A good night’s sleep is a beautiful thing – at least, I assume it is.
Because, like roughly 75% of Brits, I usually fail to get eight hours in. And researchers reckon they might know why.
Dr William Meyerson of Duke University tracked more than 236 million Reddit posts over 16 years to see how many entries were made late at night, when the user should have been asleep.
The study found that “posting just before bedtime was associated with continued posting after bedtime”, and that this “provides further evidence that evening social media use causes delayed sleep.”
How does social media use disrupt your sleep pattern?
But social media use can also generate, well, social responses.
The Sleep Society cites FOMO – the fear of missing out – as one reason why serial scroller can’t put their phones down at night.
And this study finds that online attention and engagement, especially when received just before bed, is likely to keep users online for longer.
“Frequent, high engagement posting was most associated with after-bedtime posting”, Meyerson says.
In other words, it’s hard to know that that killer Tweet or gorgeous IG picture is getting likes and comments without constantly checking them.
When you post matters
Meyerson’s study found that “users are especially likely to be active on Reddit after their bedtime (and therefore awake) on nights that they posted to Reddit shortly before bedtime.”
And users who posted within an hour of their bedtime were more likely to stay awake for one to three hours after it, the study shows.
While some of us would assume people who are scrolling through social media at 3am would be up anyway and are just using it to pass the time, it’s actually the sites themselves that are keeping users up, suggests the study.
And when you sleep matters, too
A lack of sleep can massively affect your quality of life – as Meyerson says, “Adequate sleep is vital for health and well-being.
He adds that “the timing of when we sleep matters too. With social and environmental pressures to awake early, individuals with later bedtimes suffer either from sleep loss or from absenteeism and other social consequences of late rising.”
He also says that “teens with later bedtimes than their parents have more unsupervised hours with which to associate with like peers to pursue risky activities. Whatever the cause, multiple studies demonstrate that individuals with later bedtimes are at increased risk of mood disorders and substance use disorders.”
Well, as if I needed any more reasons, I think today might be the day I uninstall Twitter...