We suspected it and have now confirmed: social media is one of the main culprits for our insomnia. But it is not the fault of social media alone, but inside the quantity of hours we spend on it. It is not unusual to check if we have any social media notifications before bedtime and even in bed. This simple gesture, seemingly innocuous, could be more dangerous than we think for our healthy sleep.
A study conducted in 2014 by the Pittsburg University School of Medicine and recently published in the “Preventive Medicine” journal has determined a clear relationship between sleep problems of young adults and social networking.
Participants in this study were 1788 young adults aged between 19 and 32 years who answered a questionnaire about their use of the most popular social media platforms at the time (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr social networks Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn) and their sleep habits.
On average, participants used social media around an hour a day and visited their accounts 30 times a week. Participants who spent more time visiting social media throughout the day showed twice the risk of having sleep problems.
The study showed that 30% of participants had sleep problems.
How can social media disturb the sleep?
Here are three clear examples:
-Checking all of our social media can delay bedtime.
-Participating in social media discussions and debates or expecting answers to our updates can reactivate us intellectually and emotionally, causing us anxiety.
-The bright light devices to access social media can disrupt the circadian rhythm.
Jessica Levenson, lead author of this study, stated that the “frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media” adding that “if this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive ‘checking’ behavior may be most effective.”
If you suffer from sleep problems, changing the bad habit of checking social media before bedtime may help you sleep better.