Apps Disrupt Our Sleep, Says New Study

Social media is a universal platform that everyone uses in today's culture. After a hard day, scrolling through various apps at night is a way Americans have learned to unwind, and the average user spends roughly 2.5 hours each day doing it. However, a recent study reveals that using social media excessively right before bed can disrupt sleep.

To uncover social media usage in America and how it disrupts sleep, MattressNextDay conducted a poll tracking how many hours before bed people used social media and which applications were most likely to keep them up at night.

They used desk research, a technique that examines data from already published materials and other studies, to identify the most widely used applications in the country. They then surveyed 1,500 Americans using 3Gen to learn which apps they use most frequently and why they use their phones just before night.

The most popular app among Americans during the week is YouTube, where the typical user spends roughly six hours each week watching videos. Facebook comes second at 5.44 hours, while Messages comes third at 4.03.

In terms of usage, WhatsApp is utilized the least, at slightly under 2.5 hours each day from Monday to Friday. With the typical American spending 6.66 hours on the app on Saturday and Sunday, making arrangements with pals, this rises by a staggering 195% over the weekend.

While Facebook and YouTube usage remained the same over the weekends, with only a 9% rise, Snapchat and X experienced the second and third-largest increases.

A study of 1,500 people then determined the applications that Americans regularly use, and Facebook came out on top with 75% of respondents. TikTok comes in at 42.4%, followed by Instagram at 60.7%.

Interestingly, WhatsApp is one of the least downloaded apps, with just over a quarter of Americans using it (28.6%) despite experiencing the most significant rise in usage over the weekend.

"Engaging with your phone before bedtime can disrupt your sleep routine. The blue light emitted by your phone interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep. This light can significantly impact your sleep patterns and make falling asleep more challenging. A study revealed that apps like TikTok are used for an average of 23.5 hours per month," shares CEO & Senior Sleep Expert at MattressNextDay Martin Seeley with Healthnews.

He added: "These apps not only distract you but also create content to capture your attention. Using apps like TikTok before bedtime is an ineffective way to unwind."

How can scrolling through our phones disrupt sleep?

Despite a wealth of evidence demonstrating how blue light can interfere with sleep, more than two-thirds of Americans admit to using their phones, iPads, and other electronic devices before bed. When asked why, 56% responded that it was to wind down, and 50% said it was so they could respond to messages received earlier in the day by family and friends.

Less frequently, respondents admitted to scrolling through their social media applications before bed to see events they couldn't attend, see how many people liked and commented on anything they posted, or publish fresh content on their social media channels.

However, excessive smartphone use before bed might disrupt your sleep schedule. Scrolling can keep you awake by being distracted, eventually stimulating the brain and delaying REM sleep.

When the brain is acting up, it may keep us up well beyond bedtime. Smartphones are intended to amuse, enlighten, and make our lives simpler and more productive. However, the age of the smartphone has brought incessant sessions on social media, even when we're asleep.

After scrolling through social media or answering a few emails from the office, the mind may remain busy and engaged.

How can you get better sleep?

Creating a bedtime routine that you stick to every night signals your body that it's time to wind down. Set a cut-off time for caffeine and large meals and engage in a relaxing activity such as meditation or reading. This consistency helps your body relax and prepare for sleep. Although 56% of people believe their phones help them unwind, they can hinder sleep. The blue light emitted by screens suppresses melatonin production, the hormone crucial for falling asleep. Establish a rule to power down electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.

- CEO of MattressNextDay Martin Seeley

Seeley suggests these tips for getting rid of disrupted sleep:

  • Mindful Consumption: "Limit heavy meals, alcohol, and coffee to a few hours before sleep. Our research indicates that 34% of Americans still consume caffeine right before bed, which can disrupt the transition into a restful night's sleep."
  • Light Adjustment: "Dim the lights before bedtime. Bright lights while trying to relax can make it difficult to unwind. Setting the mood with softer lighting signals to your body that it's time to prepare for sleep."
  • Holistic Approach: "Consider other relaxation techniques such as white noise, stress reduction strategies, and the separation of workspace from your bedroom routine. These practices can further enhance your sleep quality."

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