Social media is great for staying in touch with friends and family but it can sometimes feel overwhelming! Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat, how much time do you spend scrolling through feeds? If you’re like the average American, you’re putting in more than an hour a day on one or more social media sites. While it may seem like a harmless habit, studies show there is a link between social media usage and poor sleep patterns.
In one study, researchers asked more than 1,700 adults in the U.S. between the ages of 19-32 to monitor their sleep and social media patterns. The results were startling. The average person checked their social media feeds 30 times per week, or between four and five times a day. While more than one-third of respondents suffered from high levels of sleep disturbances, people who spent more time on social media were twice as likely to have poor sleep quality. As for those who checked their feeds more frequently, they reported trouble sleeping three times more often.
It’s unclear whether more time on social media is causing people to get less sleep, or if people who get less sleep in the first place are more likely to be on social media. It’s possible it’s a combination of both, creating a vicious cycle.
That said, previous research has shown a strong correlation between blue light and sleep disturbances. Since most people engage in social media on devices that emit blue light, it’s no wonder that scrolling through feeds can have an impact on sleep quantity and quality.
In an attempt to decrease your screen time (and therefore limit blue light exposure), consider ditching all electronics an hour before bedtime. Read a book, call a friend or take a warm bath instead. Whatever you do, make it a habit. A steady bedtime ritual can make all the difference between restful slumber and a night of tossing and turning.
If you try limiting your screen time but still have trouble falling or staying asleep, learn more about how to train your body for a sleep schedule.