Night terrors: Facebook before bed jeopardizes mental health

Night terrors: Facebook before bed jeopardizes mental health

A new study links two known aliments- sleep deprivation and excessive social media use- and the results are shocking.

The idea that lack of sleep drives you crazy is not new – the torturous end can be seen in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. The newer theory that excessive social media use can lead to depression is by now largely held to be true. However, a new study links the two aliments and the results are shocking.

In a recent study presented to the British Psychological Society, scientists recorded the sleep quality and amount of social media use among nearly 500 teenagers. Analysis of the data clearly showed higher rates of anxiety and depression as well as lower self-esteem and poorer quality of sleep.

“Adolescence can be a period of increased vulnerability for the onset of depression and anxiety, and poor sleep quality may contribute to this,” said Doctor Heather Cleland Woods, co-author of the study. “It is important that we understand how social media use relates to these.”

As much as 90 percent of teenagers worldwide use social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter.

The researchers believe that emotional investment people, not just teens, give to social media combined with the pressure to respond to messages has a detrimental effect on mental health.

“Research has also shown that there is definitely a causal path between social media use and lower well-being in general,” said Scott Campbell of the University of Michigan. “And that’s not just for teens. Teens may be more vulnerable to these negative effects, but this is a problem for people of all ages.”

Going online to check the status of various social media profiles right before bedtime increases the negative mental health effects.

“While overall social media use impacts on sleep quality, those who log on at night appear to be particularly affected. This may be mostly true of individuals who are highly emotionally invested,” said Dr. Woods. “This means we have to think about how our kids use social media, in relation to time for switching off.”

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