Social Media Use Is Screwing Up Our Sleep Patterns

New research shows that young adults addicted to their social media feeds suffer when it's time to sleep


As much as we may hail the benefits of a good old-fashioned digital detox, we're all guilty of being antisocial and scrolling through our social feeds all day (oh, the irony!). But according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, all that absent-minded Facebook trolling might be harming more than just our IRL interactions. ( Are You Too Attached to Your iPhone?)

Researchers found that young adults who spend a lot of time on social media every day-or check their feeds frequently throughout the week-are more likely to suffer sleep disturbances than those who limit their use.

To study the link between sleep and social media, the scientists looked at a group of over 1,700 adults ages 19 to 32. Participants filled out a questionnaire asking how often they logged in to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn-the most popular social media platforms at the time of the study. On average, the participants spent just over an hour on social media each day and visited their various accounts 30 times per week. And thirty percent of the participants showed high levels of sleep disturbance. In other words, if you spend all day snapping, prepare to spend all night counting sheep. (What's Worse: Sleep Deprivation or Disrupted Sleep?)

Interestingly, the researchers found that the social media-savvy participants who checked in with their social networks most frequently were three times as likely to have sleep issues, while those who spent the most total time on social sites each day had only twice the risk of sleep disturbances.

The researchers concluded that more than total time spent on social media, constant, repeated checking in was the real sleep sabotager. So if you can't bear the thought of unplugging completely, at least make an effort to check less. Set aside a protected period of time each day to check in and get your social media fix. After that time is up, sign off. Your beauty sleep will thank you. (And try these 3 Ways to Use Tech at Night-and Still Sleep Soundly.)

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