More and more people check their phones before turning in. It might sound like a problem among younger folks, but they aren’t alone. About seventy-five percent of device owners across all age groups admit to doing so, with nearly half saying they visit social media platforms at least once a day. According to researchers like Dr. Cory Harow, taking a break from social media may make a difference in sleeping habits and the overall quality of sack time. Unfortunately, increased reliance on technology has made it hard to give it up completely. A 2018 survey from self-care platform “Happy Not Perfect” revealed that three out of four users said they check social media within a half hour of heading to bed, and eighteen percent check in while they’re lying in bed.
The question is — are sleep patterns affected but this in bed tapping and scrolling? People with social media addictions say that they cannot stay away from the devices. “It takes all my willpower to get through a night without looking at Twitter or Instagram,” explains Abigail, one user. Dr. Cory Harow, a sleep expert who specializes in the treatment of sleep disorders, says it is about habits. What he’s discovered in his research is that modern society is not happy unless they are exposed to something on a constant basis. Oversaturated with social media, most people feel exhausted in the morning after a night of scrolling. This may be true, however not all users are affected the same way. If someone on Facebook or Instagram all the time, chances are, they may have a problem with addiction. Staying off social media altogether might not be an option for everyone, and at least one study suggests that there are several ways in which perusing social media before bed can affect sleep.
Last year, researchers at Stanford University asked individuals to complete a survey online before they went to bed. Participants answered questions about how much time they spent on their social media accounts and their general mood before bed. Based on the participants’ answers, the researchers collected information about their sleeping habits and tried to compare them to information about their Facebook usage. They found that those who reported spending less time on social media than their peers also reported fewer disturbed sleep and higher quality sleep overall. In terms of sleep quality, these subjects fell asleep faster and had a greater amount of deep sleep, a type of restorative sleep that is critical to health and well-being. The research team also surveyed users after they had put their phones down for an hour to see if they could return to their normal social media usage and also reported fewer hours of quality sleep.
It is recommended that the average adult get between five and seven hours of quality sleep per night. Signs that social media is affecting the amount and quality of sleep include walking too early, too often, and failing to wake up feeling fully rested in the morning.
Unplugging from devices at least an hour before bed and keeping the blue light of the device from the bedroom are good ways to avoid sleep issues related to social media usage. Making a habit of this can get the sleep deprived social media user back into a more balanced and well-rested state.