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New study proves social media abuse can be detrimental to sleep

Checking our smartphone several times during the day has become such a basic instinct we don’t even realize how detrimental it could be to our health anymore. Receiving dozen, if not hundreds, of notifications through the day and night keeps distracting our attention from more important matters, and in some instances, even sleeping. A new study conducted in Pennsylvania at the University of Pittsburgh examined almost 2,000 adults from 19 to 32 years of age. Researchers found discomforting evidence about a purported association between an excess of SM use and sleep disturbances such as insomnia.

The study, that was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been published in the clinical journal Preventive Medicine. The research team, led by the postdoctoral scholar Dr. Jessica C. Levenson, Ph.D., recorded all the info about the examined subjects by submitting them with a questionary. All the participants used at least one social media platform every day, with an average online time of roughly one hour. About a third of them later reported suffering of considerable sleep disturbance levels. According to the survey, the social platform that people used the most in 2014 included YouTube, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat. Subjects who checked their account more often and were more active on these platforms, however, suffered the most negative consequences on their sleep health. The risk of insomnia and other sleep disturbances was, in fact, three times higher in this population.

According to the authors of the study, the act of obsessively and repeatedly checking notifications can be much more dangerous to an individual’s health than just spending more time on social platforms, however. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, may induce these same subjects to spend more nightly time on these platforms, further decreasing their overall sleep quality due to the constant stimulation. This is the first time science analyzes the practical effects on sleep health of social media. Today our world and everyday living are immensely affected by SM: nearly nine out of 10 Americans on their twenties use them. However, maybe all these young adults should think about putting away their phones once in a while. If not to spend their time otherwise, they should do it to preserve their health at least.

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