Checking your newsfeed on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter may be impacting your sleep according to a new research study published by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The design of the study involved 1,788 adults ranging from 19 through 32 years of age, the age group that uses social media most often. To measure the effects that social media has on sleep, participants were asked a series of questions to determine social media habits. Among some of the social media platforms that were included in the survey included Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.
Through questionnaires, researchers determined that the average time participants spent on popular social media networks like Facebook is around 61 minutes per day. The research study also found that this group checked their social media accounts 30-times per week. Through an analysis, the study determined that roughly 30% of participants who spent up to an hour on social media, and checked for updates 30 times a week reported sleep disturbances that were on the high end of the spectrum.
How does Social Media Disturb Sleep?
Researchers determined that social media activities, like uploading photos to Instagram, reduced the amount of sleep among users by over activating the brain during the initial stages of sleep. The study also determined that participants who engaged in discussions on Facebook such as posting to a newsfeed had emotional, cognitive and physiological arousal, which can make falling asleep difficult after high brain activity. While not exclusive to social media, the bright artificial lights emitted by mobile devices disrupt circadian rhythms, which can lead to poor sleep.
7 Steps to Better Sleep Hygiene
What to do?
Try not using any social media platforms at least one hour before going to bed. If you can’t do that, definitely turn off any noisy notifications your phone or tablet might make from social media notifications, and dim your screen when using social media before going to bed. Try to limit your engagement to just reading in the final hour before going to sleep.
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