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Does Social Media = Sleep Problems?

Do you ever feel like it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep? You start the night with the best of intentions. You get ready for bed at a reasonable hour and lay down to go to sleep. But the sleep just isn’t coming. You try counting sheep and making yourself a glass of warm milk and even grabbing the dullest novel on your bookshelf in hopes of solving your sleeping problems.

But it’s no use. You’re still awake, and you can’t figure out why. You even limited your caffeine intake and skipped the after-dinner wine.

Turns out your problem sleeping could be caused not by what you’re avoiding, but what you’re doing. Specifically, how much time you’re spending on social media. New research suggests sleep problems in adults may be caused by excessive usage of social media. But before you delete your Instagram account, here’s the scoop.

Why Does Social Media Impact Sleep?

There are many reasons social media can keep you from getting a good night of sleep, including:

  • Excessive stimulation: When you’re interacting with others and sharing opinions, you’re stimulating your brain. It’s difficult to suddenly shut down your brain and go to sleep when you’re thinking about someone’s recent post or wondering if you should have posted that last comment.
  • Electronic exposure: Doctors recommend you limit exposure to electronics in the hour or two before bedtime. That means that when you check your Facebook page “just one more time” before bed, you’re actually encouraging sleep problems.
  • Anxiety: Social media has been linked to anxiety, sparking psychological stress over whether, for example, your life is as perfect as other people’s lives appear to be on social media. This can stress you out too much for sleep.
  • Unhealthy obsession: Some people become infatuated with or even addicted to social media sites. They may be unable to go more than 15 or 20 minutes without checking in, which can ruin any hopes of setting a bedtime and sticking to it.

How to Fix Sleep Problems Caused by Social Media

You’re convinced your problems sleeping stem from social media, but what can you do about it? The obvious answer would be to quit cold turkey, shutting down your accounts and tearing yourself away from them permanently.

But this isn’t realistic for many people. You may have some loved ones who only interact with you through Facebook or work groups that pass messages on the social networking sites.

Instead, try limiting your social media consumption during the day and setting a cutoff point for social media at night. For instance, you might tell yourself you can check Facebook twice at work, during your lunch and coffee breaks, and then stop checking social media two hours before bedtime each night.

If you follow these suggestions, you should be able to slowly wean yourself off social media and start to solve your sleep problems. Your anxiety will lessen and you will undoubtedly find yourself falling asleep more quickly.




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