In May 2015, the Telegraph published an article reporting that teenagers were spending a whopping 27 hours a week online, which has trebled in the past 10 years.
However, before we tut and say that this is only to be expected of the younger generation who are always on their phones and browsing social media, did you know that the same article reported that the average adult was spending more than 20 hours a week online?
Although this amount of time spent online does include time spent using the internet at work, it really does show how much time we are devoting to browsing the internet and how much we are relying on it complete everyday activities.
However, if you’re lying there in your bed at night frustrated that you haven’t slept a wink and that you’ll have to be up for work within a few hours, you might want to seriously consider how much your time you’re spending scrolling up and down Facebook, as new studies have shown that sleep deprivation could be caused by frequently using Facebook.
A recent study by the University of California (UCI), Irvine, published on msn found that sleep deprivation has been linked to people who are spending more time browsing online and checking social media websites.
76 students from UCI were chosen to take part in the study and were monitored during a one-week period. A logging software was used to monitor the students’ computers and smartphones in order to gauge how often they texted, spoke or used apps on their phones.
The participants were also asked to discuss their mood, level of engagement in their work and how difficult they were finding the projects they were working on.
The results of the study showed a link between a continual lack of sleep, irritable moods, lower productivity and more time which is spent on Facebook. The lack of sleep was also found to be linked to becoming more easily distracted as the participants found themselves flicking between different computer screens and and apps.
Leading researcher Gloria Mark says that “when you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction”, and then because you’re distracted you’ll resort to Facebook because “it’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re tired.”
But why is checking Facebook affecting your sleep and causing you to have to endure sleepless nights? The blue lights which are emitted from the screens of electrical items are delaying the release of the hormone melatonin, which helps to make you feel tired and fall asleep.
Therefore, the action of you using your smartphone or tablet during the night is causing you to have a disturbed night’s sleep, which is also meaning that you might be waking up in a cranky mood the following day and your levels of productivity may be somewhat lessened!
It appears that we’re caught in a never ending cycle of struggling to sleep, consequently checking Facebook out of frustration and boredom, but then this has the effect of causing even more sleep deprivation.
However, if you have found that you are stuck in this constant cycle and that your body and mind are suffering as a result of constantly browsing the web and checking social media, it’s time to change your ways and break the habit!
Although the amount of time you are spending browsing the web may not be able to be avoided if it’s part of your job and essential for other activities, it’s time to consider whether or not you really need to be spending your evenings doing the same thing.
Switch off from the digital world, particularly in the evenings when bedtime is approaching and don’t be tempted to check your phone once you are tucked up!
If you want to read more about how technology may be affecting your sleep, then make sure to check out our Sleepy People blog which will also give you some handy tips as to how you can avoid letting your electronic devices disturb you during the night.