Social Media At Bedtime Harms Sleep, Mood For Teens

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Teenagers who use social media a lot before they go to bed have a higher risk of suffering sleep problems, which in turn can lead to depressed mood.

Lynette Vernon, a PhD candidate at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, conducted research as part of the Youth Activity Participation Study (YAPS) of Western Australia, a nine-year longitudinal study of over 1800 young people and their leisure pursuits. She followed the social media activities of the adolescents for four years, and every year, assessed their sleep quality and mood.

Social media use was based on posting on or looking through social networking sites and measuring how invested teenagers were in connecting with their network of friends online. The more involved in social media the adolescents were, they more sleep problems they reported, she wrote in findings to be presented at the Australian Psychological Society's 50th Annual Conference.

“Poor sleep can result in students feeling tired and moody, with feelings of sadness and declines in long-term wellbeing,” Vernon said in a statement. “Investing in social media for some teenagers improves the way they feel. But overuse disturbs their sleep and leads to tired, moody students who then invest further into their online connections to help them feel good.”

Social Media At Bedtime Harms Sleep, Mood For Teens
Teens who spent a lot of time before bed on social media experienced more sleep problems, which can lead to depressed mood.

Teenagers with high social media use at bedtime suffer disturbed sleep, which in turn leads to depressed mood, according to new research from a Murdoch University PhD candidate.

Lynette Vernon, who will present on her findings at the Australian Psychological Society's 50th Annual Conference on the Gold Coast, said the research followed teenagers over a four-year period and found a strong relationship between high social media use, sleep disturbance and increased depressed mood.

Her research is part of the Youth Activity Participation Study (YAPS) of Western Australia, a nine-year longitudinal study of over 1800 young people and their leisure pursuits. It seeks to understand how experiences in sport, performing arts, or social networking can facilitate positive development or exacerbate health risks.

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