep and health
  4. Health professionals who would like to learn more about sleep

What will I learn?  

  1. Understand the perks of sleeping well and the consequences of not sleeping enough.
  2. Establish a better understanding of how well you currently sleep and how high your sleep debt is.
  3. Achieve tailored skills to improve your sleep.
  4. Start a 3-week sleep camp to pay off your sleep debt and reset your body clock.
  5. Conduct basic assessments of movement behaviours and skills with children and adolescents.
  6. You will learn the most common bad sleep habits and how to avoid them.
  7. You will learn how to keep a sleep diary and how to interpret the results.


Each module will have four multiple choice questions. Students will have unlimited attempts to answer these questions. A certificate of completion will be issued once all of the assessments have been completed.


Previous experience and knowledge is not required. 

Dr. Dale Rae

Dr Rae is a Senior Researcher at the Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre, within the Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa and the Director of Sleep Science at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. She obtained a PhD from UCT in 2007 and has worked at UCT ever since.
Dr Rae’s passion is sleep and her research focuses on sleep and circadian rhythms in humans. She notes that sleep, driven by our circadian (24h) rhythms and critical for our survival, is often one of the first aspects of our lifestyle to be compromised in a world in which we are forever seeking more hours in the day. She is particularly interested in how sleep is associated with health, disease and obesity, and the relationship between sleep, the body clock and physical performance. Dr Rae has established her own Sleep and Chronobiology research group at UCT, collaborates with local and international researchers, has attracted funding, graduated students and produced many peer-reviewed publications in this field.
Through her research, Dr Rae became aware of just how many people suffer from poor sleep and its consequences. She realised that despite the cutting edge sleep research taking place in academia, the practical applications thereof often failed to trickle down to the people most in need of help with their sleep. In response to this, and together with colleagues and co-instructors on this course, Rob Henst and Paula Pienaar, she launched the business Sleep Science in 2017 at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. The vision of Sleep Science is ‘a healthy nation through sound sleep’. Through Sleep Science, Dr Rae and her colleagues are able to translate sleep research into best practice interventions designed to make a difference to the sleep of the general public.

Paula R. Pienaar

Paula Pienaar is a Sleep Scientist and PhD candidate within the Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and a co-founder of Sleep Science at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
She is a registered biokineticist and has 10 year's experience in the field of corporate health, chronic disease management and orthopedic rehabilitation. It is during her clinical and corporate health work that she realised a great need for sleep health awareness and its benefits for the prevention and management of chronic disease.
Paula is passionate about ensuring that evidence-based research is translated into practical health solutions for all individuals and organisations. Her interest in the association between poor sleep and chronic disease has manifested in a joint PhD with Vrije University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her research is focused on the impact of poor sleep on workplace health and performance. With her clinical and research experience, Paula aims to create tailored sleep health interventions for employees and their companies, and believes that good sleep is a vital ingredient to happy, healthy and productive employees.
Being of a South African and Argentinian descent, she enjoys learning about cultures, exploring new destinations, and traveling. A good brisk walk or long run surrounded by natural beauty is what keeps her sane

Rob Henst

Rob Henst is a co-founder and Sleep Scientist of Sleep Science at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, and a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Rob is interested in sleep improvement strategies to help individuals lose weight and minimize the risk for developing non-communicable diseases. His areas of expertise include circadian rhythms and wearable technology. When Rob isn’t helping others sleep better, he spends time doing outdoors activities such as hiking and camping. Rob Henst grew up in the Netherlands, but now resides in Cape Town, South Africa. 

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