Unplug From Social Media, Get Productivity-Enhancing Zzzs

We’re learning more and more about the importance of a getting enough sleep. The quality and quantity of our sleep has an impact on our health, our relationships, mood, memory, the clarity of our thinking … the list goes on and on. So, if you aim to take good (or even decent) care of yourself, sleep is something that really should be a priority.

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(Photo Credit: andrewr/Flickr)

New research suggests that social media affects your sleep in a big way.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine surveyed people about both their social media usage and habits and about the quality of their sleep. They found that the more often you check in with social media, and the more time you spend on your feeds, the more trouble you are likely to have falling asleep and staying asleep.

We’ve all heard about the negative impact of the light coming from our electronic devices (it can mess with our circadian rhythms, etc.) but there is more to it than that when it comes to social media usage before bed. Dr. Primack, who coauthored the study, says social media platforms are addictive by design. Endorphins are released to the brain with every positive comment or “like.” This makes it tough for people to sign off and call it a day, especially if they’re in the habit of checking social media right before bed.

The study gave some specifics.

  • Those who spent more than two hours per day on social media were twice as likely to have disturbed sleep as those who spent a half hour or less.
  • Those who check social media feeds more than 60 times per week are three times as likely to have increased sleep disturbance compared with people who check eight or fewer times per week.

Basically, the more time you spend on social media, the greater the impact. So, for the sake of getting some quality Zzzs, try to limit the time you spend on these sites.

Don’t forget, social media use impacts productivity as well.

It can be difficult to stop with social media once you’ve started, so try to limit the number of times you check in during the day.

Limiting social media for the sake of your health won’t just impact your sleep, it will matter during your waking hours as well. We’ve gotten into some pretty scary habits here as a population (28 percent of Twitter users check in before getting out of bed in the morning) and at some point it’s worth taking stock and getting real with ourselves about whether or not this is how we’d really like to spend our time. Try keeping a log for one week of how often you check in with social media and how much time you invest. At the end of the week, look at those numbers and ask yourself if there is another way you would have rather spent that time.

It’s not good for our relationships either.

Many of us are hoping for better work-life balance these days. A huge part of achieving that means making a commitment to investing (time and energy) into our relationships. Don’t overlook the impact your social media habits could be having on your closest relationships – children, spouse, siblings, etc. Online friendships have their value, but they are not nearly as beneficial as face-to-face ones.

Be honest with yourself about your social media usage and then step back and consider how it’s impacting your sleep, your life, your productivity, your relationships, and your career. Then, set boundaries for yourself that will help you find the balance with social media that will serve you best. You’ll surely reap the rewards IRL.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you think social media impacts your sleep, productivity, relationships, etc? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.