While social media serves a major purpose in keeping people connected and informed - more so than ever over the last two years - there’s also the lighter side of it that can lead to scrolling way past our bedtime.
Whether you’re ga-ga for the gram, tapping away on Twitter into the wee hours or trying to do one of those fun TikTok dances that are absolutely impossible to replicate if you’re over 30 (I am, sadly, NOT what the TikTok generation would consider a 'savage' when it comes to dance moves), it’s fun spending some time on 'the interwebs'.
But a recent study by sleep science and review platform Sleep Junkie has revealed that our penchant for scrolling into the wee hours may be doing our sleep routines more harm than good.
Social Media vs Shut-Eye
A survey of more than 2,000 people found that three quarters (78%) of us admit to "revenge sleep procrastination", which is using their phones right up until they go to sleep.
And when it comes to what app is the worst? A separate study of 128 people, revealed that TikTok is the killer of sleep quality, with participants spending just 14 per cent of their sleep cycle in REM (almost half of the recommended amount for a healthy adult) after using the video app, compared to those who had no electronic engagement and spent 23 per cent in REM.
Not only that, but avid TikTok users also take an average of 1 hour and 7 minutes to fall asleep properly after using the app, compared to 58 minutes if you've been scrolling Instagram, or 56 minutes on Snapchat.
Surprisingly, Facebook came out as the proverbial 'winner', with users getting 19.5 per cent of REM sleep, and only needing 45 minutes to nod off.
Here's the breakdown:
TikTok - 14% / 1 hour 07 minutes
Instagram - 15.5% / 58 minutes
Snapchat - 16% / 56 minutes
Twitter - 18% / 50 minutes
Facebook - 19.5% / 45 minutes
What is “Revenge Sleep Procrastination”?
Revenge sleep procrastination is the activity of delaying going to sleep to do other things that a person hasn’t had the time to do during the day, and often reflects a poor work/life balance, according to sleep expert Dorothy Chambers.
“This past year people have been struggling to sleep more than ever, and with 78% of adults admitting to partaking in revenge sleep procrastination, it’s no surprise sleep hygiene has taken a hit," Dorothy explains.
"There is a lot of information online around the best ways to fall asleep, but it seems that using social media apps is preventing many of us from getting the rest we need.”
Social media apps are continuing to increase in popularity, specifically TikTok which has seen the number of users rise from 700 million at the start of 2020 to over one billion.
How to get your social media fix and still get quality sleep
It's obvious here that the recommendation by experts is not to use any electronics for at least two hours before sleeping because of the blue light emitted from the devices.
Blue light stimulates the brain and reduces melatonin production, making people feel more alert, and in turn decreases the amount of time spent in the REM phase of sleep which can lead to adverse implications on physical and mental health.
“We hope that our research provides more of an insight into some of our worst pre-sleep habits,” Dorothy explains.
“And maybe encourages members of the public to put down their phone and quit scrolling so they can wake up feeling refreshed and energised.”
Energised enough to give that dance another shot?
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