Compulsive Facebook checking linked to lack of sleep

Not getting enough sleep could make you more likely to obsessively check social media

Constantly checking Facebook on your phone or browser could be a sign you’re not getting enough sleep, a study has found.

Research led by UCI Professor Gloria Mark at the University of California collected data from 76 undergraduates at the University. 

Students were asked to fill out a sleep survey, and activity was monitored on their phones and computers – logging when they switched from one window to another, texted or made a phone call. 

The students were also asked questions about their mood, the perceived difficulty of future tasks and how engaged they were in their studies.

The study aimed to observe the effect of lack of sleep on Facebook use, in contrast to a host of other studies that study them the other way around.

“There have been lots of studies on how information technology affects sleep. We did the opposite: We looked at how sleep duration influences IT usage,” said Professor Mark.

The study revealed a connection between lack of sleep, low mood and incessant checking of social media. It also suggested that the less sleep you have, the more likely you are to switch between screens and windows. 

“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” said Professor Mark.

“If you’re being distracted, what do you do? You go on Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy and you’re tired."

Research from Big Health shows the average UK professional loses 8.5 work days per year due to lack of sleep, with ‘poor sleepers’ missing more than two weeks of work every year. 

Big Health found one in three people in the UK suffer from sleep problems, and many complain of bad concentration, inability to complete work tasks and low mood as a result.

Many also cited that lack of sleep was affecting their physical health and relationships.

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