Social Media and Sleep—Like Oil and Vinegar—Just Don’t Mix

At Bloomer Telephone Company, we want to keep you connected to family, friends and fun—and keep you informed about all things tech-related.

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the effects social media can have on sleep. An article from the Sleep Foundation states that excessive use of social media close to bedtime can reduce sleep quality and increase the risk of a multitude of sleep issues.

As day turns into night, your brain naturally prepares for sleep, but looking at social media signals your brain and body to remain active and engaged. Scrolling through social media provides endless stimulation and some content can set off a cortisol (stress hormone) release that further inhibits sleep. Actively engaging in an online conversation, especially if it’s a “hot” topic, can have serious negative effects on sleep.

And it’s not just the social media stimulation that is the problem. The blue light emitted from digital screens can interfere with circadian rhythms—those 24-hour internal rhythms that control the sleep-wake cycle. Blue light makes us feel alert and energized, which is not the best when we are trying to sleep. Melatonin (the sleep hormone) is suppressed by blue light. Lack of melatonin makes falling (and staying) asleep harder.

For some, the fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) is just too great a pull. But a “quick” social media check before bed can quickly become an hour of lost sleep. All that “quick” checking can lead to struggles to fall asleep, reduce the quality of sleep, and leave you feeling unrested in the morning.

So, what can you do?

  • Give yourself a break: Try to step away from the screen every day, especially before bed.
  • Notice your FOMO: Recognize your anxiety about missing out. Rather than giving in to that anxiety and checking your social media, try some relaxation exercises.
  • Silence alerts and notifications: Unless you are a brain surgeon, there is no need to be alerted to a new post, text or email in the middle of the night.
  • Put your phone in a different room: Buy an inexpensive alarm clock vs. using your phone as an alarm. If you just can’t do that, set the phone face down so the blue light doesn’t interrupt your sleep—or tempt you to check your phone “one last time.”
  • Set healthy sleep habits. Instead of checking social media before bed, read a book, meditate, take a bath, or listen to music. Try whatever works to relax you, without involving looking at a screen.

Wishing you a good night’s sleep!

 

References:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-and-social-media

https://www.sleepstation.org.uk/articles/sleep-tips/social-media/

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