Is Social Media Keeping You Awake?

Social media started to gain popularity in the early 2000s with platforms like MySpace. Over the last 20 years, it has expanded immensely to become part of everyday households. The ease and accessibility of modern social media has made it more common than ever to communicate at any time of day with the press of a button. It’s no wonder endless scrolling can keep us awake at night.

Benefits & Drawbacks of Social Media

Social media has opened so many doors for communication and networking. It can strengthen our connections with others beyond the confines of demographics, distance, and time. It can be a great outlet for those searching for support and interaction. Social media can even help us stay connected to loved ones through messages, pictures, and videos. While these benefits are numerous, there can be drawbacks to social media usage. Misuse or overuse of social media can intensify negative thoughts and feelings and increase stressful or anxious feelings. Many social media sites are designed to be addictive. This addiction can interfere with sleep quality and cause distractions that hinder our focus throughout the day. Overall, social media can have many benefits, but the key to finding those benefits requires a more mindful approach.

Social Media & Sleep

According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, around 70% of people stated they used social media after getting into bed, with nearly 15% of those people continuing to use it for at least an hour. Many of us can admit losing precious sleep time from scrolling too long. However, social media and screen usage can affect sleep in other ways. The blue light emitted from screens stimulates the brain, which causes increased alertness and changes in melatonin levels.  The content accessed on social media can impact sleep as well. Negative or even positive social posts can arouse emotions and feelings that make it tougher to fall asleep. A good night’s sleep can be disrupted by increasing levels of anxiety, depression, and even fear of missing out (FOMO) from social media scrolling. It is possible to use social media in a way that doesn’t impact sleep quality negatively. Think about how you can be more mindful of your social media habits before bedtime.

Choosing Healthy Habits with Social Media

Choose healthier habits when it comes to your use of social media. Think about your bedtime routine and how you can prepare your mind and body for sleep without social media. Try listening to music, reading a book, or practicing deep breathing. Give your social media a bedtime by choosing to turn off screens about a half-hour before sleep. If you find certain apps are causing more stress or negative feelings, think about ways you can limit your time or possibly delete them. Consider keeping a journal by your bed to jot down thoughts, ideas, and reminders to help clear your mind and prepare it for sleep. When we are more thoughtful about when, how, and why we use social media, we experience how it can positively impact our lives.

Continue reading March 2022 Newsletter: Sleep and Tea

Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP