Social Media Tied to Sleep Problems
Losing sleep over what you might be missing on social media may actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy. A new study has found that checking your social media feeds frequently raises the likelihood that you don’t get enough sleep.
The study, published in Preventive Medicine, intended to find out if young adults who regularly check their social media feeds throughout the day are more likely to experience sleep problems. The researchers found the average daily time spent on social media was about 61 minutes, with about 30 visits to the various websites each week.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine collected data among 1,788 adults between the ages of 19 and 32. Participants reported how often they used social media in minutes per day, and then split into one of four categories: 0 to 30 minutes per day, 31 to 60 minutes per day, 61 to 120 minutes per day, and 121 minutes or more per day.
They also told researchers how often they checked their feeds during the week. Social media included Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn. Next, the researchers calculated the amount of sleep participants were getting by using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Sleep Disturbance measure.
Researchers found that “frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media.” Participants who visited social media throughout the week were three times more likely to have sleep difficulties than those who checked their feeds less frequently.
Meanwhile, those who spent the most time each day on social media were twice as likely to have problems sleeping than those who spent less time online. In addition, women were more likely to have disrupted sleep, along with those who earned lower incomes.
On average, adults need about seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, but research shows many people sleep less than seven hours a night.
The study recommended that physicians ask patients about their social media use if they complain about sleep problems.
Don’t miss this week’s Slice of History: The 1st Social Security Check.