Trouble sleeping? Turn away from social media because researchers founds they are prone to fragmented sleep patterns among frequent users. There’s no doubt that social media has taken over the internet. Be it for pictures, posts, videos, or overall existing in the digital world, most people have an account here or there.
However, besides online bullying or fierce political debates that know no end, there are other issues that can be attributed to prolonged use. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study on 1,788 adults in the United States, aged between 19 and 32 years old. The purpose was to hone in on the effect of social media on sleep.
Previous studies have shown that smartphones and other gadgets may have an impact, but this is the first of its kind that directly concentrates on several platforms. The participants were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn. These are all major social media brands that have proven themselves popular among young adults.
According to their findings, each person spent, on average, around 61 minutes per day on social media and visited various accounts around thirty times per week. Over 50% of the participants reported problems sleeping that ranged from medium to high disturbances. And, apparently, those who often frequented social media had the biggest problems. This ranged from insomnia, trouble falling asleep, or not getting enough rest through the night.
Those who frequently checked social media throughout the week were three times more likely to report sleep disturbances. On the other hand, those who also spent the most total time on various platforms were twice as likely to have trouble sleeping. Whether frequency of use or total time, it seemed that avid social media users did report the most problems.
According to lead author of the study, Dr. Jessica Levenson, from the university’s Department of Psychiatry, this is the first time a study has shown the impact of social media on sleep. And it’s no wonder. Technically, this is the first generation to grow up with such an extensive diversity of social media platforms. They’re are in full bloom and too many options to count. However, it’s also very impacting.
This may indicate that young adults reporting sleep disturbances should also be inquired by doctors on their social media use. Then, perhaps a method to stop the “obsessive checking” should be one of the methods used. However, the matter requires more investigation. While there is a definite association, it’s difficult to say which influences which.
Does social media cause sleep disturbances? Do people with trouble sleeping frequent social media more often? Or it is a combination of both? It’s tough to tell, but the researchers will persist with their investigations.
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