Photo illustration of the concept of sleep with a peacefully sleeping woman with images of a fish, water and a boat around her

Powerful medicine: Understanding the importance of sleep for students

This article originally appeared in the spring/summer 2023 edition of Think magazine. This summer, The Daily will share some of the articles from the latest edition of the magazine. View more stories at

Photo of Heidi Moawad
Heidi Moawad

When Heidi Moawad, was a medical resident working 80- to 90-hour weeks, sleep deprivation was a constant. She learned to live with it, but she doesn’t think it’s ideal or healthy for students—or anyone else—to sacrifice sleep in pursuit of a goal.

Now a clinical assistant professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Moawad (CWR ’91, MED ’95), also teaches a SAGES undergraduate course called “The Biology of Sleep and Dreams.”

She stays current on the latest sleep research—and has a front-row seat on student sleeping habits and what most intrigues them about this daily ritual.

“Unless there’s a serious underlying disease, a lot of treatment for sleep issues is around lifestyle,” Moawad said. “It’s something we’ve all suspected, but now science is really proving that getting enough rest is something you need to strive (for) rather than pushing through on not enough sleep.”

But she encourages anyone who tosses and turns for hours not to stress about it. “Just resting your body is beneficial,” Moawad said. “Let yourself chill in the dark; let your mind wander.”

Read the full story on the Think magazine website.