With the average user devoting about 2.5 hours daily to social media, the impact of such usage, especially before bedtime, has come under scrutiny.
A new study by MattressNextDay has now shown a direct correlation between excessive app use at night and disrupted sleep.
What Did the Research Say?
MattressNextDay examined data from various sources and then surveyed 1,500 Americans to understand their app habits. Here are the findings:
- Top Apps: YouTube is the top weekly favorite, with 6 hours of user time. Facebook and Messages follow closely at 5.44 hours and 4.03 hours, respectively.
- Weekend Patterns: WhatsApp saw a stunning 195% usage increase during weekends, while apps like Snapchat also saw notable hikes.
- Popularity Rankings: Facebook remains dominant, used by 75% of users. Instagram is slightly behind with 60.7%, while TikTok secured its place among 42.4%.
"Engaging with your phone before bedtime can disrupt your sleep routine. The blue light emitted by your phone interferes with melatonin production, essential for sleep regulation,” says MattressNextDay CEO Martin Seeley.
“Apps, especially ones like TikTok, which is used for an average of 23.5 hours a month, not only distract but are designed to grip your attention, making them a poor choice for bedtime relaxation."
Scrolling Before Bed Is a Nightmare for Your Sleep
The harmful effects of blue light on sleep are well-documented.
Yet, over two-thirds of Americans confess to using their devices right before sleep. Their reasons vary from winding down (56%) to catching up on messages (51%) and FOMO (45%).
This continuous scrolling acts as a stimulant, keeping the brain active, and disrupting the natural transition to REM sleep. After posting on social media or checking work emails, our brains remain hyper-alert, making sleep elusive.
Furthermore, recent studies have also linked social media immersion to increased risks of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
What Can We Do To Fix Our Sleep?
Given the evidence and expert opinions, here are some tips to counteract the adverse effects:
- Limit Screen Time: Aim to switch off electronic devices at least an hour before bed.
- Night Mode: Most devices offer a night mode feature, reducing blue light emission. Activate this in the evenings, or enable the auto-activation feature that every modern device offers.
- Mindful Consumption: Choose relaxation techniques over engaging content. Consider reading a book or practicing meditation instead of scrolling.
- Set Boundaries: If possible, avoid checking work-related emails or mind-intense apps in the bedroom.
- Educate and Inform: If you're involved in the app development industry, it's crucial to understand users' well-being. App development experts can play a role in raising these concerns and recommending ways to make the most of our smart devices without affecting our health.
Edited by Nikola Djuric