Young adults who spend a lot of time on social media can suffer sleep issues.
Young adults who spend a lot of time on social media or check their Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or instagram accounts too frequently can suffer sleep disturbance, according to a new study.
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Researchers from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that sleep issues in adults are more often than not linked to their social media habits and physicians should first ask their patients about the time they spend on social media before starting a treatment for sleep related disorders.
“This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep,” said Jessica Levenson, lead author of the study. “And it uniquely examines the association between social media use and sleep among young adults who are arguably the first generation to grow up with social media.”
Researchers surveyed around 18,000 US adults aged between 19 and 32 back in 2014 and found that participants use social media on average 61 minutes per day and visit different social media accounts 30 times per week. The participants who reported frequent use of media throughout the week had double the risk of having disturbed sleep than those who use social media less or occasionally.
“This may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media,” said Levenson. “If this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive checking behavior may be most effective.”
If a person sleeps late or does not get enough or quality sleep due to posting photographs on Instagram and participating in discussions on Facebook, then it may eventually lead to sleep disturbance. Alternately, some also start using social media if they find it difficult to fall asleep. It starts a kind of vicious circle which is very difficult to escape.
“Difficulty in sleeping may lead to increased use of social media, which may in turn lead to more problems sleeping,” said co-author Brian Primack from Pitt’s School of Health Sciences. “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.”
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Researchers suggest that further studies are required to determine whether social media use actually lead sleep disturbance and if yes, then to what extent?