New York | Teenage social media addicts beware! According to new research, teenagers who spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter during the day damage their sleep at night than their peers who use social media less.
This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep, says lead author Jessica C Levenson, a postdoctoral researcher in the psychiatry department at the University of Pittsburgh. 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.
For the study, researchers sampled 1,788 US adults ages 19 through 32, using questionnaires to determine social media use and an established measurement system to assess sleep disturbances. The questionnaires asked about the 11 most popular social media platforms at the time Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.
On average, the participants used social media a total of 61 minutes a day and visited various social media accounts 30 times a week. The assessment showed that nearly 30 per cent of the participants had high levels of sleep disturbance, the research said. The participants who reported most frequently checking social media throughout the week had three times the likelihood of sleep disturbances, compared with those who checked least frequently.
This may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media, Levenson said. If this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive ‘checking’ behaviour may be most effective.
The findings are published in the journal Preventive Medicine, indicate that doctors should consider asking young adult patients about these media habits when assessing sleep issues.
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