Do you ever worry about the negative effects of social media on your sleep? If so, here’s a warning worth sharing.
A study published in the journal Preventive Medicine linking social media use and sleep disturbance may make you reconsider how often you check your accounts. In an earlier blog post we touched on the importance of turning off all electronics at least 1 hour before sleep, especially cell phones, which nearly two-thirds of all people ages 18–64 have within reach while they’re in bed.1 However, this study from the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences takes it a step further. "This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep," said lead author Jessica C. Levenson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in University of Pittsburgh's Department of Psychiatry.
After studying nearly 1,800 frequent social media users, ages 19–32, there were two key findings:2
"This may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media," Dr. Levenson explained. "If this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive 'checking' behavior may be most effective."
It’s important to take this study with a grain of salt. As senior author Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D. points out, more study is needed, particularly to determine whether social media use contributes to sleep disturbance or whether it could be the other way around. "Difficulty sleeping may lead to increased use of social media, which may in turn lead to more problems sleeping. This cycle may be particularly problematic with social media because many forms involve interactive screen time that is stimulating and rewarding and, therefore, potentially detrimental to sleep."
There are a number of good sleep habits we recommend following to hit your sleep target. And while we’re not quite ready to update this list to include limited social media use, it’s probably a good idea to consider this study and adhere to the old adage, “everything in moderation.”
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.