In just a few years, smartphone usage in the U.S. has nearly doubled. Back in 2011, around 35% of Americans owned a smartphone, but as of today, that number is up to 64%. While some are using their phones to check emails, shop, or make calls, many are using them for social media – and are probably lacking in sleep.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recently conducted a study and found that those who used social media heavily reported more problems with their sleep patterns and experience more sleep disturbances.
The study included 1,788 young adults between the ages of 19 and 32. Researchers measured how often participants engaged in social media and for how long, then collected data about their sleeping habits. The results showed a strong relationship between social media use and sleep problems: the heaviest social media users (the top 25% of the group) had nearly three times the risk of sleep disturbance than the lightest social media users (the bottom 25% of the group).
In an article by NBC News, lead author Jessica Levenson said, “This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep. 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.”
On average, the study showed that most young adults spend a little over an hour per day on social media and visit social media accounts around 30 times per week. More information is needed to establish whether sleeping disturbances are due to social media keeping people up at night or simply due to frequent usage, but it’s safe to say the more you use social media, the less sleep you’re likely to get.